One Hot Mess, and Its Redemption
Giveaway next week: EQ8 quilt design software! And a promo code at the bottom of this post for a nice discount, too!
There are times when a certain quilt just doesn’t work out. We all know that any number of things can go wrong. This is the story of a quilt that I designed in EQ8, which was its usual powerful self.
But then everything went wrong. And then I rescued it (virtually), also in EQ8. So you know up front that we are going to have a happy ending. But I’m getting ahead of myself.
Let me show you how it evolved.
It’s almost hard to believe that this simple block is where it began. But I know from experience that some of the best quilts are made with very simple units. I was playing around with a square that had two easy-corner-triangles, also known as stitch-and-flip corners. I purposely made the corners more than half the width of the base square.
To begin with it didn’t look like much. I grouped four little blocks, but blocks in rows aren’t exciting unless you have something special going on.
With the addition of vertical sashes, things started to change. The sash unit was like a smooshed up block, as if a truck had run over it before depositing it into the design.
Then I added horizontal sashing and realized I might be getting somewhere.
Next came the cornerstones, which were a repeat of the blocks in miniature. Hmm.
I decided to add a border that repeated the cornerstones. It’s getting busy in there but it’s exciting. Remember that all of these changes were happening in EQ with a few clicks here and there, as I had ideas.
I was clicking and saving so quickly that my brain could hardly keep up. Good ideas can be like a ball rolling down a hill. They pick up speed.
Let’s cut to the chase: The image above is what I submitted to a quilt magazine. They liked it and wanted to publish it.
This was back in the day when you could submit ideas on paper and if you didn’t care to sew the quilt or own the quilt, they’d hire someone to make it. You were paid for the design and you never had to think about it again. I had other irons in the fire so I made peace with not making or owning this quilt.
Some time passed but the quilt did not appear in the magazine. No explanation was offered. I knew the quilt had been sewn. Then I kind of forgot about it because you know, life gets busy, you start working on other projects…things get away from you.
And THEN, out of blue, a box arrives on my doorstep. There was no explanation, no note, just the return address of the magazine.
Well. I have to say that I could see why it was never published. It’s not attractive. The colors don’t work. The backgrounds are too varied. The reds are too dull. It would not photograph well.
Since EQ had been my power tool when it was conceived, I decided to go to EQ again for the quilt’s redemption. This thing needed to be SAVED.
I turned the color on its head by switching to reds and hot pinks. Did you know that if you’re going to make a monochromatic (one color) quilt, red is the easiest color? Oh yes, red just SINGS when you add all the tints, tones and shades! I sprinkled in blue accents for fun. That thing is BIZ-ZEE!
I gave it room to breathe by adding a white border. The blue was a bit much, I decided. It was trying too hard.
I removed the blue (just click, click in EQ8!), widened the plain border and added that pieced border back in. I love this version!
Scrappy blues and greens together are always a hit, so I tried that. What do you think? Notice how all the units in the final border are oriented the same way.
I changed that up in EQ so the top and left are alike and the bottom and right are alike. I can’t tell much difference, can you? Even so, I would sew them as they are above because it’s one of those little details that can set a quilt apart.
OOH! Another idea:
What if I added red accents by coloring some units? At first I made three but five seemed better. Two of them seem to almost fall off the quilt.
I could make the star centers red to give them more punch. I haven’t decided but I think the one below is my favorite. I might not even make this quilt, but I had to prove something to myself:
It’s a solid quilt design.
It has movement and interest. You wouldn’t walk right past it on exhibit.
The fabrics used in the magazine’s version just weren’t right. They tweaked the proportions and they reduced the overall size, both of which caused the design to lose its sense of movement—which was its strongest feature. There are many reasons why this might be done and sometimes it’s fine and it doesn’t really matter.
I’m not upset about how things played out because now I have a quilt that has a good story to go with it. It will fit into a trunk show somewhere, I’m sure. In the end, I think this design is better than the original.
I love EQ and even though I’ve used it for many years, I learn new tricks with it regularly. This week I discovered that you can toggle between showing lines around the patches and hiding them. Magic!
Next week The Electric Quilt Company and I are teaming up to give away one copy of EQ8! Subscribe to this blog so you never miss a beat!
If you can’t wait, use code EQ8STASHBANDIT for 20% off anything and everything on the Electric Quilt Company’s website. Poke around while you’re there because the resources are amazing.
Excuse me, I just had another idea for this quilt and I’m heading to EQ8 to try it out!