Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Now What?

"Failure to plan is planning to fail."  Whenever that old adage comes to mind— usually when I'm waist deep in having not planned—it gives me a twinge for a moment or two.  But then I think:  Says who?

I'm pretty sure whoever came up with that one was not a quilter.  A quilter might say:

Failure to plan is...
  • a design opportunity.
  • a chance to try a new technique.
  • an opportunity to use the stash.
  • a time to reach out for ideas.
  • an open door to a change of mind.

Those are a few that I came up with.  I'm sure you can probably think of more  (and please share them in the comments, if you do).

I have finished machine appliqueing the string rings, or Dresdens, onto the background squares.  I had intended to sash them together, but when it came time for auditions, I didn't particularly like how that looked.  A black print sashing, which I thought would be dramatic, was too harsh.  Red sashing seemed to steal the thunder from the string rings, which I would like to remain the focal point.

How about no sashing at all?  It has maybe a more modern feel, and I like that, but I'm worried it may be boring.  Perhaps an alternate layout (no idea what, though) would liven things up?

Without sashing it's smaller than I originally had in mind.  It would finish approximately 60 x 80, which is not the bed size I imagined.  I am willing to sacrifice the idea of a larger quilt, however, if it makes better sense for the overall design.

Then I had an idea.  What if I made corner triangles on the blocks, which would form squares on point when joining them together and thus a kind of divider?  It might give the eye a bit of a rest and add a secondary, but not too attention-grabbing, point of interest.  I tested the idea with some pieces laid at the corners to give a rough sense of how that might look.

Am I onto something?  Getting warmer?  Colder?  Should I experiment with scrappy corners using some of the scraps in the Dresdens, or would that compete too much with the Dresdens themselves?  And borders or no borders?  It would add to the size (+), but it might overpower the rest of the quilt (-).

I'd love to hear your thoughts!


  1. i LOVE the black corner squares -- they add a bit of controlled confetti without closing in on the rings.

    that will be 2 cents, please.

    and failure to plan can mean confidence in your MacGyver moves.

    that will be 2 more cents, please.

  2. I like the black corners. It adds a nice touch. What are you planning on borders? Good touch.

  3. I think the little squares look good but it looks better without (it looks a bit like a tile floor somehow with the squares). Try some borders:

    narrow red
    med. grey (whatever your background is)
    narrow white?
    another medium grey?
    Black for your binding

    or this:
    narrow red
    small white
    large grey
    black binding

    (All this looks great in my head. I know it might not look great in the real world).

  4. I like the corner squares, but I think maybe they need to be a bit larger. The lines that are still visible between the blocks are interesting. What if you did very thin sashing between the blocks and the corner squares. I love this quilt. For some reason it has an Amish feel to me. What if you added wide rather plain borders. Maybe even a fabric like the block backgrounds after a slim outside border. You get size and a great place for quilting.

  5. red corners with a black strip (kinda like an on point sq in a sq. the black would be the outer border and the red the center maybe reverse proportions to the center reds- cw

  6. Three Old Keys' answer is hilarious!

    And, Sha-zam! I LOVE those little corner squares. They are just PERFECT! Seriously. Love them. A lot.

    My suggestion for making the quilt bigger: do a narrow 1" stop border all the way around with the same fabric as the little corner squares, and then do a wider, scrappy border of your string ring fabrics. You could add a good 5" scrappy border, at the very least, making your quilt 72 x 92. Just my 2₵, and I won't be offended if you don't use it. I find that getting lots of ideas helps me to figure out what I really want, so if I help you with that, then I'm good.

    As far as failing to plan, well, you know me. OCD, to the last detail. If I don't plan, then the possibility of not being able to do what I really want is greater (i.e., I might not be able to find more of the fabric I want to use again, which is hugely frustrating to me). On the other hand, I love all of the positive things that you came up with as a result of not having a formal plan in place. Sometimes a plan is just another way of saying you haven't got any creative wiggle room, right?

    Again, LOVE the corner squares. They are exactly, perfectly the right touch.

    xo -E

  7. I love the black squares! The next thing I would add is a border using your background fabric but pieced to "finish" the black squares on the edges. Then you could add additional border(s) if you like.

