Monday, September 28, 2015

AN EXERCISE IN GRADATION

My favorite part of quilting has to be playing with color and fabric.  That also has to be the hardest and most confusing part for me.
Even after all of these many years of quilting, I still struggle with choosing fabrics for a quilt.  I decided that I needed to study the properties and color of fabrics more in depth.  So, I set out on a small project knowing the danger of OVER-THINKING the whole process.
My self-imposed rules:
l.  I could only use fabrics that I already had in my scrap stash, with the exception of the black fabric needed to hold the whole experiment together. For some reason, I had very little black in the stash.
2.  I planned to choose 26 different fabrics in 7 different color ways being aware of the size of prints and their intensity and brightness.
3.  I could not repeat the fabrics -- that meant 182 different fabrics.  No problem -- I have a supply of scraps going back at least 30 years, all sorted into colors.

What I did:
I took each color way, cut the 26 pieces 1 1/5" X 2 1/5", and put them in some sort of gradation -- from light to dark or dull to bright.  Then, I sewed them together into strips of 26 pieces each; joined them with black sashing; and put a border on it.

What I learned:
1.  I have a hard time working with yellow and gold.  Evidently, I don't, however, have trouble BUYING yellow.  I had a bunch of yellow fat quarters never touched!  Also, just can't do purple easily.
2.  Red is the easiest for me to work with.  I picked the 26 fabrics in 10 minutes from lots of choices.  I didn't get into the pinks -- just gradated the reds from dark to bright and back again.  However, I included some pink in the burgundy strip.
3.   Greens can be tricky -- are they yellow-greens or blue-greens?  Also, blues -- are they red-blues or green-blues?
4.  I probably have more browns, tans, and beiges in my scraps than anything else; but I avoided true browns in this experiment.  Browns seem to be a non-color and expand a color way, not change it.  I did include some gold-browns in the yellow strip, and some red-browns in the rust strip.
5.  It can get boring fast without varying the size of prints.
6.  Yes, I have a tendency to over-think things!
7.  It can be a lot of fun playing with fabric.

If this experiment ever gets through the quilting stage, it will be bound with more of my red scraps.  Enough over-thinking for now!!

P.S.:  Check out my lifestyle blog, (click here), for a few pictures of Colorado Quilting Council's "Quilt-A-Fair" held this past weekend.

I'm joining the following:
Love Laugh Quilt for Monday Making
Freshly Pieced for WIP Wednesday
Sew Fresh Quilts for Let's Be Social Wednesday
Quilting Readers Garden for WIPS Be Gone Friday
Confessions of a Fabric Addict for Can I Get a Whoop Whoop Friday
Crazy Mom Quilts for Finish it up Friday

7 comments:

Kate said...

Wow, what a great experiment. You nailed the color gradations.

Rebecca Grace said...

Interesting experiment! As for the purples, yellows and browns: I like to break the rules and sneak in some colors that don't belong. So I would definitely put the browns at the deep end of the yellow spectrum, my reasoning being that they are all different shades of baby poop (sorry, but that's what the yellows and golds remind me of!). I also like to sneak a little purple in with my blues. I'm working on a paper pieced pineapple scrappy quilt right now and I'm using blues on two corners, greens on the other corners, and primarily low volume neutrals on the sides. I do find that many of my fabrics could read as either blue OR green depending on what fabrics are adjacent, and value is hugely important so the corner strips don't blend into the neutral side strips. But it's always the fabrics that I question including, because they "don't really go with the others," that I like the best when the finished block is up on the design wall.

beth s said...

We're always learning, aren't we??
Great way to learn about color!

Jennifer said...

Your experiment is fantastic. I love all the beautiful colors. I'm glad there is someone else out there that struggles with color/fabric choices.

Marsha Hodgkins said...

I'm sure this was a very worthwhile exercise for you. I love what you did, but also think there's a tiny bit of room for putting the unexpected together now and then. When it's right, you'll know.

LA Paylor said...

your attention to detail worked with this

Gemini Jen NZ said...

Very cool - what a lot of effort you have put in and it is all worth it! Looks great.