December 2, 2011

Cy: Planning my CQ project.

 Over the last couple of days I have been pondering on my CQ colour scheme because I have not worked with this particular combination of colours before.

I have a very clear picture in my head of how the wallhanging will look (will someone please invent a camera to take pics of my imagination).
Anyway, I need my CQ to be predominantly black and white (achromatic) with hints of teal/blue for highlights.

It has to have very straight lines, be extremely modern, and contemporary at the same time.
Therefore I challenged myself to only using brand new fashions cotton fabrics from the quilt shop.
I do not want any texture or shine in the fabrics. All the texture will be created with the stitching and embellishments, and I think I might only use buttons as embellishments
Clear lines throughout. Organized and boxy. No lacy bits or frills (that is going to be a challenge for me to stick to).

Then I start to wonder how I am going to work with this "new-to-me" colour scheme. In the past I have always used bright colours, happy colours, warm colours in everything I've done. How am I going to stick with my achromatic scheme for a whole year?

Panic set in.

What if I don't like it? What if I give up because I can't work with these colours?

Here is a pic of the colours I have bought so far. A fat-quarter, or a fat-eighth of each at the moment. To be added to with subsequent trips to my favourite store.


The black and blue butterfly fabric in the middle was the first piece I chose, as it has the right colour blue/teal (although it looks quite a bit darker in the photo than it does IRL)
You will see that I have added beige/gold to my original scheme as it is the same colour that outlines the butterflies and ties in nicely with the lotus plant Egyptian(ish) pattern in the same colours.

To cut a long story short (oops, too late) I decided to make up a test piece as a trial to see how I cope with the blacks and lack of brights. I worked on this test piece in varying amounts of daylight and night light to see if I would have trouble with the dark's.

Sample is just under 8"

This sample has given me a better idea of how best to use the colours (or how NOT to use them). 

I started off ok with the dark's in the middle, but then I "sort of" lost it a bit before working out that I needed to get the white/lights on the outside. And I'm not sure that those beige/golds really work, or maybe  just have to use them sparingly.

The setting I envisage for my wallhanging is definitely  square. Each block will be 8" and sewn directly to the next 8" block (no sashing). So it will either be set 3 x 3 blocks, or 4 x 4. I don't mind having to make 16 blocks if I do the 4 x 4. But if I do the 3 x 3, then I would like to make up the extra 3 blocks (so I have total of 12 for CQJP) as a table runner for the hall table near where my wallhanging will be hung.

I'd welcome all thoughts and suggestions, especially as I don't usually work in this way. 
I never plan ahead, never have an idea of what the finished project will look like, never have a colour plan or know where the item will be used, and never work with other stitchers to talk about it (haha). I usually leave everything to chance.

So you can see I have quite a few hurdles (challenges) to get over.


Debra Spincic said...

Since I am basically a quilter, those cottons look inviting to me. But, for your hand embroidery to show on the prints, it will have to be pretty dominant.
Can you put in some solid blacks, whites and blues? Hand dyed fabrics? batiks?
There are trims that are modern looking and tailored that would work.

I can understand the panic completely. But, if this is for your home, then you must like the colors enough to have them in your home, right? Or, maybe you can look at the space and see if something bright would work too. It is difficult to bond with a yearlong project and if you can't bond with the colors at the beginning, it makes it even harder. (I'm being honest.)

Connie Eyberg Originals said...

Cy, even though this is pretty much the opposite direction I am going with my project, I really do like it! I understand what Debra is saying about the fabrics allowing the stitching to show up. What colors of floss are you thinking?

Just throwing an idea out there, you could do half-and-half blocks which would really give you a diagonal straight line and help balance your lights and darks. What I mean is a diagonal line between opposite corners where one triangle would be all darks and the other all lights. Another option would be alternating a dark block with a light block.

I really think it is smart to do a mock up block to see if it will come together the way you are envisioning it. If you find someone to photograph your vision, let me know! Love the teal thrown in the mix by the way.

Cy said...

Debra, thank you for your honest comment. You made me think about this item actually being for ME and MY home instead of loosing it and never seeing it again at the end of making it. This work will be with me for a long time, so I shall have to live with my choices.
Yes, I do like the achromatic colour scheme but I'm re-thinking the beige/gold as that sticks out like a sore thumb to me.

Cy said...

Connie, I was going for more neutral colours for the hand stitching, with lots more of the teal threads to enliven the work.
I understand what you were saying about having light & dark blocks. That is actually a pretty good idea (thank you). I'm not too keen on the chequerboard effect of the alternating arrangements of the light and dark blocks though, so I might have to arrange them differently, perhaps in a watercolour-wash arrangement, if that is possible with black & whites.

Jane said...

I'm not real comfortable chiming in on everyones original plan. I guess its that I know how hard it is getting off the ground and just "starting". Theres lots of time after we all get good with each other. I do love these colors, Cy... thats always half the battle isn't it... you've gotta love looking at them/working with them, eh? From the last pic , you're on to something with your blocks

jenclair said...

Since my style is so very different, and I've never done a crazy quilt, I can't contribute much. But I really like the fabrics, Cy, especially the butterfly piece.

Suztats said...

