Saturday, March 21, 2009

A Sea of Questions and The Man of the Sea...

The "Man of the Sea" quilt (shown above) belongs to Gary. Gary is a boat lover and I wanted to create a quilt for him that reflected his passion for the sea. I designed this quilt using an off set Mariner's Compass block and then added some patience blocks around it. The compass is floated so that it didn't disappear in the sea of sea fabrics.Gary is wonderful artist(wood carver,and painter)and is very proud to own this quilt. Some people call quilting a craft and others call it an art form. He paid me the highest compliment by calling his Man of the sea quilt a work of art. The second photo is a picture of the back of the quilt with his label. Happy Birthday to the " Man of the Sea". We hope you had a great day!

Spring seems to be making me reflective.. This blog post is sort of like a Meme about Quilting.. As the sun streamed through my bedroom window this morning, here were some things that crossed my mind- I am wondering about other people's creative quilting process. I have added my thoughts in italics..

Do you create your own designs or use a pattern?

I usually adapt patterns rather than creating my own quilt designs- I like to add borders or choose my own colors and have not yet worked with a jelly roll,fabric line or a set of fat quarters. I do have some sets of fat quarters but in general buy individual fabrics that I like.

Do you work with one type of fabrics exclusively or play around with different kinds of fabrics (eg. tone on tone, thimbleberries, civil war fabrics, batiks- my favorite, florals, novelties, 30's )
I have collected a large number of tone on tone, batiks and florals and have a small collection of '30's fabrics - these are fabrics that I gravitate to- I like some of the others but don't seem to choose them when I am buying fabric. I do have a few kits (3) and some fat quarters but mostly I have yardage- I buy between 1-2 meters(a meter is slightly larger than a yard-39 inches) unless the price is good and I think it might make a great quilt back..

When you are making a new quilt do you go to your stash or go to the fabric store?
More and more, I am working from my stash(and so I should, as it is a large beautiful collection that is meant to be used)and then I add the occasional piece to finish the quilt.

What inspires you to choose to make that particular quilt over all the other millions of quilts you could create?

For much of the last 3 or 4 years I have made quilts for other people to mark a special occasion. I seem to have finally caught up to the special events in our lives so now I amd debating what kind of quilts I will be making next? It really is hard for me to choose from the myriad of choices out there- There are so many techniques and designs that you can find on line and in books and magazines. My problem is not inspiration but making the decision of which quilt to make :-).

These were some of the things I was thinking about this morning as I was reading a stack of older quilt magazines that had sat piled up on my night stand. I have one more week of school before we have spring break, and I am caught up with my schoolwork. It has got me pondering what my spring break plans might be....( besides getting some serious cleaning done) I have been thinking about how I could get myself going on a new project while recognizing that I need to finish up some previous projects that I started this past fall. I am not very good at juggling a large number of quilt projects- if I get too many UFO's ,then I find it overwhelming and nothing gets completed. As I write I am promising myself, that I am going to get those quilts bound that have been sitting around the last few weeks- just waiting to be finished...

The other day,my good friend L., who is making some scrap quilts, asked me whether I I had any medium to dark blues, greens and red fabrics in my stash ROFLOL.. I have built up quite a collection of fabrics so, last evening, I went upstairs to my sewing room and pulled out the boxes of fabric that are sorted by both color(blue, green, pink, purple, yellow/earth colors,red and black) and themes(florals, 30's fabrics, batiks and speciality fabrics- stars,novelty or funky, sea, sunflowers, children). A couple of hours of playing later- I brought down a good collection of the three colors that she is looking for, which I hope will help her flesh out her quilt project. It was fun to go into the boxes and bring out the many fabrics to pat(I love to feel the hand of the fabric) and reflect on their stories.

Some of my fabrics have been in the box for quite awhile(over 10 years)and some were from my newest visits to the fabric stores. I have gotten better about choosing quality fabrics- you sure can feel the difference between good quality cottons and mediocre ones- there is a softness in the hand and less sizing in the better materials. I have amassed a large collection of blues and greens and less of red. What makes red- red and blue- blue or green- green?

What determines that a fabric is light, medium or dark in value? When I made the pinwheel log cabin (see earlier post) there was a difference of opinion from person to person as to what constitutes dark or medium or even light. They are not exclusive values- comparisons are a big part of determining value gradations.

One of the blogs that I really enjoy is Wanda's "Exuberant Color" Today She has an interesting post about color theory. She is a very knowledgeable lady with a wonderful blog - do check it out if you get a chance..

There are some wonderful books about color value-(" Visual Coloring" by Joen Wolfrom comes to mind). The topic of color is often offered as a course at our local quilt stores or as part of painting classes. You can find lots of information about color wheels and read about color theory.

When you come right down to it, color remains a subjective thing. My husband and I will often debate whether burgundy is purple, burgundy or brown- its a visual determination. He is a afficiando of the stars and will ask me "what color do I see around the star?" My reasonably acute vision( my middle aged eyes are not what they once were) has trouble seeing the color of stars, yet I see all sorts of gradations in the fabrics around me.
I hope you get a chance to ponder the colors of the world around you. I love it when spring comes and changes the seasonal landscape from winter drab to signs of new life- buds on the trees, sprigs of grass and crocus, tulips and daffodils.

This weekend my plan is to get some tidying done, put up some spring decorations( in the hopes that it will bring some spring weather with it) and finish up my bindings. Then perhaps I can spring forward to a new project...

Happy Quilting,


Sara said...

Really interesting post - Color is something that frustrates me - yet - and I can't explain it - I'm always right on with colors and I have no idea how I do it.

The women at the quilt shops I go to say that I just have an eye for it...and maybe I do...

I'm using a lot of stuff from my stash...I have gorgeous fabrics...

meggie said...

What a nice post Anna. I see colours in gradations of what colours they are made up from. Does that make sense. I will say a blue has a lot of green in it, or perhaps a lot of red- hence purple!

Micki said...

Love the post! Very interesting! I have always thought that colours are so important in a quilt. I am making a runner with graduated colours, and it is like a watercolour picture.

Wanda said...

Great post! Gary's quilt is perfect. I love the fact that you look at who the person is and create something special. Thanks for all the interesting facts...I feel like I'm really getting to know the Quiltmom and enjoying her journey!

Librarynan said...

Thank you , Anna. Your posts inspire me to do some reflecting of my own. And yes, Mars does remind me of "Lucciano Pawsarotti" (so named because he is quite the singer). Lucci and Parker both come upstairs to help, or at least supervise, my quilting... the dogs stay downstairs.

Anne Marie said...

Great post Anna! Gave me something to think about. I love colors, infact that is what really inspires me to quilt. I also have a rather strange collection of fabrics. Ihave about 600 FQTs and a nice collection of Thimbleberries. I also love alot of the designer lines but I try to mix in other fabrics with them so that they aren't too matchey matchey. There is one thing, I love fabric all sorts!!!

Just posted on my blog for the first time in three weeks, and did some sewing last night for the first time in ages. It was enjoyed immensely, it is nice to take a break sometimes!!!

Anonymous said...

I love these question and answer type posts, great way to learn about others. Thanks for sharing!

Anonymous said...

I have an incredible stash of fabrics as well. My favorite site is They always seem to have a sale going on and the fabrics they sell are just to my taste. If you want to have a look, try this following link (sorry if it doesnt work.....this computer stuff is not my specialty)