Sunday, October 30, 2016

Freedom in the creative process

One of the challenges I have struggled with in quilting is trusting myself to choose fabric that works together.  I suspect, given the number of blogs, videos, and classes, that many others struggle with it too.  

As a result, I have chosen colors and fabric lines pretty much as directed by the pattern designer.

And that's okay.

But this time I can't.  This block of the month quilt was created back in 2012, and whatever fabric line was sold with it at the time is no longer available.  So I began exploring my stash possibilities.  Not being happy with that, I purchased a set of Rowan from the Kaffe Fassett Collective.  It opened up many possibilities for me but I still wanted to use other colors and designs I already had.

The first thing I did was consider already-completed blocks.

Then I started choosing colors and patterns I liked that I thought might play together well.  I really wanted to use the abstract fabric at the bottom of each stack and the blue/green that is showing up in two out of the three already-completed blocks.  I took pictures of each and converted the photos to black and white to see what kind of contrast they created.  That knocked out some combinations.

I liked this one but kept searching:

Black and white coloring made the pink and blue/green look exactly the same so this next one got knocked out.

Finally it came down to the next two.  The red print was the only one that changed.

Ultimately I decided that I didn't like the abstract peach/reddish on the bottom of the stack with the bolder geometric.  I also didn't like how the two greens fought each other.  Fighting kids aren't allowed on the playground, and I don't want them in the same block (although I think I'll use that geometric piece in another block in this quilt.)  

So let's see how it comes together.  I laid out the half-square triangles and full square pieces.

Then I began sewing the pieces together:

The completed block:

Finally, how do the four blocks look all together?

I think the overall effect is to cool down the really hot colors in blocks 2 (#) and 3 (Balkan puzzle). This picture helped me see that I need to make another block with that orange print playing in the background or the wonky pound sign block will look out of place.  

Individual liberty in technique

We're in the thick of a very scary political season, and I am realizing more and more how much I value individual liberties and how concerned I am that we are giving them away.  It should come as no surprise then that one of the things I love about quilting is how much freedom the individual quilter has in creating his or her own work, even in something as basic as half-square triangles.  I know of 3 ways to make them although I have only used 2 of them.  (I haven't yet cut a triangle and sewn it to another one.)  This particular block uses 2 ways.  I also love how Amy Gibson allowed a little extra so I could cut it down for an exact measurement--forgiveness is wonderful!

I also love how I can combine any fabrics I choose.  You may not like the selections I chose, and that's okay.  They felt good to me.  You can choose entirely different fabrics.  Or a different kind of quilt pattern or none at all.

I chose to press the seams open.  I initially learned to press seams to the dark side, but I began to run into problems doing it that way because sometimes I'd have 4 layers of fabrics to press and sew through.  Those problems got worse when I began doing my own quilting.  So I pressed all the seams open on this block. 

I love the creative process!  You have so much freedom in it.


  1. I loved seeing the thought that went into your fabric choices, and your thoughts on HSTs and freedom in creation. It is a wonderful part of the craft, definitely. :)

    1. Thank you for visiting and for your thoughts!

  2. You're so right LeeAnn....quilting allows us to be as individual as we want to be. Choosing fabric combinations is sooo hard for me and I really struggle. I appreciate your explanation of why you used the fabrics you chose - it helps so much to read about other quilter's thought process.