Saturday, May 2, 2020

Ormes Inspired For the Finish

So... How bout a hundred pictures of the recently completed 'Ormes Inspired' quilt top? It was one of those spring days where it was overcast one minute and blazingly bright and sunny the next. Hopefully you can figure out the true color of the quilt eventually if you look at enough pictures!
Ormes Inspired 
This quilt top was started back in August of 2019. Sort of a spur of the moment project but then, not really. I had been eyeing this pattern for a very long time and in fact had recently gotten permission from the very talented artist Jane Ormes. Even then I was a bit dubious that it could be done. So much drawing. Trying to make all fit proportionately. Eek! The subtleties were marvelous. Pretty sure that would be way beyond my meager capabilities. Such a large, large applique background! Hands cramping just thinking about it! But somehow I got up the gumption one day and just dove in. Took it one step at a time and kept the decisions small. 
Working on borders
You know how sometimes there's a quilt that won't let you be? Eventually you find yourself starting it {almost in spite of yourself}, thinking, 'Oh well, if it ends up looking terrible, I'll just hand it off as a comfort quilt! Surely someone will appreciate it!' One decision after another, a very few 're-do's' and finally, the entire applique center was finished in April of this year. Now what? Well, it was a very odd shape, almost 10 inches wider than it was long. Not a good look for a quilt unless it's meant to hang on a wall! So then I was left contemplating borders. Which I love and adore. Easy, right?
Needing a change!
This one was such a puzzle. I almost didn't dare to put a border on it because it was so good without. But then it was driving me crazy that one of my quilts would basically have to be put on a bed sideways in order for it to look all right. Or even if used on someones lap, the design would always end up presenting cockeyed. Somehow I ended up coming up with the idea of a narrow coping border to frame the quilt and ease the transition into a more formal looking border. The coping border fabric was deliberately chosen in a print that created a lot of movement and play in the color changes. Perfect colors actually! Love that floral so much even though my youngest daughter was a little iffy about it. That part made me very happy!
Okay, now it seems like a finish...
Then I plowed ahead with the short, brick-like border that seemed promising, at least initially. The design was simple, not something that appeared likely to compete with the middle of the quilt. {Little did I know!} I liked how it was versatile in regards to using up almost all of the colors in the quilt without a lot of complex piecing, that it would be oh-so-simple to add on a second row, top and bottom. Sometimes adding borders on two sides of a quilt and not the others just increases the awkwardness factor. This seemed doable. All the single-fabric borders that I auditioned fell very flat or had that entirely-too-formal look that makes some quilts look ordinary and dull.

Somewhere along the line, it also occurred to me that adding a random white brick could essentially ease the stark white background into the border. A little bit better flow from inside to out would/could? help lesson the rigid framing that borders often immediately create. That was good. I really wasn't trying to lasso the entire quilt into a tight little cubby, just stretch out the {whole quilt} sizing just enough to make it more user friendly.*sigh...  Overall, it probably came down to the fact that I just couldn't think of anything better.

Liking this upper corner
I should have known when I first auditioned the bricks, but you know how it is. I was on a mission to get the borders figured out and stitched together! It wasn't until the second day of working on them that I finally took a good long look at the quilt--all the it, laid out fairly flat on the floor with the first row of bricks SEWN {of course} onto the quilt. And that's when I panicked. My beautiful, colorful, complimentary border had in effect, made the entire thing look child-like
Still in love with the applique
It was busy. Loud. Circus-like.... And so I paced and I pondered. Why did I ever think working in these particular colors would be a good idea? So out of my comfort zone! And so I brought in a daughter to give me her opinion. Which she didn't want to do and pretty much questioned why I even ever ask for her opinion because she almost always likes what I end up doing anyway! {She reads this blog and will be mentally telling me to shut up anytime now.} 

