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quilters - help please!

(11 Posts)
warthog Tue 21-Oct-08 22:28:54

i have lots and lots of scraps of material and i have a geometric pattern that i want to use to make a quilt.

trouble is, how do i make it actually look nice as opposed to just a dog's breakfast?

i've separated the materials (which are generally multi-coloured) into basic groupings of colour. some are extremely red / blue / pink while others are very pastel-y.

is there a method / tricks to composition or is it a case of piecing the fabric together, standing back and seeing if it works? that sound horribly time consuming to me! would i have to piece the entire quilt together before i actually sew it, or could i do it small section by small section?

thanks very very much in advance.

cathcat Wed 22-Oct-08 20:34:23

Usually you make blocks and then sew them together to make the entire quilt. What does your pattern say (do you have instructions or just a picture?)
If you have a random selection of colours I think you have a more 'random' outcome. Maybe you should just have certain colours and put aside other ones just now.
I think a good eye for colour/pattern is the key here.
Sorry not much help.

warthog Thu 23-Oct-08 09:43:00

i don't have a pattern. i'm just making it up myself.

thanks - that's a lot of help! i will discard the totally wacky ones.

bran Thu 23-Oct-08 09:49:12

What sort of pattern is it? It might be quite attractive to put dark and pale of the same colour together, eg in a 4 square block pattern you'd alternate pale and dark green for eg, it gives a sunshine and shadow effect. Then at the end you could arrange your blocks according to colour so you have a subtle rainbow sweeping across your quilt.

Alternatively do entire blocks according to their shade but blending colours, then at the end arrange them from light to dark, for instance light in the centre getting progressively darker towards the edge.

If you have a pattern that is just too bright and dominant try using the reverse side.

warthog Thu 23-Oct-08 19:41:26

it's an adaption from an arabic geometric design. 5 different block shapes, with different shaped stars forming the focus points.

i did think about alternating, but i'm not sure i have enough variety, and i also wonder whether it'd make it too complex?

using the reverse side is a brilliant trick!

puppydavies Thu 23-Oct-08 19:51:18

that pattern sounds right up my street

one thing to be aware of is the scale of the prints - something bold will dominate and often obscure the patchwork pattern, which is why "traditional" quilting fabrics are often ditsy prints.

tbh, if you want the focus to be on the patchwork i'd be looking at a limited palette otherwise the pattern will just get lost and it could well end up as a dog's breakfast. whereas any number of variations of e.g. blue and white would look fabulous in a design like the one you describe.

you could make up each blocks using light/dark from the same colour family, and then try arranging them (if you can hang a brushed cotton sheet on the wall cotton blocks will stick to it so you can stand back and see how it works), see if it works.

but tbh i'd be more inclined to do use more random/modern design and distribute the colours fairly evenly across it, then do the intricate design using a more planned colour scheme.

warthog Fri 24-Oct-08 09:22:01

by 'ditsy prints' do you mean small prints? i have quite a few scraps that have large splashes of colour. so perhaps i'll try and use those as a group, or leave them out for this quilt.

thanks so much for the help! really appreciate it. last thing i want is to do all the work and it looks rubbish.

puppydavies Fri 24-Oct-08 14:52:07

yep ditsy=small.

you need to think about fabric values (light/dark) to get your pattern to show up. i.e. you need to have a contrast between your "figure" and "background" fabrics otherwise it will get lost.

are you modelling this on any particular quilts you've seen? i find that - rules aside - it often helps to have a good browse on flickr to see what works. see if you can find something you like that successfully uses a similar selection of fabrics to those you're working with, or a similar style of pattern (or ideally both!).

the quilts i like often use lots of solids, and that can tie together even the most disparate collection of fabrics - if you pieced your blocks as coloured stars on a white (or other solid) background that could tie everything together really well.

btw have you done much quilting before? stars can be tricky to sew because any wonkiness in how well the points match up can be pretty obvious, and also a lot of your sewing is done on the bias which can cause the fabric to stretch which makes for more problems matching up points and whole blocks when they're done.

warthog Fri 24-Oct-08 16:34:29

not modelling on a specific quilt. in fact am a total novice and haven't seen many quilts at all! will definitely look through flickr. do you have any particular quilters that you'd recommend?

unfortunately i don't really have many solids. a few perhaps.

i suspect i'm going to make a lot of mistakes... thanks for the warning about fabric stretching. hadn't thought about that. in fact this quilt is a study in matching up points..

puppydavies Fri 24-Oct-08 17:20:54

the most inspiring (/intimidating!) quilts i've seen have been from the tokyo quilt festival movinghands on flickr has a great eye as does alex from moonstitches

to get an idea of what real people do there's the big flickr quilt group or fresh modern quilts which should have its fair share of the lots-of-white type stuff i like

have you heard of denyse schmidt (sp?!) she uses almost all plains so not so much use to you now but worth a look as she's the most influential modern quilter i reckon.

warthog Fri 24-Oct-08 21:59:18

moonstitches is amazing!

love all those quilts. i'm sooo inspired now, but already running into problems trying to magnify my geometric pattern into a reasonable quilting size. it's becoming a geometry exersize. haven't thought about angles so much since school...

i love these quilts.

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