Thursday, October 18, 2012

working toward Value

I had the hardest time coming up with anything good for the Value Added quilt-along (which starts Monday - hurray!).  The idea to work with color value (using placement of dark, light and medium fabrics as a key part of quilt design) was Leila's.  It sounded like a good, healthy challenge... and it was.  I did lots of sketching on my trip to the beach, and then I came across this quilt by Caitlin at Salty Oat...

Hello, value!  Caitlin's gingham quilt (inspired by Amanda Jean's) is made up of solids.  It's the perfect value primer.  1.  Because it's easy to see value in black and white, with no distracting colors.  and 2. Because the regular placement of value is what defines this quilt (and gingham prints too). 

Ok, I'll admit it!  I was tempted to take the easy road and make a gingham quilt full of color, but still just gingham.  I knew I'd have to use really dark darks and really light lights to make that read at all.  I figured I'd use charm size squares and it'd be the quilt-along quilt that was perfect for beginners! 

Well, I couldn't do it.  I felt like I wouldn't be bringing much to the quilt along, especially after seeing the fabulous designs that my co-leaders had landed on (which mostly just made me want to make their quilts!).    I decided instead to incorporate gingham in the border of my quilt.  Happy compromise?  Hmm...

on my table

On my table today is my project for the Value Added quilt-along, in the binding stage.  The gingham border so didn't work out.  Unfortunately, I didn't figure that out until I had made the entire border (lots of cutting and piecing!) and finally decided to lay it out around the quilt before sewing it in.  Sadly, the gingham border was a big fat "no go".  It was busy.  Too predictable.

or just gingham?

Now I have all this gingham, full of pretty Flea Market Fancy gray seeds, cool text prints and one of my favorite prints from Chicopee.  What to do?  What to do?  I've considered piecing it together like gingham, but the blocks are joined in such a way that I'd have to cut more fabric to make that happen.  So, more work and I'm not feeling all that inspired.  It'd be small too.  I could border it? Sigh.

 bordering Sleeping Beauty?

I designed the gingham to border a quilt, so it'd be easiest to use it this way.  I like how it makes little plus signs around, when used as a border.  Today I pulled out this Far Far Away II Sleeping Beauty print that's been bugging me (just never gets used).  Perhaps a baby girl quilt?  What do you think?


I wonder, would you have wanted to make a gingham quilt?  If you're new to quilting (or even have never quilted before), I do recommend this to you.  You could participate in the quilt-along by making any value quilt.  It doesn't have to be one of the four we'll be teaching.  This simple style is a perfect beginner's!  However, don't try to mix colors.  I tried that.  It's super hard with this simple square layout to preserve the value relationship if color muddies the waters.  Instead, use all one color fabrics (all blue, all orange, etc.) to simplify your fabric choices.  Find really dark fabrics in your color and really light ones.  You can use solids too, to help define your values.

Ever since my gingham border bombed, I've been thinking an all-purple gingham baby quilt would really be nice.  Mmm.... so nice.  See, it's attack of the baby quilt ideas!  I've got it bad.


  1. hmmmm....I am just not sure what I think Rachel! I like gingham as is but as the fabric print and in small amounts. It doesn't really "speak" to me as a whole quilt. I like that you thought a bit out of the box for a border, though! I really like the last picture with the pink..Yes! Baby girl quilt!!! And I totally agree...great for beginners!

  2. Love the peek of your value quilt! Chicopee is just so darn pretty! I like the idea of using the gingham for a coordinating pillow maybe? But the baby quilt is cute too!

  3. I'm crazy about Erica's gingham quilts with their unexpected bindings, e.g., They may be simple, but I think they're wonderful and timeless.

  4. Want to make a gingham quilt? I actually started making one a couple of weeks ago! Waiting for more fabric in the mail. I think they look so effective for their simplicity. So yes, but not necessarily for the quilt along. :)
    Love the peek of your value quilt, and the way you have used the gingham looks gorgeous. A lovely baby girl quilt.

  5. Your idea for the baby girl quilt is brilliant! I love it! Your values quilt is looking great from what I can see. I appreciate your advice too! I have been making scrappy log cabins for a quilt along and had mixed up my light and dark fabrics but then changed my mind ( as we do!!!) when I laid them out and redid my blocks to just dark or light values. I am much happier with how it looks! So... Considering my brain is already working in values I am interested in this quilt along too! Lucky the weather here is warm at the moment cause looks like we will be eating outside for the next week!! The sewing/dining room will be busy with quilts!!!

  6. This is why I love your blog. Sometimes I wonder if other bloggers only ever turn out wonderful masterpieces. It makes me feel a little inadequate (totally my own insecurity, but there it is). I love that you're sharing something you don't love. I love that you took a risk, and then when it didn't turn out like you envisioned, you shared it anyways. Makes me feel normal again. <3

    I actually have a gingham quilt pinned to try out with solids (the one Jenny linked to above in the comments). I was thinking about doing it for our king size master bed. Seems simple enough for a large project but still kind of stunning.

    1. Your comment really makes me feel better about the whole thing =). I decided to put the gingham away and work on something that really does inspire me instead. Time for some freedom!

  7. I am so up for this! I just read Amy (Bad Skirt)'s post and have joined the Flickr group! Oh. And I love your gingham quilt.

  8. I'm a newbie, never seen gingham quilt before and I'm sure I don't want to make one. This is the most boring thing I have ever seen. Curious about your version but that's all.

  9. I really kinda like the gingham border. I would probably use it as a pillow top, a border around a panel, maybe halloween, or use it in a series of borders with brights. Just thinking out loud :P

  10. I love the idea of the gingham border around a simple center for a baby quilt! Maybe you could do some simple hand stitching in the middle with lots of negative space?


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