The thing is, what I needed to happen was to 'put voice' to what I was feeling when looking at the border. Saying it out loud was important. Questioning the validity of my feelings was imperative. There WAS something wrong. What was it? Struggling to put it all into words ultimately helped clarify the problem and eventually lead me to a solution. It helps tremendously to have a sounding board! We all know that! Sometimes it doesn't even matter what 'they' say, so much as it matters that we're actually just taking the time to listen to our quilts. Okay, so that was confusing. But you probably get the gist. I couldn't have got to a solution so quickly without her.
The problem corner
Anyway, long story short is that I knew there wasn't any point in reverting back to a one-fabric border idea. No matter what color it ended up with, the look would only succeed in dumbing down the entire quilt. After a bit of time, I found the lighter black text fabric and started playing around with ideas that involved using some of the already pieced together border. At first it seemed pretty hopeless, but I didn't give up. There was just a germ of an idea that somehow that particular fabric could work magic that a much darker black couldn't manage. Or any color. Or white, which I did actually contemplate for longer than I want to admit to. But seriously. White? Doesn't that take it right back to 'wall hanging'? Why not just get rid of the borders altogether?
Everything looks good from here though!
You might think that I missed the boat by a mile, but this border is so much better than what it looked like before. I like it a lot. Like, A LOT! Yes, I'm a bit disappointed in how obnoxiously colorful the outside border is. Not what I intended at all! On the other hand, I'm absolutely delighted with how easy it was to add a little bit of that darker fabric in {here and there}, and change the focal point from the busy border right back to the center of the quilt where it belongs. It took time for sure. That seam ripper of mine and I have had another falling out, we might not recover.*wink
Wish you could see the upper left corner better!
The only thing that I couldn't totally settle about, would be the larger black rectangle in the far left bottom corner. It looks better when the quilt is laying down than when it's hanging up. How weird is that? Oh no, not in the pictures, could never get a good enough angle to show you. But go ahead, I know you want to. Tell me. What do I need to do different there?  Do I need to take that out and make it more narrow? One row thick instead of the two? Go back to the colorful bricks completely? Make an every-other black/color corner in that area? I won't promise to change anything but I'll definitely listen!
Satisfied with this corner too...
'Cuz I'm open to ideas. It's not packed away yet, still simmering on the countertop in the quilt room. The rest of the border area are pretty much set in stone now though. Don't bother instigating any change there! One of the ideas my daughter and I discussed was the possibility of adding a word down there in that black hole, um, rectangle... Not sure how that won't busy the quilt up even more, but it's something I'm willing to contemplate.
Uh huh, I knew it beyond my expertise to figure this out....
In the mean time, this quilt is giving me the side-eye for not creating a border that adequately honors and makes the applique shine. It could have been better. But maybe not during Corona-crazy days. Perhaps this is as good as it gets!


  1. It looks great as is .... but since you like appliqué I like the idea of a word on the black. Or maybe repeat one of the flowers or leaves. Whatever you come up with will be the perfect touch! It will speak to you! 🤗

  2. ok you asked....i like the bits of black here and there but that big chunk just seems to halt the flow and enhancement of the border...anyway my 2 cents...

  3. seein as you ask - I don't care for the wide piece of black in the border - it doesn't seem to flow right - my eye goes right to it - it almost seems unfinished in that spot - almost like it is waiting for a small bit of applique or something -- love that elephant

  4. I find myself really wanting to comment this time..... Apologies for disobeying your order of not commenting on the rest of the border, and you are certainly more artistic than I am so please feel free to disregard my comments. But I so liked the quilt before it had any border, and to my mind the multi-colored squares make it look clownish. It was such a neat picture with lots of interest, but the borders make it more cartoonish. I don't mind the flowered inner border. I think I would like the outer borders if there was more of the "black", with just a bit of multicolored squares. If you want to keep it as it is (and that's fine, it's so much harder to tell what works when seeing only pictures) how about adding some tulips to mimic those in the quilt? Another thought.... how about using the black as the thinner border on sides and larger border on top and bottom, then adding a one inch multicolored border on all 4 sides? Looking forward to how you finish this one!

  5. Love this quilt - such whysical colors and shapes.
    I read somewhere that right now "good enough" should be the prevailing attitude. I've adopted it and it helps take some pressure off.
    Maybe just a little more free form piecing to frame it? ill be interested to see how it all turns out.

  6. I agree with the others--too big a chunk of that black, but love the darker corner. What about combining black squares with some other darker squares. It would look more like the rest of the borders and not like such a big piece of dark. I don't think it feels circusy at all. Before you added the darks the border overwhelmed the center, now your eye goes to the center. Great piece!

  7. No side eye here! I think you nailed it! I'm with your daughter, it wouldn't matter what opinions we give (although they may sometimes be helpful) you always end up with something sensational. This may be my new favorite. Have you sent a photo to Jane or are you waiting until it is quilted? I just love it.

