Tuesday, October 23, 2012

a Value Dance quilt

When you look at this quilt, I wonder what you see?  Do your eyes move about?  Is it visually overwhelming, crowded?  Or, perhaps, entirely underwhelming in it's overall predictability?

Value Dance for Value Added QAL

I confess, I have had and probably still have mixed feelings about this quilt.  It didn't come easily.  As I weighed different options, I often felt hemmed in by my assignement to use value in a predictable, repetitive way.  Repetitive kept feeling... well borring.  And I knew it didn't have to be.  One glance at Amy's Bargain Basement layout shows that repetitive use of value can be pretty sharp, to say the least.

getting started

Rather than picking up an existing block design, I decided to put something together myself so that I'd be entertained by the new (to me) layout, at least.  Since I have a soft spot for on point squares, I combined those with hourglass blocks and assigned value relationships that would create the appearance of larger square-in-square blocks.

see Value in black and white

Here's the quilt in black and white.  With the colors washed out, it's easy to see the value relationships.  Larger squares emerge as the on point square and hourglass blocks work together.

With all the color rolling back in, those value relationships are definitely obscured.  But, you know what?   I like that!  I was hoping that the value pattern would read a bit subtly, hopefully enticing the careful observer to study and muse until more layers emerge.   In other words, I was hoping to make the quilt more interesting by making the values less obvious.

texture

One way I blurred the value lines was to use prints for my light values.  If you prefer to sharpen the value relationships, try using all solid white or another pale solid for your "light" values.

Chicopee and more

Another way I blurred the lines was by using lots of color. It seems that more color distracts the eye from perceiving value.  In contrast, a quilt sewn in just blue and green, for example, would have much more obvious value patterns.

After I figured out that the gingham border was a no go, I really struggled to find another option.  In retrospect, I would have preferred making more hourglass and on point blocks rather than bordering it at all.  Oops.  Well, mistakes are how we learn!  Even so, I do like how the bright white memoir print border totally pops as a frame.  Since I already had value on the brain, I think I made better choices in my border fabrics, even if it did take me eons to decide.

Chicopee Corduroy backing!

One thing I do love is the backing.  Oh, the backing!  This is not just a fab Chicopee print, it's a Chicopee Cordoruy fabric.  And trust me - you want some for your quilt back.  It's a.m.a.z.i.n.g.   I love a quilt backed in flannel.  This corduroy feels like flannel, just with slightly more heft.  Slightly.  It's a super fine whale corduroy.  You can probably just make out the whales here.  It's deliciously soft, cuddly and $7 a half yard at Fabricworm.  This corduroy (from Freespirit, who also makes Anna Maria Horner's flannel) has a nice drape that would make it more suitable for pajamas than for your classic corduroy jumper.  So really, think flannel.  It's the perfect quilt back!

with a favorite Duet Dot print

Am I done gushing?  Well, did I mention that I think that red "simple plaid" is gorgeous, classic and modern all at once?  And, I do love how it sits against a favorite Chicopee print I used for binding.  There, now I'm done.

Value Dance quilt

If there is a soul out there who wants to make Value Dance, it finishes at 52" x 62".  The hourglass blocks are quick and fun to make, in my opinion and the on point squares are such cute little beings.  I'd suggest this quilt to an experienced beginner or seasoned quilter, since it does require accurate piecing to make for happy points.   I used 6-7 fabrics each for medium and dark values and only 4 fabrics for my light values.  My first Value Dance quilt tutorial will post Tuesday of next week.

Meanwhile, do stop by Leila's blog at Where the Orchids Grow for a value primer today.  If you have any lingering questions about what the heck value is, I trust they'll be satisfied!

39 comments:

  1. I love this quilt Rachel! The mix of colors and prints is great! The corduroy backing looks so soft!!

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  2. Oh wow... that is amazing! Subtle but draws you in for a closer look! Congratulations!

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  3. honestly, out of the 3 value quilts you showed the other day, yours is the only one that i liked the best and was interested in making!

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  4. I think it turned out great and I am really looking forward to reading more posts about value. Though I did just check out the corduroy at Fabricworm and it is $7 for a half yard, so $14/yard. I do still want to try it though, I will just have to wait for a good sale.

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    1. Haha, that makes more sense. I was wondering how come it was such a good deal. I'll update the post! Sorry for the disappointment.

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  5. I really like this. It looks like tile. Architectural but very pretty, too.

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  6. it's beautiful! I made a skirt out of chicopee corduroy recently (really must blog it) and it's lovely

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  7. When I first saw this one, I thought great job . I liked the interplay with the subtle values in the simple block. Some appear more obvious, and others tend to mute and blend more. That is what value is all about. I tend to look at color first and then enjoy the value play. Since I do a lot of water colors and blended quilts, I view quilts differently that a lot of people. You did just right by converting to black and white photo to show the values best. Outstanding!

