Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Sitting Pretty, at last???




Will this work? the fabrics seemed to sit well together as I left them on my bed all day and I do like the layout.

It's been quite a while since I've shared an update of my hand sewn English Paper Pieced (EPP) quilt, here's the story.




Motivation to make more stars and low volume hexies was ebbing so I decided it was time to get serious about working on the layout to see how many more were needed. As I don't have a sewing room nor a design wall, I use my bed to place blocks for assessment.
I had ordered another low volume fabric to use for the filler/background pieces but after waiting for it to arrive (from the US) it quickly became apparent that the lack of contrast was a disaster so I started hunting through my stash for a contrasting fabric. The white pin dots on black certainly was a contrast!

Above is one layout idea. No, not what I was looking for.....somehow the stars seem to become lost in this layout.




Next idea of the stars alone was striking in its own way but again, not quite what I had in mind - and what would I do with my beloved low volume hexies? Back to the design bed.....




Oh there's something about this which I liked! The design was different to any I'd seen (bonus) and I had enough stars and hexies (another bonus). I busily cut out the strange arrow shaped paper pieces  -which were going to present a sewing challenge on the inside corners. But I couldn't bring myself to cut into the pin dot fabric. As much as I liked this idea, it didn't sit well with the more subtle stars and hexies. The pin dots were too vibrant/loud for the blocks I had made.




After another quick look at my local fabric shops for options I drew a blank. Back to the internet and a new order was placed for two different black based fabrics which were less vibrant. Another 2+ weeks wait and my parcel arrived, along with more Kona white which I was in need of for my other quilting projects.

I quickly laid both fabrics out on my bed, blocks placed on top. The top fabric was interesting but definitely too busy. The lower fabric, crosshatch sketch in charcoal, almost hit the spot but was it a little too dark for the effect I was hoping for? What to do? Well, I reasoned I had invested enough time in the hand sewn blocks to warrant waiting for a "just right" fabric, rather than "almost right", even if it meant waiting another two weeks.






Yesterday the crosshatch sketch fabric in "smoke" arrived. Ahh, yes, that's better - I think. The depth of grey changes according to the light. As I left it on my bed today I also realised that two diamonds together will work with this fabric instead of the awkward arrow head shape, another bonus!






Now I can happily wash and cut the background fabric in preparation for some real progress after so much waiting.
Just out of interest, what background fabric would you use in this design? One of these shown above or something different again?


Wednesday Update: I currently have the blocks laid out, half on the charcoal and half on the smoke. I'm leaning towards the charcoal, possibly toned down with grey hand quilting. Some of the blocks definitely look better on the charcoal and over time quilts fade which would make the grey not-so-nice. Maybe I'll choose the best of both, creating a fragmented graduation from charcoal at one end of the quilt to smoke at the other - yes, I like the sound of that! 
The pin dot might work well for the binding, it seems to look better than my first idea (visible in the fourth photo). I guess I have a little more pondering to do before cutting.....


Sharing at "In Hand" EPP and WIP Wednesday.

48 comments:

Patchwork and Play said...

How interesting! I actually prefer the darker crosshatch for its contrast with the turquoise and line stars! And you know, the diamond shape is two of your triangles! And the arrow is four of them! Looking forward to seeing this come together!

*Cornelia* said...

omg im just in love with your stars and color combinations

Joop Zand said...

Lovely creations with nice colors.

Greetings, Joop

FlowerLady Lorraine said...

Wow, the work involved is amazing.

I like the cross hatch 'charcoal'. It makes it all stand out nicely, to me.

Your work is lovely as always.

Enjoy your week.

FlowerLady

Karen @ Pieces of Contentment said...

Mmmm, two votes for the charcoal. I’ll have to keep my options open…..

Karen @ Pieces of Contentment said...

Mmm, another vote for the charcoal by my husband....

Elise Lea said...

This is beautiful Karen! I have to say that at first I like the Charcoal better. I thought it made the bright color pop a little more, but upon further inspection I think I am with you and like the smoke.