  8. Totally with Elizabeth on all, including the three keys comment...too funny. Five inch scrappy border added after a thin black border!? Oh yeah, can see it now. You can keep the two cents too :D

  9. I agree with Jane B! I was going to say to audition slightly larger squares also. And with the larger squares, a tiny (finishing 1" or less) sashing might be interesting. With that narrow separation, you could use your same gray for the border (something I WISH I had done on a certain quilt but didn't(you don't need to add anything distracting to the borders).

  10. I think you nailed that list down to the "t." Now you should make a new list "You know you are a quilter if...." :)

    That quilt is divine...I like it with the sophisticated little dotted black squares or without. Either way it is really pleasing to look at again and again. I am of no help I KNOW.

  11. I love the black squares. What if you combine the black squares with sashing in the same color as your background fabric? Use narrow-ish sashing with the black print as cornerstones at each intersection. This will result in squares instead of diamonds, which won't look quite the same. If you really want the diamonds, make the sashing a little bigger and make small square in a square blocks for the cornerstones.

    And failure to plan is freedom to accept what comes along.

  12. I love the addition of the corner black diamonds. Just a little something, something without being too much. If it were me, and I had fabric like those black corner pieces, I would probably use it in a border.

    Before I saw the black pieces, and I was still thinking of sashing, I wondered how a darker gray sash would look. In my head though, it's not as pretty as those diamonds.

  13. I like the on point squares. If you want to get this to bed size, I'd throw on a piano key border from the same fabrics as the rings.

  14. love the corner squares. I think borders in some of the colors in the blocks would add the size you need and frame the awesomeness rings.

  15. I think you are onto something...maybe even a little larger corner squares would work. As for a border, I'd go with either the same black or the gray, or one of each in two different widths possibly. I might even experiment with extending the outer corner squares into the border.

    I'd love to have this design in an area rug:)

  16. Love the black confetti corners (no need to experiment further - just go for it)

    Once you have the blocks sewn together, I would play with a combination of a very narrow stop border (perhaps the same fabric as the corners?) followed by an even narrower border of red (to tie into the string ring centers). Beyond that, I love the gray -- perhaps a controlled scrappy-pieced border involving the gray and fabrics from the string rings?

    Good luck - take your time and work your way through the process. This is going to be a great quilt!

  17. Great idea, P.! It's just stunning and not a bit boring. Have you seen Ivory Spring's Thread Talk on Feather Wreaths? http://ivoryspring.wordpress.com/ That might be pretty around your string rings. LOVE your quilt top! Happy Wednesday!

  18. I think it looks great with the black diamonds. But it sounds like you're a bit disappointed in the size of the quilts. My idea would be to try a scrappy sashing--scraps in similar color to the Dresdens. I just love those string-pieced Dresdens, and would like to see more of your string-piecing on this quilt. Or you could try a scrappy border.

  19. I like the little black squares :)

  20. I really like your quilt. I also like a few of the design ideas expressed and I would have to audition a few of those before making a final decision. I'm a visual person, and sometimes the view is clouded if I only use my imagination. I have to put it on the design wall or on EQ7 to see for sure. Any way you go it will be a great quilt.

  21. Love the black diamonds. LOVE. I think the size of them looks great. I agree with adding some kind of scrappy border using your ring fabrics. Maybe a very thin black border first, then a border to match your background fabric, then a scrappy edge.

    Looks great!

  22. I like the corner squares. They break up the blocks without taking anything away from them. Maybe a dark border to highlight the quilt, or possibly just some dark binding =D

  23. I like it best with just the plain grey and no little squares. I think keeping it plain just makes those Dresdens sing. They are the focal point after all. And you've got a traditional block looking really modern that way.

    You can have my opinion for free.

  24. Not having a plan...allows for spontaneity! My second time to use that word today...
    Black squares on point + polka dots + grand vintage modern plates = True Quilt Love! This one is a winner, P. borders can make it bigger, definitely a combo of red, black and a bit of your blue? You've done well on your own so far, it's cool!!

  25. I love the little black blocks - and how about adding a border half the size of the individual blocks, in the background fabric? That would make it bigger, and I think it would be proportional (at least it is in my mind's eye!)

  26. Oh, and use the borders to complete the unfinished black blocks....

  27. What a difference the black corners make.

  28. I thought something like Nifty Quilt-how about adding two bars from the same scrappy fabrics as the circles. That would widen the quilt (I don't know long your bed is but 80" isn't bad for a quilt rather than a "bedspread".) You could test out the bars either between the rows or at the sides-an asymmetrical finished look.


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