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    1. Thanks for your encouragement, Debbie. Water color quilts are so very pretty. I'm hoping to try one sometime!

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  8. I'm really looking forward to this Value series - lots to learn!

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  9. I absolutely love this quilt--and it looks perfect for my Chicopee stash that I have been too afraid to cut into!

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  10. The black and white photo was a real a-ha moment for me! Now I love this quilt even more.

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  11. I think it's perfect in it's repetitive use of value. It's got a traditional feel to it, but it's not in the least boring or "already done before." Especially putting it into black and white shows what a great job you did with the values. Great job, Rachel. :)

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  12. I think it is great. i would love to use this with my scraps.

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  13. I think this quilt is beautiful and am looking forward to your tutorial! Well done.

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  14. Your quilt is defenitely very interesting to view over and over again. There is a lot to see. Very good fabric choice.Love the backing too. The fabric in your country is so cheap!! The prizes here in Europe are more than twice the prizes in dollars, did you know? ( I work in a quiltshop)
    By the way: I really like reading your blog!
    Groetjes
    Annemieke

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  15. I think that your predictable, repetitive way for a value quilt that uses so many different fabrics gives the eye some rest. So I wouldn´t call it boring at all! Some value quilts are just too busy for me, I enjoy it when a pattern is recognizable.

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  16. Yay!! I was hoping you'd be telling us how to make this! I love everything about it! And THANK YOU for pointing me towards the courderoy!! I've been trying to find it!! I bet it's a luscious backing! So excited for this series. Great idea.

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  17. This is quilt is amazing every time I see it! It is a very clever design Rachel. I am amazed at how black and white photography helps to see the values and those larger on point squares just pop right out! I will definitely use this technique.Not sure that I have a lot of time so might just practice something simple to start with, just been asked if I could make 20 or so pencil rolls for my daughters class next year, so might even practice on some of these!

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  18. I like it, Rachel. I find that when choosing fabrics I either choose very bold patterns or solids. I like how you've used subtle prints to make your quilt. I think if I made this quilt I would use more contrast, but I really do like yours a lot.

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  19. I love that it kind of dances - it adds a depth to it. :-)

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  20. I really love this quilt! I may have to use it as an inspiration in terms of both value and colors. Really beautiful. It would be cute without a border too.

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  21. What a lovely and bright quilt!
    And I love your flower binding :)

    Hugs,
    Tatyana

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    1. Me too. I'm going to want to bind more quilts with that! It's so quaint.

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  22. I love to join the Quilt Along but yet to decide on the pattern to follow since I'm not good with triangle/HST which require accurate piecing. From experienced,I never get it right! Anyway I love your piece...beautiful colors!

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  23. It's beautiful and stunning even in the B&W photo! Fantastic job as always.

    Have a question though, does print scale matter in value quilts?

    Look forward to learning more about values and can't wait for the tute!

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    1. Good question, Farah! I'm not really an expert, but I can give you my thoughts. If a larger print is multi-colored or has both light and dark value colors, it will be hard to use. As you can imagine, some cuts may look light and some cuts may look medium in value, for example. Smaller prints probably are easier. Or, mid-large prints without too many colors/values.

      My post today also touches on those decisions.

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  24. I really must concentrate to see the repetitive way. It's totally unpredictable to me but the black and white version helped, lol.

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  25. When I first saw this quilt on your blog the other day, I have to admit it didn't immediately hit me as a 'possible'. However, reading through your post now about how you went about designing it, along with the extra photos, it really appeals to me. Very effective fabric choices!

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  26. I take pictures of my layouts on the design wall so in case happy dog tails knock something askew, I know where things belong. The black and white photo to check value, that's an awesome tip that never occurred to me! Thank you!!

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  27. I like the way you introduce and explain value here. The black and white photo makes everything clear to see and is a great tip! I am also loving your corduroy quilt backing. :) I have experimented with flannel, but corduroy also sounds like fun. Does it require any special stitching instructions or foot attachments?

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    1. Thanks, Jenelle. It didn't require any special sewing here. Really, it sewed up like flannel.

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  28. Love it Rachel! What a great series!

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  29. I am so captured by the value and patterns.. I am new to sewing...and this really makes it interesting! I thought that it was all just cutting favorite fabrics, following a pattern, and voila a quilt! But this is a lot more technical and kind of beautiful in how it all comes together.

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  30. Hi. I'm new to your blog, and found you via Fabricworm's Flickr link. I love the value dance on this quilt, and look forward to your tutorial. For me, the border is a bit distracting, but everyone sees things differently. I've only ever put regular quilt cotton on the back of my quilts, but I'll have to look into the corduroy! Thanks for posting!

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  31. i love using corduroy for quilt backs...after a couple of washes, it is amazingly soft...and so cozy and warm...and i didn't even know there was chicopee corduroy! oh boy, i may have to get some of that plaid!

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