Saturday, December 3, 2011

Getting A Little Help

Working with the bright colors for this latest project - Black, White and Brights - has really taken me out of my color comfort zone.  After making my color choices I usually like to make a sample block or two to get a feel for the techniques I'll be using and the color combinations in the finished blocks.  That's exactly what I did last weekend but the results left me less than thrilled.

Let's start with a single block.  It's easy to make and looks great.  I got the pattern from the Missouri Star Quilt Company tutorial.  It's called X's and O's and you get a bonus quilt call the "Serendipity Quilt", more on that when the first one is finished!.

Then I tried some setting combinations.  First was alternating the black and white like this.  I even tried to add in a green triangle - you never know . . . But none of this was working for me.  And the harder I tried the worse it seemed to get.

There were also several variation in between but I was so focused on the design wall that I forgot to take pictures!  Anyway, none of them were working for me either.  Eventually, I just gave up and went to bed thinking usually the light of day makes things clearer.  Unfortunately, that didn't happen in this case. 

In the morning I stood at the design wall again and just couldn't get to liking it.  I was leaving for a business trip in a couple of days so I had a lot on my mind.  I decided that's what the problem was, I just couldn't appreciate what I was doing with so much else on my mind.  As it happened my business trip was just an hours drive away and once the meeting was over I'd have time to take a side trip to a local quilt shop on my way home.  So as I was packing for my trip I pulled all the parts and pieces off the wall and stuffed them in my suitcase.

After a successful meeting with the client I looked up directions to Bits and Pieces in Pelham NH.  I'd been there once before but was coming in from a different direction.  I remember thinking on that first visit that this would be a place I'd definitely have to come back to.  They have a wide selection of quilting fabrics and large bright, work room off to one side. 

When I arrived I found three ladies in the work room taking a break for lunch.  I placed my pile of pieces on the table and asked for help.  They invited me to sit down and talk it over.  We talked about colors and settings and all the other things that you think about when making a quilt for someone.  What kind of colors does the person like; what colors do I like to work with; what will the quilt be used for - wall hanging, cuddling, picnics.  As we talked I laid out the pieces so they could see what I had been doing.  We moved the pieces around, flipped them back and forth, tried different combinations and in the end came up with this layout:

The center makes a pinwheel, the colors make an X and the groups of blacks and whites make the O's.  Somehow seeing it there on the table and having other quilters to talk it over with made all the difference in the world.  I had made the right choices for colors after all and there are multiple variations on the layout that I can do.  One piece of advice I'll be taking is to make all the blocks first then pick the setting.

Maryjane, Carol, and Robin were very helpful indeed!  Thanks so much to the three of you for making me see that working outside my color comfort zone may be a challenge but the end result will be worth it.  A special thanks to Maryjane for snapping the picture and sending to me. 

I hope they'll all stop by here to see the progress and cheer me on.  Thanks for the help ladies! 

Anyone else got any suggestions about working outside my color comfort zone?

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