Friday, June 6, 2008


I love making quilts. That should be obvious by now, I know. It's just something about the creations of patterns and placement of colors that I enjoy.

This is the back side of the Wolf in Grey quilt. I normally do not do pieced backs, but in this case, it's made from extra squares from the front. (The front is featured in the upper right of this blog.)

It's a simple light-to-dark pattern. Yet that simple pattern creates a striking effect.

Using those same squares on the front, but in another pattern, creates a totally different effect. By having the lightest squares centered on the four sides, and progressively going to darker squares to the corners makes the center wolf panel appear to almost glow.

Another type of light-to-dark color play is seen in the Patriotic Stars quilt, also shown on the upper right. Here's a close-up picture, before the sashing was added:

The base pattern is normally called a Log Cabin. By having only light materials on the top and right, and dark materials on the left and bottom, it again creates a very striking effect.

For a different effect, these same materials could have been used to where the lightest color was in the center, and went progressively darker towards the outside. This creates a spiral look to square lines. This placement design looks best when the center squares do not have any special feature, such as a large, colorful print or applique.

Just as not all quilting is reserved for quilts, not all quilting needs intricate color value to make it pleasing to the eye. Most standard quilting can be done with 3-4 different prints. This is where many people stumble - standing in a fabric stores with hundreds of different prints, they get overwhelmed. Here's a trick when doing a simple 3-4 print quilt:

1) Find a print you really like, with a primary color that you want.

2) Keeping that print in hand, look for a print that has a larger pattern, is darker in value, but has the main color from #1.

3) With material #1 in hand, look for a print that has a smaller pattern, is lighter in value, but has the main color in it.

4) Put these prints on top of each other, where you see all three at once. Step back from the material, and judge where it falls on a light-to-dark value scale. If it looks too dark, your 4th material needs to be like #3, but even lighter. If it's too light, then pick another material like #2, but even darker.

The materials for this table runner were chosen by doing those 4 steps. I started with a red/black marble-looking pattern. Then I picked the black rose pattern. The next was the red with little white flowers. At that point, I liked it, but it was too dark, so I chose the white with red flowers to lighten it further.

The placement was simple - the two darkest values in the center, with the two lighter on the sides. The border material was taken from my stash - grey with black flowers.

Since the table runner is just for looks, I did not add any batting or backing. The placemats, on the other hand, are backed with the edge material, and have a batting that is designed to absorb head and liquid to protect the wood table.

1 comment:

jenscloset said...

Love your quilts!