Thursday, July 31, 2014

A Modern Quilt Comes Together

My readers' choice from the first half of the 12-week Design Challenge was "Between Two Rivers," and it's coming together.  I confess that your choice surprised me, but it's been fun to put it together and I thought I'd share how I translated it from drawing to quilt.

The design evolved during Week 6 of the Challenge, starting out as one concept in the "different paths" challenge that my friend Ann proposed.  After the fact, I decided it reminded me of Iowa, which means 'Between Two Rivers."   The rivers run north and south, rather than east and west, as the design depicts, but what's the fun in creating art if you can't use artistic license?

Between Two Rivers quilt design

Translating a Design into a Quilt

The first step was to choose fabrics.   I didn't want any large scale prints for it (except for the background), but neither did I want solids; texture was important, especially if the greens were representing fields full of crops.  I played with the idea of representing fields in different seasons, and maybe that will happen someday, but for this quilt I stuck with high summer.  Not all of these fabrics made it into the quilt.

Then I set out to work on proportion.  I knew that I didn't want the fields to be all the same length and width.  This is more artistic license, as Iowa is laid out quite grid-like, for the most part.   The order and placement of the fabrics in the layout, as well as the relative sizes and proportion required some trial and error.   And it changed.  Many times.

Even as I pieced the fields, the sizes and proportion saw some adjustments.  I also added narrow brown strips between the fields, which was not part of the original drawing.  It felt like it needed a bit of "pop" between, to accent the change in the fields/crops and brown was logical; Iowa has rich soil.    I worked it until it looked as I thought I wanted it, then just sort of closed my eyes and sewed it together.   At some point, you just have to say, 'Enough with the tweaking," and do it.   That usually works for me, though I have been known to rip out an entire quilt top and re-do it.  I'll tell you the story of the Abacus/Soroban quilt some day.

The last of the layout decisions were the shade and curve of the rivers.  There were really only two possibilities for the shade of the blue, and the lighter fabric won.  The textural print of the blue was just what I wanted for the flowing rivers.

The top is almost finished--just finishing the applique on the rivers--and will be loaded on Molly, my longarm, soon.  I'll let you know how the quilting goes!

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  1. I love the fabric selections and will look forward to see it all done. Great design.

    1. Thanks, Deb! I'll probably make the decision about the quilting design about the time I load it on Molly. Wouldn't want to rush the decision, or anything. ;-)