Thursday, January 6, 2011

The color difference

Part of why I love quilting so much, well, more patchwork than quilting, is that it is like painting with fabric. I get to decide on the color, the design, the layout. I consider the subject, and the angles, and the placement. I consider lighting and textures. I know some people think it's nuts to take perfectly good fabric, cut it up into pieces, and sew it back together, but I get so much pleasure from the mixing and matching it.
Part of all this mixing and matching is experimenting with the design. So when I find a design I really like, I usually stay with it for a number of quilts. I play with colors, and with borders. I contemplate the question of sashing as well.
A couple of years ago I found a pattern I liked very much, and started playing with it. Fortunately, for my experiments, I knew of two babies getting ready to be born at the time. So I decided to make two quilts, with the same pattern, and radically different color palettes. The design itself is one that is easy to make, using rotary cutters, and enables me to do one of my favorite things with patchwork-make use of my (too extensive) fabric stash. The different fabrics are cut into strips. Another fabric is cut into narrower strips and the strips are sewn together, with the "scrappy" fabric sandwiched between two strips of the new fabric. Then these strip sandwiches are cut into squares and sewn together, rotated so that it looks like the scrappy fabric is in rectangles set into a background of the new fabric. Like so:
And a detail:
The rectangles of green are sewn into the blue strips and then sewn together at right angles. The not quite right right angles, make this quilt reminiscent of a garden path for me. I made this quilt for the son of my partner at work. They hung it up in his room as decoration and apparently the different rectangles held his gaze for hours when he was younger. He is a proud toddler now.
The other quilt I made from this pattern utilized reds rather than greens:
The narrower strips are these peacock feather looking things on green and black stripes; I thought they added more dynamics to the quilt. The rectangles are also smaller in this one, and there are more of them. This quilt was for the daughter of friends of ours, and she used it for "tummy time" when an infant.
These two quilts were done at the same time and it really was fun to play with the color and the design to create the different effects.

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