Friday, August 17, 2012

Proverbial Quiltalong (3) - Selecting Fabric

This is post #3 in the Proverbial Quiltalong. If you'd like to see what we're up to, have a look here. Feel free to join anytime. This is a no-schedule, no voting, no judging quiltalong featuring random giveaway prizes just for participating! Here's the latest in the prize line up, direct from Denyse Schmidt Quilts!

Proverbial Quilt along prizes!
A signed hardcover copy of Denyse's amazing new book and a jelly roll
 of her sublime new collection Chicopee hitting stores now!!

Most people have their patterns now, so before we get too far ahead of ourselves (helloooo, people who have already started piecing - you can skip this post!) I thought I'd share the process I went through when selecting fabric for my Blackbird Fly quilt.

Everyone approaches colour and fabric selection from a different place or motivation. I don't have an arts background, nor am I a colour expert. I am often inspired by a single print, as I was for Blackbird Fly.  Folk art-inspired prints are favourites of mine and when I saw this collection by Alexander Henry I was smitten!

Blackbird Fly fabric selections

I knew right away that I would use the dotty print for a binding (the strip across the top right of the photo). Our bedroom is painted a gentle harvest gold colour, so the buttery and mustard  yellows in the print were perfect. The background is not green, gray, slate or beige. I don't know what to call it, but I liked it!  Using the colour dots on the selvage edge as a guide, I made colour groups of coordinating fabrics, making sure to have a range of hues and print sizes that would ultimately have a scrappy appeal.

Blackbird Fly fabric selections
The pinks

At first I think B was taken aback when he saw the stacks of pink and he wondered out loud how it was that we were ending up with a pink quilt. I didn't really plan for that to happen; they are all just so pretty!  When you look at the finished project, I don't think it screams Pink Quilt.  That is likely due to the fact that no single strip of fabric in the quilt is wider than about 2" and most are actually less than that. I also chose pink prints ranging from baby pink to bubble gum to fuschia and many that also included other colours.

Blackbird Fly fabric selections
The yellows

Blackbird Fly fabric selections
Some solids for a saturated ka-pow here and there

Then I had to work on the background. In Denyse's cover quilt, she defined her letters and background by colour. Her letters are orange and pink, her background is blue and grey. What look do you want? Do you want those letters and words to really stand out and make a statement? Then you need to go for contrast in colour or value.  In my case, I was going for a more restful, blended look, without a stark contrast between the letters and the background.

Blackbird Fly fabric selections

Keeping that in mind, I chose to focus on tans that were of a similar tone to the French General linen look 'solid' (bottom of the stack).  I had several metres of the French General purchased on super sale and was really excited to finally use it.  I love the look of prints and linen together, even if this is sort of faking it. There is some essex linen/cotton blend in putty (second from the bottom) thrown into some of the background as well. When looking through a ruby beholder, I can see that there is not a huge value difference between the fabrics of my letters and the background. Result: blended appearance.

Blackbird Fly by Poppyprint

When all of my rows were pieced together and I had them out on the floor, I made the decision to sash them close together with the French General fabric, rather than separate them with a stark background as in the pattern sample. It made more sense to me that the words of the song were together, not apart. To fill out the queen size, I used Kona Bone along the top and bottom of the word section. That's what I love about this pattern, you can really take Denyse's fabulous templates and make the quilt your own not only with proverb/word choice, but with layout as well. I'll talk more about layout a bit later in the quiltalong once we've started working.  Up next week in post #4: preparing your freezer paper templates and piecing your letters!

If you are participating in the quiltalong and have any questions about fabric selection, or would like to share your choices with the us, please add your photos to the flickr group. It's so much fun to see what others plan to do.

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Live a Colorful Life said...

I have agonized over fabric choice for this quilt--which is probably why the pattern has been sitting on my desk for so long. Seriously on my desk where I do my medical transcription--so I look at it multiple times during the day. Oh, and waiting to do this quilt-along, which is even better! I'm actually now thinking of mostly doing solids (whoa, now THAT'S breaking out of the box, huh?) and some of the "sketchy" prints. Still undecided...

Cathy said...

I am using a variety of grays for the letters. Solids, dots etc. I want the letters to stand out and then scrappy yellows for the background. I am still thinking about the background outside of the letters and have ordered some Madrona road... more yellow. I love that line. So there it is yellows and grays.

Tracey Jacobsen said...

great fabric choices for sure!
it's so soothing and beautiful... well done. ;)

Donna~~ said...

When I saw your stack of pinks, I immediately thought of my husband and what he'd think, but your quilt didn't end up a pink quilt at all (and those were pretty pinks). I am struggling to decide on colors too...was thinking pastels, but not sure how much difference in value would be good and how to mix or divide the colors...which explains why the pattern is still just a pattern for me too. Thanks for making this qal be at a reasonable rate of speed--most quilt alongs are finished before I've picked my fabrics! Do you think it would be ok with different colored divider strips or would it get too conglomerated?

Danielle said...

Great post! I feel like I'm a total novice when it comes to mixing up colours, so I love to read about how others went about it, and I really love the colour palette you used in your quilt. Still deliberating over my proverb choice, but I don't think I'll be starting until early next year anyway. Itching to get started though!

PS if you find a way to use emoticons in blog comments please let me know! :)

Leanne said...

I want a ruby beholder, I am not sure what it is but it sounds sort of like something from the Lord of the Rings. I love your quilt and how you put it together. I am still at the contemplating it in my head stage. I think it might be another round of beachy fabrics but I need to decide what to add to those to add some pop. Thank you for all the ideas.

Mina said...

I have always been a super scrappy quilter but am now in a "controlled" scrappy phase. So I am not looking to make it too scrappy.

I decided to use my bundles and jelly rolls of Tina Givens "Haven's Edge". The background will be a mixture of gray solids. (At least that is the current plan).

dutchcomfort said...

I love that the spacing between the text lines in your Proverbial quilt is smaller than in the original quilt and I love your fabric selection!

Elsa said...

I've got several ideas for fabric but have been so busy working on another quilt and entertaining out of town guests, that I almost forgot I was doing this quilt along. Thanks for the reminder ~ I finally figured out what I want to have for the words too!
Thanks for all the posts you're doing for the QA.

Kirsty @ Bonjour Quilts said...

I'd never have guessed there were that many pink fabrics in your line up, it's funny how a stack can take on a different life once it's actually pieced.
Although I can't find the time to join in with this now, I am really looking forward to seeing what everyone gets up to in the flickr group. These are going to be modern-day heirloom quilts.

rstogether said...

Thanks for all the fabric advice Krista. I'm still waiting for my pattern. argh. Ordered on August 5th and still not here :(
However, at least my word planning is complete.

Holly said...

It looks like you're all having so much fun with this quiltalong! Wish I could join in, but I'm feeling the need to wrap up current projects before committing to new stuff. I can't wait to see what everyone chooses as their quotes!