I am not an experienced or diligent quilter, rather, I’m a total dilettante with some basic art & design training background.
This fall I decided I wanted to make a fabric art/quilted wall hanging for over my fireplace because I couldn’t find one I wanted. It had to be attractive, but relatively easy. After lots of looking at designs, I chose the below one, from an excellent book, Color: The Quilter’s Guide, by Christine Barnes.
I decided to do it on a much smaller, wall-hanging scale, and had help analyzing the design and selecting the fabrics. Still, I screwed up – but I’m going to share that with y’all, so you can learn from a newbie’s design mistakes.
I liked the asymmetrical setting, the broken wall, on the original design. I liked the way it popped and combined strip quilting with crazy quilting. I didn’t care so much for the plain brown setting fabric, nor for the blue/brown combination. I also like pattern – even subtle pattern that reads as solid from a distance – so I was determined to add my own spin on the design.
We figured we needed a range of dark fabrics for the crazy quilt blocks, light & bright fabrics for the intervening strips, and a near-solid for the backing.
That’s what I did – but my end result was far too *busy* – colorful, heavily patterned, and middle-value. Below are pictures of the finished crazy quilt strips (I cheated and used a technique called “crazy 9-patch”) and the fabric I had selected for the strips & backing. It just plain doesn’t work together.
The burgundy/brown/gold scheme of the crazy 9-patch squares looks like a totally different quilt from the green and orange backing fabric.
What I need to do from here, I think, is shop. Isn’t that the answer to everything? Each individual set works well on its own, just not together. The crazy 9-patch strips would work fine with more neutral, earth-toned solid, light-valued strip fabric setting them off. And the green/orange fabrics would be very pretty as setting and strip separators for calmer, sunny, neutral quilt blocks.
What did work well was the amazing antique Singer Featherweight on long-term, permanent loan to me from my wonderful mother. After all these decades – it was probably made before WWII – it still ticks along like clockwork and made stitching up the first section of this project a breeze.