Thursday, February 28, 2013

Composing a Quilt: for Eleni

elenis.quilt
So.  The girls.  For Eleni and Bela (who are roommates too), I have been collecting fabrics for over a year.  I just happen to begin this one with the idea of it being a grid layout of approximately 12" blocks but I wanted to take a lot of liberties within those squares.  Some are tiny patches, some strips, some 9 patch, and some whole 12" squares of fabric. I had just finished working on Nicolas's quilt when I began this one.  It seems I was a bit more in the mood for order, most likely because I had so carefully chosen a palette over a long period of time and I wanted to use it in a very effective way.  This can be a challenge when there are so very many colors.

I worked from the center out, literally beginning by joining 4 tiny 9-patches into a single 12" block.  I then let those colors dictate a certain collection of 9 more fabrics, which you can see here.  With those I made six 9-patch blocks that are all exactly the same.  They form the tall cross in the quilt that has the tiny 36-patch at it's center.  At every step out towards the edges I made decisions with careful looking at what was happening so far, but with very little thought of what would happen next.  I think this is my personal favorite way to work.  It's like painting.  A little here, then look.  A little more there, then tea.  Still more, sit and ponder.  But I did commit to sewing every time I saw something I liked.  Like a rule I set for myself.
composing.color
Something that I find really helpful and enjoyable is to let the fabrics them selves guide some of my decisions, and I mean more than just the color assortment.  The forms themselves can inspire much.  As with the boys' quilts, the fabrics are almost all my own or Denyse's with a few choice Kokkas thrown in.  That particular Kokka piece on the right above not only captured almost the entire palette of the quilt, but the print itself feels like a patchwork so I left it in large whole blocks.  I considered the direction I would orient the piece for a while though, in other words, what colored edge of the piece would be adjacent to what other piece of the quilt.  When you have a single piece that varies so much within the print, this becomes pretty important, and that decision can really take the whole composition in various directions.  The larger, patchy star shapes in the print itself inspired the half wheels that are appliqued at the right and left of center, as well as the sets of 3 half Dresden plates appliqued top and bottom.

elenis.quilt.detail

Setting these half wheels at the right and left of the cross bars helps to further the medallion like quality of the composition.  Eventually the four 1/4 wheels set further out also echo the growing center.  I enjoyed creating this piece immensely.  Even though it employs a symmetrical balance of color and fabric, I see a little something different every time I look at it.  It's also the perfect home for the little bits of Bohemian that I still have, which the girls begged to have in their quilts.

Naturally, I obliged, for my sweet, exuberant -and very centered- nine-year-old Eleni.

xoxo,AM

25 comments:

  1. Gosh, these seem to be getting better and better and even more inspiring! I was curious when I saw a glimpse of this quilt for the first time how you created the parts that are made up of that Kokka fabric. I had never seen that fabric before and it does look entirely pieced! This quilt is just so amazing to me and doesn't at look look like it's made up of separate blocks. I just stare at it as one. huge. beautiful quilt, and I just love it!!

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  2. I love your description of working from the inside out. I discovered this way of quilting also -- commit to something and then see how the rest reveals itself. It's very different from the "plot it all out on graph paper" approach, but releases something creative in me!

    A little scary, but energizing as a process! Your quilt is beautiful!

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  3. Absolutely love everything about this!!

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  4. So beautiful. Amazing work Anna!

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  5. I love reading about the process you go through in designing quilts. I'm new to quilting, but don't much like to follow patterns for anything. I'm wondering what you consider when gathering your fabrics for a given quilt, especially how much of each fabric to collect.

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    1. Hi Holly, I find that a fat quarter is not to little to make an impact on a whole quilt top and a yard is not too much if you really love it! So I typically pick up anything between there. However if I do come across a print that I feel will be good for backing as well as a block or two I will get as much as 6 yards, esp. if it's well priced- hope this helps! xo, Anna

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    2. Yes that does help. Thanks!

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  6. I have an Eleni too! She's 10. Such a beautiful name and quilt too!

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  7. Such a stunning, painterly quilt! Thank you so much for taking the time to detail your thought process as you put a quilt together. As a rather anal, 'plan it all before you start' sort of quilter, this post really challenges me to let go, and allow inspiration to strike when it will! Such a liberating prospect. My only fear would be that I might cut into precious and treasured fabrics (many by you I might add!), and end up with something quite hideous :) Thank you for your post - I will return to it many times for reference and inspiration. Have a great weekend. Ros x

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  8. Oh wow, I loved your boys' quilts (as a mum of boys it's a great inspiration) but I have to admit this is my favourite so far! Thank you for describing your process. I love the idea of working like that. It's truly a work of art.

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  9. Anonymous7:01 AM

    So beautiful, especially color and geometrics. Thank you for sharing it with us!

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  10. These are all so gorgeous AM!!

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  11. LOVE the colors and pattern. Thank you for sharing your process with us. (I also have some of that Kokka 'cheater' fabric and you're the only other person I've seen using it!)

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    1. What is the fabric name? I love the patchwork quality to it!

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  12. Gorgeous! So warm and bright. Lucky girls.

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  13. Gorgeous! I love the palette, the design, everything!

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  14. What a beautiful composition! I love how you've achieved a sense of balance and symmetry while honoring the free spirited nature of all the colors and prints ;)

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  15. i love this, anna. it's beautiful. happy and fun, but still controlled. and there's quite a bit of green...you know i like that.

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  16. Really beautiful design etc AMH! Your loved and admired ;)

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