Friday, April 27, 2012

Storm at Sea

When I returned to my sewing today I snapped a picture of How I Left It.

How I left it

Sometimes the fabrics are so refreshing a sight on return that I'm tempted to just stare at them in a warm and fuzzy kind of daze. 

Storm at Sea blocks

"Storm at Sea," isn't that a lovely phrase?  It's also the name of four little blocks I English Paper Pieced this week as part of my progress on the Handstitched class quilt.  I used a set of template papers from PaperPieces.com.  (Don't run out and buy them now, if you're planning on taking the class.  There's going to be a custom set of pieces for another class project that I think you'll want to throw in your cart as well.  Hold tight!  Also, FYI, purchasing paper pieces is optional as printouts will be included with the class.)  Anyways, with English Paper Piecing, you use the papers to help you create precise shapes and sew the shapes together by hand.  It's an odd concept at first, but once you try it out, you'll find it easy enough.  I'll be teaching 3 English Paper Pieced projects in the class, one of which will have lots of Y-seams, which this method makes oh-so-easy.

I've been working on the third layer of my Handstitched quilt.  This medallion-style quilt begins with reverse applique Dogwood Blossom at center, then the Satin & Jewels ring of embroidery, and this week, a wider round with tile patchwork and intricate storm at sea corner blocks.  The English Paper Piecing was easy and fun.  I enjoyed a little fussy-cutting!  But, the patchwork puzzled me.

I wanted to use warm colors pulled from the Flea Market Fancy line (my color-inspiration for this project).  Since I had used cool colors strongly in the Dogwood Blossom center, I figured it would be good to pull the warm colors through via the tile patchwork.

hmm....

But, when I set my warm tiles beside the quilt center the patchwork grabs center stage. I added the gray seeds border to help define the embroidery section, but it seemed that the warm solids still captured all the attention.  At the right I set out some Kona Snow and a smattering of prints that will be featured in the next layer of the quilt to see if that brought color balance.  Still unsure.

hmm....

So today, I used a precious block of dedicated sewing time to bust out a soft, understated version of patchwork tile.  This time I mixed in a pale blue, spring green and gray, thinking maybe the tile didn't need to be oh-so-warm.  I wonder which one you like best? 

Handstitched Quilt

Even now I have trouble choosing and usually I am all for more saturation, but this time I decided to piece in the softer version.  I want the eye to mostly wash over the tile to rest more so on the other aspects of the quilt.  I think this version is what I really intended when I designed the quilt, even if my instinct initially was to use more color, color, color.  But, I do see that I'll need to use some of the dark teal Kona Everglade solid (probably along with some green seeds) in the next layer of this quilt to pull the darker values through.  It's always a balance!

This coming week I'm going to make some non-quilt projects for Handstitched Class in preparation for opening registration.  Registration will open during the second week of May, date to be announced next week along with a little surprise for my students.  Have a nice weekend!

42 comments:

  1. Rachel, I would've decided the pale border also. Somehow the other one is too loud for the center and it takes the focus away. When I saw your hand stitched inner border the other day on your blog I thought it was finished :) but now it looks even better! Looking forward to your next post to see how it progresses :)

    ReplyDelete
  2. The softer version hands down! Initially I thought that I wouldn't mind seeing the teal introduced again, maybe in the binding but on reflection I think the orange or red would be OK too. You'll know what to do when you get to it.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, Dolores! This quilt is a stretch for me, colorwise, so I'm slowly feeling my way through.

      Delete
  3. I totally understand the stand there and staring at you fabric in awe.... I actually love doing that! I love both border versions....

    ReplyDelete
  4. I'm not one for softer colors, for I love bold colors too! But I agree, the softer patchwork looks better. The overall tone of the quilt's pallet is much smoother, more cohesive. I also agree that pulling in some of that Everglade will be good, like in the binding maybe. It's looking fantastic!!

    ReplyDelete
  5. What a beautiful 'mess' to come home to! Looks great as always!

    ReplyDelete
  6. It's beautiful with the softer color "tiles"!

    ReplyDelete
  7. I'd vote for the softer colors, as well. The bolder colors are gorgeous, but they definitely shift the focus away from your beautiful block.

    ReplyDelete
  8. You made the right choice! My eyes are happier with your second version. Good job--it's so beautiful.

    ReplyDelete
  9. Wow. I really like that effect. I just glanced over the soft tiles, but I could focus on their colors if I stared more intently. Great job on this one. I'm still loving the embroidered frame.

    ReplyDelete
  10. I love the bold pop of color in the first choice, but that's how I always lean: loud! The softer choice blends in well, though, and transitions well into your next layer.

    ReplyDelete
  11. Hi Rachel! It looks so beautiful - I love the last photo!
    Wishes from Finland! X Teje

    ReplyDelete
  12. The lighter border looks nice, although maybe I would have gone with something slightly more colourful to give the block a bit more dimensionality. not as much as in the initial border, but definitely more than in the pastel version.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks for sharing your thoughts, Suvi. Yes, it would have been nice to have time to keep playing around with it. That's one nice thing about those who mock up stuff digitally. It must be so nice (but time consuming!).

      Delete
  13. You are soooo right.
    I first thought the brighter squares were more beautiful, but then I read on and looked on and I can only agree.
    Well done again!