What strikes me about the fabric selection is that it appears every fabric, except perhaps the black, is patterned. To me it looks a little busy, and I wonder if having more solids in white, grey, and perhaps a touch of the teal might give the eye a place to rest among the patterns? Just a thought. I haven't been CQing long, but this jumped out at me, because I realized my Christmas fabrics were all patterns, and now I must go shopping before I make my final fabric selections.

Debra Spincic said...

I had the same experience that Suz is referring to with one of my 1st CQs. I pulled a bunch of quilting prints & started stitching. What a busy mess. I ended up cutting that section out of the CQ and sections are still in my "parts drawer". It's very tricky getting stitches to show up on prints.

One of my blog readers made the comment--if you are going to the effort of stitching, don't you want people to see the stitches? It was a big "Duh!" moment for me. Out came the scissors.

Along those same lines and at the same time, I had collected a huge amount of Christmas fabrics for a CQ and when I looked at them with the new insight, they were so busy my eyes were dizzy. So, now those are being used for other projects.

Been there and done that (unfortunately).

Debra Spincic said...

I might add that the print you have with the scalloped fans would be fun to interpret as a stitched fan motif--using lazy daisy or a filled in oval shape.
Also, stripes are great as "built-in" rulers! You can stitch along the lines.

Connie Eyberg Originals said...

Cy, I hadn't thought 'checkerboard' (lol), but you are absolutely right! I also know what the others are talking about with regard to your stitches being visible on too much pattern. The CQ Christmas block I did for Pat Winter's magazine cover has a very strong Christmas pattern and I really had to add several stitch layers and use a little brighter colors to make some of the stitching show up. It was a challenge but also a lesson learned.

Jane, don't be shy about chiming in with ideas. Actually I feel this is a good time to share thoughts before we are too far into the project to change direction. I am pretty inexperienced as I have only been crazy quilting just over a year and really do welcome ideas. Others likely will see things I hadn't thought of.

Cy said...

Jane, we don't have to be experts to like something or not. Personal taste is .... well ... personal hahaha.
Please feel free to chime in some more, anytime.

Cy said...

Jen, glad you like the butterfly piece, that was my 1st fabric choice, so everything else is growing from that one piece.

Suz, you are spot on with every one of my fabrics (including the black) being a patterned one. I think you are right to suggest some plain fabrics would give the eye a place to rest. It would also help show off the stitches more too, so yes, I think I will add some plains to the mix (thank you).

Cy said...

Debra, thanks again for your suggestions on fabrics. I can see that if I add plain fabrics it would definitely help the stitches get better visual appeal.
The scalloped fan fabric is another of my favourites in this piece, but I was wondering if it was too "busy". I will keep it, but may have to experiment a bit to find out what stitches or embellishments would look good with it. And I will use your idea to stitch a similar pattern in other areas of the block.

Connie, I will continue experimenting to find the correct placement of blocks for "the look" I am going for. I think I will start "playing" with my Photoshop program to see what I can come up with.

Thanks everyone for your suggestions here. I am finding this a completely new way of working, re- talking about the project in hand. I've never worked with input from others before, and I'm finding it an excellent process to sort out any problems.

Debra Spincic said...

I would definitely like to see your photoshop pics of the various layouts posted here. I think that would be very educational for all of us -- no matter what level of stitcher we are. Plus, another set of eyes will see things differently.

Also, that fan would be a good beading pattern too.
I might have to steal it from you!

Cy said...

Lol Debra .... steal away.
Love the idea of using it as a beading pattern. I could experiment with adding beads to the actual fabric too. Thanks for that!

Debra Spincic said...

Definitely, I could see that with both bead ideas!

Connie Eyberg Originals said...

Cy, I agree about working with others in this format. It is interesting and educational even if it isn't your (my) project.

Jane said...

Just commenting about using patterns within the fabric for embellishing. I stumbled on that a few years back by accident and got some pretty surprising textural results from it.

Peacock said...

Cy, I love the color palette you've got here, with or without the gold! I agree with most of the observations and suggestions that have already been made, and I like your idea of trying a "colorwash" approach. I think it could work if you think of each fabric as a varying intensity of "grey" on the grey scale. It would be a fabulously interesting experiment, if nothing else!
One thing that I do notice when I look at your sample block is the way that the size of the patches and the scale of the prints interact to create illusions of distance (close vs far) and significance (big vs small). The large-scale fan print in the lower left corner seems to have strong significance because of the print scale and size of the patch, while the swirly white-on-black (butterfly wings, maybe?) print in the upper center almost disappears because the print scale is fairly all-over and the patch size is small. It makes me wonder how this block would feel different if the patch shapes were all the same but those two prints were in each others' positions...

Peacock said...

I also really like the gold as part of your color palette, but I can see your concern that it might take over. One thing that I like to do with "difficult" fabrics (ones that are too bright or too busy to play well with the rest of my fabrics) is to use them to create piping lines (flat or stuffed) along another fabric's seamline. Sometimes just 1/8 or 1/4 inch line is a perfect hint of excitement, and more than that would draw too much attention to itself.

Cy said...

Great ideas Peacock. I shall have to try it out in digital form first lol. Changing the fabrics around before I progress to stitching the fabric together.

p.s. I have now ripped out that gold and I like it much better.