Tuesday, May 8, 2018

Playing With Scale is a Finished Quilt Top!

Well, the Playing With Scale quilt top is done! So labor intensive sewing all the rows together. All those stitched, then cut-to-size strip blocks needing reinforcement along the edges. 
Looking at the centerpiece
I was very intrigued by the January challenge and had all sorts of ideas and intentions. Then as the centerpiece developed, the quilt took on a life of its own. Didn't turn out looking like most of the ideas floating around in my head at all! As per usual when playing with improv., the first thing needing to happen is a gathering of fabrics. This stack of fabric was a direct result of wanting to de-stash some of those older sage greens that had accumulated years and years ago.
Playing With Scale is a finished quilt top!
Working with these mellow greens as the basis of my color palette, all the other colors just sort of fell into place. The blue arrived when I was looking for a 'spark' and didn't work well in the first place it was added in. I really like how it works in the large strips blocks now. There's just a little bit of blue here and there in the quilt--not too bright and distracting--but doing its part to help to keep everything from blending a little too much.

Later on I also added in some darker, brighter pinks and greens as well. Just had to. Things had started looking a bit too mushy and tho I didn't want to lose the subtleties of the 'weave'. I also wanted to emphasize some of the energy and motion going on and thankfully, intensifying the color range seemed to take care of that beautifully. Did you notice that some of the blocks are not adhering to a strict weave {or rail fence} pattern after all? It's something you might not notice right off the bat, but I like it ever so much better for not playing by ALL of the rules. Whatever those 'rules' may be. {Don't think we really had any here for this quilt!} It's a bit of whimsy that we often see in antique utilitarian type quilts and something I love trying to capture in my own quilting efforts.
Not all the blocks follow the proper rail fence look....
The 'playing with scale' part should be obvious. The background of the centerpiece is small coin strips and then the brown/light pink border and subsequent rows are slightly larger with chunkier strips. When I settled on the idea of making large strip blocks for the main background of the quilt, the plan was for even chunkier strips to happen. Turns out, my natural inclination while free cutting is to go more narrow when cutting longer strips. And after awhile, I just quit fighting and cut whatever and however it felt right. Remember, I most often cut from fat quarters or remnants of fat quarters. Wonder if that might make a difference in how I instinctively want to cut into the fabric?
It's a long one....
All along, I was hoping for an old fashioned make-do look. I wanted a very simple repeat of a single element, but something with the ability to take blendy, almost boring printed fabrics and make them shine. Proponents of saturated solid fabrics would say its just not possible and that I was wasting my time! Uh uh. I am such a printed fabric fan! I say there are always hidden depths within a good mix of printed fabrics!

A big thanks to Kaja for her suggestion to consider adding two brown/lt. pink border units at the bottom instead of the one. As soon as I read her suggestion, the idea was practically set in stone. Just made so much sense in regards to how busy the quilt was beginning to look. Those two border units grouped together give the quilt a perfect spot of focus and really, it's much more graphic and impactful this way!
Loving the finish!
The quilt top ended up being about 72 1/2" by 107", a crazy size for a quilt. And tho I tried {more than once}, there was no getting rid of one row of blocks between the centerpiece and the double brown/pink border units. With one row removed, the proportion of the quilt looked really 'off'. So be it!

Overall I really enjoyed this challenge. It's another one of those learning/processing/just-doing parts of the creative journey that should make me a better quilter in the long run. Attempting the making and building of a project from this completely different place makes such an impression. I have many more ideas percolating. Little granules of 'playing with scale' inspiration will no doubt be working their way into future quilts whether I do it consciously or not!
In other news, look at my early Mother's Day gift from my kids! A brand new roll of Hobbs 80/20 Heirloom batting. They really love me! And hint, hint, want more quilts from mom.....


  1. what a nice gift! I'm afraid my kids never think to give me quilty gifts I guess they think I have enough supplies already? Love the quilt - I would have never thought to add that flower square off center as it is

  2. Perfect gift from the kids! It's like they know you! 8)
    I've enjoyed watching you play with this latest beauty. The quilt wants what the quilt wants, and you're wise enough to listen.

  3. OH, I would love that gift!! Super fun!! I think your quilt is marvelous...movement and color and just a little wonky...love that part!

  4. I love your result; the little surprises in colour and layout just pull everything together.

  5. Good job! I like how this has come together a lot: the touches of blue, the not quite rail fence layout and of course those stripy borders. As you know I'm a big fan of prints too and you have really allowed these to shine It's interesting that you keep veering towards cutting certain sizes - I do that too. I think some proportions just please our eyes more than others.

  6. Well, this is a winner! I agree that that double brown/pink border really finishes this one. Love it!

  7. This turned out so beautifully! Love the scale and the calm but still exciting colors and patterns. And that flower is spectacular - it has a retro feel to it.

  8. I'm a fan and that's one fantastic quilt! I love the vintagey make-do look and that you used prints. It's such a comforting and inviting quilt that says use me, use me, pick me! Glad you told the size. I wouldn't have realized it was so large. Congrats! You've done it again!

  9. From a tiny seed of an idea to a fantastic quilt. All the different elements you talked about wrestled and finally wrangled themselves in a cohesive design. I truly enjoy your free spirit.

  10. I love the whole post about your process, and out of the box thinking throughout. I am glad you pointed out how you didn't adhere to a perfect weave effect, and did your own thing. It's amazing to see how vintage quilters simply chopped off parts that didn't work and added something else in its place. I do get that same feeling here. Lucky you've got a fresh roll of batting to start your quilting because this giant will take a while. Enjoy!

  11. Simply gorgeous! I love the randomness of this quily...well done!

  12. Oh Audrey it’s simply beautiful and as usual I so enjoy how you explain your process - that little flower peeping out from all those stripes - love !! congratulations on another fabulous quilt :)

  13. Another fine finish and what a great present!! :)

  14. Oh, this just makes my heart sing! Nicely done!!

  15. Despite the long and winding road to this flimsy finish, I have enjoyed every post along the way. I really like the end result!


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