Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Playing with Pastels

Let me start off by saying that, despite seeing a whole lot of Cherry Baby fabrics hanging out here lately, I'm not really a pastel person. There's nothing wrong with pastels. They're cool. They're lovely. I just tend to gravitate to more saturated colors. But, as most of you know, sometimes fabrics just call to you. They say "play with me". And hey, who am I to ignore it when fabric is talking?

First step to play with fabrics? Yeah, that would have been clean the mess in my sewing area. Here's an "after" shot. Still a few things on the table (it's never REALLY clear -- but, getting ready to sew now takes all of 2 minutes rather than the hour and 1/2 it took to get it to this point).

And then, while I do have a few other projects I need to get to -- I played. I will have the "need to finish" projects done this week -- but, well, some bad news over the weekend kind of sent me into a place where I needed to play. I needed to remember that while this winter seems to have been dragging on forever, the world won't seem like it's in perpetual hibernation forever -- and that there is rebirth and renewal that will come.

So, this is what I came up with. In a few ways it's totally unlike what I usually do. It's pastel for one thing. And then, well, it's a pretty darned traditional quilt piecing design. (I like traditional designs, I just don't make very many of them) Of course, I did add my own "twist" to the traditional -- but, hmmm...

I'm just not sure it works. I had an idea for a series of four of these little quilts (this one is about 18 1/2 by 18 1/2). I was going to play with different border and edge treatments and kind of do an ode to spring (and yes, one of them in a slightly smaller size to accommodate borders was going to be for my Four Season's Swap). I also had some vague ideas of doing some embroidery embellishment to the top. I'm just not sure it's worth continuing on with -- or whether I should call the experiment a bust and start over.

I think part of the problem is lack of contrast in the fabrics. The design I chose (bonus points if you can tell what the design IS -- I'm not sure I can and I made it) is one that should have a bit more contrast. Maybe I was being influenced by all of the lovely blended quilts (the link takes you to Nicole's finished challenge quilts, but the post has links to others) I was seeing last month?
Part of the problem is surely my own fault -- I'm usually of the "more fabrics is better" school of thought (why use one or two when you can use 10 or 20?). And I did that here -- maybe confining myself to 5 or 10 would have been better than the, um, I think 30 or so I did use? (gotta love those jelly rolls -- oh, yeah, that was how I got into this mess in the first place) But seriously folks -- here's a bit of a closeup with the sun shining on it, how could I have chosen just a few of these fabrics?

I guess the question now is whether to keep on trucking with this experiment or not? Any advice, opinions? For those of you involved in the Four Seasons swap -- um, would you hate something like this (though not this one) in your mailbox? I welcome some good, constructive criticism here. In the meantime -- I have a few "have to finish it" projects that are calling out to me. Oh yeah, and some blog reading to catch up on, oh, and laundry, grocery shopping, etc. I suppose it will keep me out of trouble. But oh, I really want to play!

28 comments:

Carolyn said...

I personally would love to have it and think that some embroidery on it would be adorable. Maybe a spray or basket of flowers in a corner with some vines trailing up the sides? Something simple. And if I were in the swap, I'd love it. Isn't it nice to stretch our minds and try something different occasionally? I just love those fabrics!

Sue in western Washington, USA said...

Is it a Trip Around the World pattern? I think the problem may have been the lack of contrast in terms of value, rather than color. (All of your colors were the same value.) If you pick one of the stronger/darker colors for the border that may at least make that color pop out. I would be inclined to use a very "calm" fabric for the border as opposed to something busy but you need to do whatever suits *you*!

Catherine said...

I'd love to see it in my mailbox too. I happen to be really partial to pastels, though -- so my opinion is definitely prejudiced in their favour! To me it does say spring.

PamKittyMorning said...

I was thinking trip around the world as well, but you did really have to work at seeing it.

Kristin L said...

Yup, Trip Around the world. It's darn subtle, but it's there. There's something to be said for the quietness of a low-contrast color combination. I say keep going. Keep it all very soft and quiet and vary only the shapes -- like a sawtooth border and then a scalloped edge.... Or use this as a background and add contrasting embroidery -- a poodle or Eifel Tower done in black floss (see, trip around the world -- get it?). Keep playing!

anne bebbington said...

At a guess it does look a bit like trip around the world - I'm with you pastels never seem to call to me unless there's some element of strong colour in there even if it's just one small bit of contrast - I love the look of them but when I try I only seems to end up with a wishy washy mess

Lisa D. said...

That's beautiful, Ang. I think you should keep going and playing with the fabrics. I love the soft colors. Sometimes you have to step out of your comfort zone to come up with something really amazing. I would love to have something as soft and beautiful as that! It does look very "blended."