  8. I too agree that the big chunk of black is needing... something. Either broken up and offset in 2 rows, a couple of color squares, applique. Is there a way to do this when you do the quilting? Like quilt in a light color, perhaps an acknowledgement to the inspiration art or the original artist? Quilt in another elephant?

  9. I love all the leaves in this project -- and that adorable elephant! What a great quilt. LOVE the colors of the squares going around it. It really pulls everything together. Fun!

  10. It was fun reading all the other comments, and I loved reading your process. I may be a stand-alone in my opinion. I LIKE the biggish black section in the bottom border. I think it balances the elephant in a very intuitive way, and I vote for leaving it alone. I wouldn't even add a word. I have to add, however, that no matter what you decide to do (or not do), the quilt will be magnificent! And I think it will be perfect--again: no matter what you decide to do or not do.

  11. When you quilt usee contrasting Perle cotton big stitch in the dark border.i will give a visual texture.

  12. Take it out Add more of the squares for consistency but add a sliver or so of the dark grey that connects with the pieces elsewhere...Then contain the entire beautiful quilt with a final border of that dark grey with the white flowers... Second idea is to put it away to simmer. Next year brings fresh ideas...You do do lovely work xoxo

  13. Such a great design so happy, free and easy feeling (altho' I'm sure it took time to construct!) Such a breath of fresh air! and I love the border too! take care!

  14. Just my opinion, obviously, but I think the patchwork border hugely detracts from the super charming applique center. I think you need to showcase the design as if it were a painting or collage, in which case the border would be equivalent to the matte and the binding would be the ''frame''. I'd put a darker plainer stop/inner border then a wide border, making it the dimensions you wish for, in the same or similar ''white'' as the background of the applique. I'd match the dark binding to the dark narrow inner border [or use the floral print for both if you must]. I don t think you ever would do a plain white/ off white border, but think about it.


  15. A quilt that won't let me be?!?! I know it well *snort*
    I love this 'full of life' quilt! And I love the idea of adding a word... maybe just a faint word, something like 'voice' or 'listen' appliqued in light grey on the dark grey bottom border... barely noticeable unless you pay attention and have really have big elephant ears to listen/hear!

  16. I like Quilter Kathy's idea - a subtle applique in a lighter shade of gray.
    Or leave it as is - by the time you're done with it, it will be perfect anyway!

  17. Dribble, drabble, its done, its quirky. Its like an innocent first quilt in the border. The center is a more experienced quilt-maker quality. I think its just fine and dandy. Maybe applique a snake on left dark area that so offends some.Its lovely, quirky and original.

  18. You are so brave to ask for our opinion. My only suggestion is to applique Ormes on the dark corner like an artist would autograph a painting. Listen to your heart, not the rest of us.

  19. Maybe a couple baby elephants in a very pale gray stripe appliqued onto that large black slab and possibly a light green tiny tulip? Bringing a bit of the center into that corner might give it a lift.

  20. I love this one. The word idea is perfect. I think I'd put Ormes and Easter in there, giving credit to the graphic artist and the quilting one.

  21. I saw an interesting short video, I think on you tube, that showed using the new dermaplane that is available to remove our unwanted female peach fuzz … anyway she showed using one with the unwanted fabric on top folded over the rest, and working along the seam with the dermaplane to remove the "bad" seam. Do you follow me?

  22. This is tough. Like you, I immediately think of bed quilts but this could have been a wall quilt before the border. {Yes, we could have padded walls throughout both our homes.}
    If that corner seems too severe to you, what about some applique? You're the champ, Audrey. What fun you've had with this beauty.

  23. Love, love, love this quilt!! Where is it in the quilting queue??

  24. My goodness, talk about twisted introspection, I thought I was the only one, what's not to like about your quilt?
    Too fun? Too playful? Too colorful?
    Must everything be so morbid and dull? Sorry, I guess I'm too happy today, I'll go somewhere else.

  25. Oh Audrey, I apologize for what I said in my comment earlier! It seems so harsh and discouraging when I think about it now. I love your work so much, especially this quilt, and following your blog makes me feel I am a friend, and so was much more blunt than I meant to be. Looking forward to what you end up doing with it, you always come up with something good!


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