Friday, September 18, 2009

Quiet Quilts

Don't get me wrong--I love color. But a quilt made in a subtle palette can be so refreshing. Particular color groupings are getting type-cast. For instance, orange/pink/turquoise/lime green and brown are THE Retro palette primaries. Color combinations that formerly would have been considered jarring are commonplace. What's going on? My own musing: perhaps our on-line viewing of fabrics and quilts plus how a photographed quilt comes across in a magazine has deeply influenced how we choose colors for our quilts. Brighter seems better.

Perhaps it's just natural orneriness or a lifelong tendency to swim upstream but I seem to be entering a different phase of quilting. I'm starting to work with colors that five years ago I couldn't have touched. In particular I'm looking at greys, taupes and browns, and blues and appreciating these quiet colors more. To the right is an antique quilt top that I found pictured on an online auction...I was too late!

Hints when working with subtle colors: choose a graphic pattern-don't settle for any old patchwork block. Make sure you understand what's dark, medium, and light. And finally, don't be afraid to combine groups of patterns to achieve an overall effect.

Here are a few other beauties that get me doodling and pulling fabrics.
Interesting how pale pink lattice strips calm down the bright red used in this Log Cabin variation.

And then this 1950s Rising Sun quilt in blues and browns. The occasional yellow sun rays are lovely sparkles but the whole composition would be quite different if all the blocks sported yellow spikes. That one bright turquoise block, second from the left last row, is just a great accent here.

I apologize for not noting where I got this indigo image. It's not a's an inspiration for a quilt.

Hmmmm. I wonder what's going on? Am I becoming more contemplative? Is it simply a stage I'm going through? Is it, god forbid, because my hair's turning gray? Can't be! I think I'll blame the shift on other influences.