To me the smoke really lets those low volume prints shine. It really adds to the quilt in a more subtle way than the charcoal. Maybe think about it if you want more "pop" of color which the higher contrast of the charcoal gives or a more subtle quilt which I think the smoke gives. Either way this is going to be beautiful!

hydeeannsews said...

you have absolutely hit on the right combination and layout! it looks stunning. I was just wondering about this project the last few days and here I find it posted this morning. serendipity! it truly is looking so lovely - a perfect balance of your colors, peaceful low-volumes, and the smoke. i'm so glad you shared your design process, which is very interesting. back to the design bed . . . :) good use of resources and space.

and thank you so much for linking up with In Hand! this was a wonderful addition to the party.

Michelle Bartholomew said...

I love the layout you chose! I've never seen anything like it and it looks amazing! That background fabric really brings out the colors and design but doesn't overpower it.

Esther F. said...

I think you made the best choice you could have made! Right on the pattern, right on the colour! It is already fabulous!
Esther
esthersipatchandquilt at yahoo dot com
ipatchandquilt dot wordpress dot com

Sarah Lizzie said...

Can be such a long process deliberating over which fabric to use in the finishing of a quilt!! There are so many variables that come in to the equation...where is the quilt going to live; do you want it to blend in or pop and make a statement!! I like your last choice...BUT...I really like the charcoal. Of course, the best choice is the one that sits right with you!! Happy toing and froing, Karen!!

Giga said...

Mnie się podobało z kropkami białym na czarnym tle. Może dlatego, że lubię kropki :). Pozdrawiam.
I loved the white dots on a black background. Maybe it's because I like the dots :). Yours.

Lisa said...

Ohhh I totally agree with your choice - what an absolutely out of this world combo of colour/low volume. Love it.

Michelle said...

Your color combination is really superb. You have a good eye and a great talent! Nice!

amanda | wildly simple said...

I LOVE the smoke gray cross hatch.
It all harmonizes so beautifully!

Whenever I read your quilting posts, I think as I read, what ART they are, with their elements of contrast & pattern, rhythm & balance. The gray really brings harmony in my eye. Still enough contrast & movement, but a wonderful soothing harmony. I think it's perfect. Very beautiful!

Gina said...

Beautiful Karen!! I love your stars! I think I learn towards the charcoal as I like the greater contrast! The colors of your stars, even the low volume, are gorgeous and I think they pop more with the charcoal.

Schulz Family said...

Visiting from WIP Wednesday. I love looking at all your choices and I would have gone with the pattern you chose. I am a huge grey or off black fan. The dots certainly were a bit much

sherry said...

love the colours...i vote for the charcoal

Fun60 said...

I am watching with interest how this quilt is progressing. I cannot imagine the hours of work. I am assuming that if it is hand sewn you have used card templates to sew around. At what stage do you remove them from your work? (Have never made one but am gathering info because one day I will attempt to make a small quilt!)

Mary said...

Hi Karen! Firstly, a huge thank for all the nice and thoughtful comments you leave on my blog! It makes my day! Secondly, I really like your quilt. How coincidences work: I just yesterday saw by chance in a magazine an interior decoration picture in grey, turquoise and green which pleased me and thought it would be perfect for a quilt!
My advice for the background of your quilt: Use color "Vibrations" of different medium plain greys! I would give more depth and mirror like or transparency effect to the whole. Only one fabric makes it more flat or static. Good luck, whatever you choose will work!

Sel said...

Oh, that looks amazing! I personally prefer the smoke to the charcoal, but that's because it gives the saturated colours in your EPPs more pop.

Beautiful work!

knottygnome said...

i love the pindot the most, but i'm sure whatever you choose it will be gorgeous.

Amy said...

WOW! beautiful! I think which ever fabric you choose it will amazing. I have to pin this so I can find again easily.

Becca said...

OHHHH my goodness. This is beautiful!

Renee said...

I do love the medium grey crosshatch you held out for! It is going to be a gorgeous quilt!

~Diana said...