    ReplyDelete
  14. Ooh, love the 'before it was sewn together' shot! But BTW, the next time someone tells me I'm anal about organising things before I start sewing, I'm showing them this pic, okay? ;o)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Sounds like a plan =). Yes, I lay out the next layer quite often with this quilt to help me decide colors on the current layer.

      Delete
  15. I'm loving all the sneak peeks for your next class. I generally prefer brighter colors but I think the softer colors allow the center block to shine! Looks so lovely!

    ReplyDelete
  16. I love that you shared the design thought process .... and I am loving this quilt that is coming together! I cannot wait for registration!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, Laura. I don't usually make two actual versions of something, so this time it was the perfect way to show my thought process =)

      Delete
  17. Great post! I really like it when people show different choices in a post; we all learn from the process. I agree that the pastels work better to direct attention to the stitching, and that you should repeat the green seeds & the teal in the outer border.

    Although i can't quite put my finger on it, i think part of the 'problem' with the bright tiles was the grey layer. DId you try anything else instead of the grey?

    It is a great quilt, i can't wait to see it finished.

    Again, i can only seem to leave a comment if i am anonymous, and i always have to switch to Safari from my regular browser to even read comments on your blog. I need to figure this out.
    mary

    ReplyDelete
  18. I love the second one, the pale colors. The embroidery block looks awesome.

    ReplyDelete
  19. Love it! Can't wait to make it! I dig when you show us your whole thought process rather than just the finished product. Thanks!

    ReplyDelete
  20. I definitely like the lighter one best. I love the colors in the brighter border, but, you're right, it overwhelms the center, especially all the lovely embroidery you did.

    ReplyDelete
  21. I was going to comment yesterday but hadn't entirely decided which border was my favourite. I'm 90% sure it's the lighter one. Or maybe 85.....

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Haha - sounds like me! I thought this over for about 4 days...

      Delete
  22. Oh, I so love the lighter version. I think it lets the block in the middle shine. Looks wonderful, Rachel.

    ReplyDelete
  23. I am so excited! Every post I see gets me more and more eager to register. I am going to be away until May 9th and won't have access to a computer - I hope I don't miss registration. I know this class will fill up!

    And, if you don't mind me asking, when you invest in a line of fabric, what size cuts do you buy? Sometimes I find lines that I love so much, but can only afford a fat quarter or a fat eighth of each print, and feel as though it just isn't enough!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I agree - it's not enough, LOL! I usually buy half yard cuts. I'll typically be happier not buying a whole line and getting 1/2 yard cuts of my favorites than getting the collection in fat quarters.

      Registration will not be before May 9th =)

      Delete
  24. I like the colour scheme. It doesn't take too much away from the center blocks and draws the eye in instead of out =D

    ReplyDelete
  25. Yep, the lighter one does the trick Rachel. So glad to see that your magic doesn't just happen, there is a lot of work, thought and trial and error to your beautiful pieces! I have sometimes spent hours staring at different fabric combos!!

    ReplyDelete
  26. And yet my eye keeps going back to the more saturated one! :)
    So excited for mid-may -okay, sneaks peeks too!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Mine too about the saturated ones. I'll have to make something with it!

      Delete
  27. both of them work with the center, but i do like the softer patchwork. it lets the center block & embroidery stand out a bit more. pulling those darker teals out in the next round should really make it sing.
    love these peeks at what you are working on!

    ReplyDelete
  28. Hmmm...personally I choose the warm tiles as the border:)... the red color blend with the flower at the center block and makes it more stand out...anyway both are lovely!!

    ReplyDelete
  29. I would go with the lighter tiles as it doesn't overshadow the embroidery and center block. Love seeing how this is progressing and can't wait to see more!
    By the way, I'm from Malaysia and I'm wondering whether can I register for the class?

    ReplyDelete
  30. I sure love warm colors, and those tiles got my heart skipping, but the pastel blends a little better. However, for me personally, I would want all that handstitching to stand out a little more. But maybe not, I'm not sure what you are going for. Sometimes I embroider things that are exactly the same color as the background, because I want it to be subtle, even though it was the most time-consuming part of the whole thing. Anyway, both look good, lighter blends better.

    ReplyDelete
  31. The muted colors really work better here, I think. I'm loving every step of the reveal! Seriously, this will be a stunner. It already is! I love the Storm at Sea piecing!

    ReplyDelete
  32. Oh my....gorgeous m'dear...just gorgeous!

    ReplyDelete
  33. Wow! What an excitingly bold quilt! I love it!

    ReplyDelete
  34. Wow Rachel, I have been looking for words to define the work you are doing with this project Quilt and sorry....I can´t!!!!
    I really love everything that comes out from your hands, but this.......In-CRE-DI-BLE!!!!!!

    I really want to be one of the students in your Handstiched Class next summer, when are you gonna confirm reservation date? Cannot wait more!!!!!!!!!
    Adriana (adrijuli2001@hotmail.com)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks for your lovely comment! Registration for Handstitched Class opens tomorrow (Thursday the 10th) and the class runs this June through beginning of August. You can find more info at these posts: http://www.stitchedincolor.com/2012/05/handstitched-student-kits.html and http://www.stitchedincolor.com/2012/04/handstitched.html. I'm glad you're interested in joining us!

      Delete

Related Posts with Thumbnails