Color Switch

I make mostly crib-size quilts.  It’s too hard to manipulate big hunks of material through my regular-size machine.  I have enough trouble keeping pieces lined up – when I factor in batting and backing, it’s hopeless.

Just to give a quick description of my technique, I basically do one giant block in a quilt-as-you-go technique.  I place the backing on a table, then the batting on top of that.  I place a focus fabric in the center of the top, and start stitching other fabrics around it, log-cabin style.   I don’t plan or design ahead of time, I just see what color ” wants to” go next.  I love to use colors that don’t “go together.” I find that just repeating each color in a few spots ties the composition together, and I’m usually happy with the results.  But today I got stuck.

I started with this sunflower fabric in the center.  I use it a lot in kids’ quilts – it’s just so happy!

crib quilt center

The backing, batting, and center on my “design wall” – the guest room bed.

I planned to surround it sections of turquoise and purple, donated by friend Susan.  I love to help orphan fabric find a good home in a quilt. She had given me three shades of purple and four of turquoise and I thought that would be plenty.  I used light, medium, and dark shades to make a rectangle within a rectangle.

purple blocks

Light and medium purple blocks.

But when I sewed those rectangles in strips and and placed them around the center, they just sat there in massive grumpy blocks.  They didn’t communicate, they didn’t tell me what should go next, they didn’t “sparkle.”

combination 1

The first try – the colors just sit there.

There wasn’t enough variation after all, and I realized that I needed to move the colors around a little.  I made some new blocks  where turquoise framed a purple center, and purple framed a turquoise center.  I hunted around through my scraps and found some other purples and light blues, and included them too.

switched centers

Substitute light turquoise for some of the purple centers for a little snap and sparkle.

combination 2

Move Those Colors!

That simple trick of switching just some of the centers to the opposite color made a big difference.   It’s not done yet, but I really like it now.  Now those blocks are talking and giving me ideas of what to do next.