Ok...I love 'em all, and it's fun to see how you played with different options. Glad you're happy with the final choice, but whatever you choose it's a beautiful quilt! Well done!
www.sewcraftychick.blogspot.com

Lindsey Weight said...

This is stunning! I personally like the charcoal, but I'm sure whatever you decided it will look fantastic!

SeeMaryQuilt said...

Such beautiful colors in your stars! They look great with all your fabric choices.

I agree though, that the last crosshatch is the best. I can't wait to see the finished quilt!

MaterialGirlQuilts said...

This is so beautiful! Your final choice is what I would have picked as well.
Amanda

Kim M said...

This looks so great! I personally prefer the lighter gray color but I also think teal and light gray go so well together so I'll a little biased I guess. But either of the crosshatch sketch fabrics would ultimately work well!

Kim @ TiesThatBindQuilting

Katelyn Vawter said...

I love this! The smoke is my favorite background you laid out - as it is dark with out being overwhelming. But honestly I love them all. The low volume with the teal is just lovely.

geanina said...

This is so beautiful! Complimenti!

Melissa Oyler said...

Wow! Love, love, love. I like the plain grey background from the 1st & last photos best. The B&W dots is also fun, but I like clean & simple best in my designs, so the grey. :)

Shannon Mower said...

Ooh! So pretty! I love the solid gray!

Kelsey said...

My jaw just hit the floor and I'm not sure if I can pick it back up again. This post just took my breath away, sooooooo stunning! I really love the smoke but I agree charcoal looks great too - I think you will win either way. Thank you so much for sharing some inspiration!

flowersandhome said...

Haha, love to read all your pondering written out for us ;) So I'm not the only one pondering over things then? Today I've been pondering over where I'd best put all the pots on the terrace during winter. What would look nice and be best for the plants... We had the first frost last night and I removed the last annuals that had turned all brown by now.
But back to your pondering. I LOVE the charcoal background, more than the smoky grey one actually. I think the stars and hexies come out really good against the dark background. And o yes, the dotted fabric as a border, that's what you mean by the binding right? But it's your quilt, you have to like it, you have to make the right choice for you.
I wish you a lot of success. I'm sure you'll come up with the perfect solution and create the quilt of your dreams Karen.
Marian

Sabrina said...

I feel your pain. Finding the perfect background fabric is always hard for me. I like the way the dots look, but it is a tad too busy. I would probably go for the smoke, because if it fades, the other fabrics will be fading as well. Whatever you do, it will look incredible!

tinajo said...

Wow - looks amazing! :-)

http://tinajoathome.com/

Gert Jan Hermus said...

I don't know much about this, but I like it :-)

Many greetings from the Netherlands,
dzjiedzjee.blogspot.com

Julie said...

It is such a stressful thing searching for the right quilt fabric. I wonder if that is why so many end up with white as the solid. I like the charcoal and the dots my self. I can't wait to see the finished quilt one day.

Filip Demuinck said...

Great paterns. Nice work.

Greetings,
Filip

Laney said...

I'm definitely in the minority here, as I like the dots best. But your stars and hexies are lovely and this will look great when you are finished, I am sure. Thanks for sharing your process.

Kristin said...

Really beautiful stuff! And your patience is amazing....I can't wait for anything. It makes me want to break out my paper piecing, which isn't nearly as great as yours. Nice job!

Anne said...

Love the overall color scheme with the aquas and chartreuse. I really like the all star version on the black dots but with the thought you are putting into this whatever background you decide on will be just right and well worth the effort.

SIMPLESEW said...

I wouldnt go any, its low volume love.. I would chose a white, tan, even the lightess teal aqua.

Cloud CouCou said...

These are so gorgeous! It's such a difficult decision isn't it?! The charcoal is more dramatic but I think I prefer the smoke. I like the dotty one too...really want to use a background like that for one of my future quilts.

sarahquilts.com said...

I like the cross hatch. I think the subtle print is more in line with the fact that the rest of your fabrics are all prints. They're all beautiful though! You'll make the right choice.

Kels said...

This is absolutely gorgeous.

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