Saturday, July 14, 2012

Narrowing Down the Details

I've been mulling over in my head different ways to approach the background for the "Forest Quilt". What was facing me was a 5x6 foot template on the design wall with only the trees completed, a design change to create a darker background, and my never having "free styled" an art/functional quilt before. I needed a way to decide on color placement that was easy to manage.

I decided to build a template to scale of the trees, by photocopying the sketch I made, then cutting out the tree trunks. I then cut out tiny pieces from each of my colors and auditioned them on a grey fabric, as I found a white background too distracting. I pulled out all the teals and bright colors to see what I had left to work with.

But then I found the sketch copy too distracting, for it read as a bunch of white sticks.  To work out that solution, I grabbed that grey crumb block I made a couple months ago, redesigned it as a rectangle, then carefully cut out the tree trunks from that. I now had a template that accurately portrayed the fabrics used in the trunks.

Next, I realized I didn't have enough dark fabric, and needed to round out my stash. For the record, I have a small stash compared to other quilters. Come on, I've seen your brag pictures and your studio photos. I have a different mindset. My kids and I have moved around every 18 months or so since 2003, and before that, there was the 11 years in the military. We have learned to tread lightly on this planet and only own what we need, not necessarily what we want. When I plan a quilt, I do my best to use what is on hand, and only buy yardage for a specific project.  So off to the store I ran. I hit up two stores in the area, Cloth and Bobbin for some deep blues and blacks, then I went on to explore Lonni Rossi to finish up the palette. I'm glad I went. Ms Rossi is a wonderful lady who was launching her new line of fabrics,  "French Twist", and was having a party today to celebrate. She talked me into adding a deep gold/brown to add sparkle in the night. I'm glad I did.  I came home to make a Mariner's Compass out of that, which I will show you later.

After all fabrics were washed, dried and ironed, I cut off pieces of those and completed the audition.

 I settled on a small bit of gold/brown near the top and the bottom heavy with deep blues and blacks. I think I have a pretty good plan moving forward. The background will be a combination of leaf blocks, winding way blocks and a couple of stars here and there, all subtle and monochromatic. The trees will be the stars of this show, but they will have an amazing group of backup singers.


  1. Beautiful. If the rest of the quilt turns out as well as those fabulous trees, Alicia will have a treasure.

  2. Wow! This is amazing! Love those tree trunks- they look touchable! Its really interesting watching you working on this, and although I love all the blues you have there, I think the gold does lift it. Never would have thought to put gold in there though...

  3. This is going to be a pretty incredible quilt! I love seeing your process - thanks for sharing! Whoop whoop!!