Clare said...

I'm not a pastel person, as you know, but I like it. Persevere and see what happens. I like what Carolyn said about the vines, or Ivy leaves perhaps?

Cheryl A said...

I'm going to echo Kristin's comments. You could use this piece as a background and applique or embroider a design on top of these squares. I've done this kind of thing intentionally and it gives so much movement to the background of a piece.

gwen said...

I think too that if you want to keep it like that it lacks a bit of value contrast. BUT it would look very good I think too with black embroidery as Kristin said. I am particularly partial to the Eiffel tower, wonder why!? Guess what, I just posted my 4SSQ for spring on my blog and mentioned Blended quilts too! Great spirits meet as we say over here. Take care.

Anonymous said...

I think it's really beautiful, but the pattern seems to get lost a little on the left-hand side, perhaps because the pink squares on the left have a floral design while the ones on the right are plainer and therefore stand out more? I absolutely adore all the fabrics - perhaps you could do embroidery on the pink squares to bring out the pattern? (I really don't know, though - my quilt project comprises 3 pieced blocks and a huge bag of chopped up fabric! ;-)). I would love to see you do something in the same colorway again (if you can bear it), but perhaps with fewer busy patterns?

sewstylish said...

Oh I would love that! If I was to play with it, it would be with a border some how. I think if you added like a 1/4" or 1/2" deep color border like Burgandy,Green, or Yellow it would help pop the center, and then another small outer border with maybe the embroidery?! There's my two sense but it is so "soft" looking and very springy.

miniaturequilter said...

I think its very soft, pretty, and spring. I think a darker border would look nice on it too, and embroidery or applique sounds wonderful!

Greenmare said...

I understand your lack of contrast problem, but when a quilt or quiltlet has that lack of contrast, it usualy makes the best table topper because it doesn't fight with your centerpiece. Or you could play with some kind of applique on top of it. I'm in the same boat with a charm pack that I put together too.

upstateLisa said...

Angela, I am not a pastel person either but the fabrics do look especially lovely. I haven't bought any jelly rolls yet. Afraid of what I might get into too!

Bren said...

First let me say your sewing area is very tidy!! I am impressed! Very organized.
I am not into pastels either...working with them that is, however I do enjoy looking at them and your project is very nice. The eye moves and it is not busy in a way that would cause confusion. I think it would be a beautiful Spring quilt. I may check out that line!!! I can see how they called you out of your box to play!

Nan said...

Look at your sewing area now, baby! I must say I do miss the pink and green bags - lol!
I love what you've done - it's soft and pretty, and while it doesn't seem to have a lot of contrast, it doesn't mean it's not worthy of notice. I would love to give it a very good home! How about the pinks for a border - maybe that would draw out the pattern? Just a thought - I know you'll come up with the perfect plan!

Supermom said...

The fabrics are lovely. They seem to get washed out with too much pale next to pale. I think that small accents of that magenta would set off the pastels-

peggyann said...

well, I really like it...it's sweet, lite, pretty, spring-like.

I'd love it get it as a swap. hey
I'm new at this blogging business, how do you get to be part of a swap>

julieQ said...

I like your pastels! Maybe a border with a brighter fabric? Send it on this way if you don't like it!! hehehe!!

Tracey @ozcountryquiltingmum said...

I know exactly where you are at.
i love the look of these fabrics, so pretty, then I struggle to put them together, they seem to keep calling me for hot pink or some other darher tone!
I have occasionally done things like that- appliqued some big hot pink daisies over the top, but I really think the fabrics are pretty all together by themselves, it is just not what we normally work with! Tracey

Mary said...

The blended quilts are not my favorites personally but this little quilt is very sweet and in my opinion it *works*.

Finn said...

Hi Angela, it's a very pretty little quilt in its pastel-ness. I think that's it's main purpose. It's very spring like and happy and calm.
None of those are bad things. I guess the main question is "are you happy with it?" I would be *VBS* Hugs, Finn

Carol Van Rooy said...

Hey, if you can't find a home for it, I'd be delighted to take it off your hands (HEHEH).

I think it looks fantastic.

Visit soon.

Em said...

I think it's cute, but I think maybe it needs something to POP in there somewhere... mabye some buttons? I'm not big on pastels either, but it does look springy.

Aldana said...

Uauuuuu!!! Is beautifull your blog and yours works!!! Congratulations!! Sorry but my english is not very well!!!

MammyT said...

Hi. I'm in the 4 Seasons Quilt swap for the first time and am trying to visit the sites of the other entrants as I can. I have enjoyed looking at your work!
Nancy

Carolyn said...

I was just thinking about you and realized I haven't seen a post for awhile...hope everything is okay!