The company you keep
While I was working on Sea & Sky, I decided I’d cheat and re-use the pattern (“New Wave”) a second time because it was quick, easy, and chews through large-scale prints like a hot knife through butter. Since the color scheme for that quilt was light, bright, and warm-toned, I wondered what I could do if I started pulling out fabrics with muted grey or brown tones.
has been the easiest way to show the fabrics so far. They’re all cut out, and what’s amused me is that many of these have been head-scratcher fabrics ever since I bought them. They’re lovely on their own, but when I tried to pair them with other fabrics in quilts, they had one of these problems:
- Scale too large
- Large blotches of fabric
- Color stands out as too grey-toned when paired with truer-color fabrics
- Color stands out as too brown-toned when paired with truer-color fabrics
I was surprised at how many of them were Hawaii purchases. They’ve been re-sorted back into my stash for so long that it was difficult to see how many muted fabrics I bought there.
There’s an interesting concept underneath, here, about – place. About how you don’t always bloom when planted willy-nilly. Not all fabrics love each other. Sometimes people, and fabrics, bring out the worst in each other: color undertones, like jagged personality edges, can make it almost impossible for two fabrics (or people) to get along.
Many of these fabrics never made it into quilts because when they were placed with truer colors, they looked washed out. Dull. Shouted down. Large prints don’t help; they’re harder to fit into patchwork without destroying the motifs that make them awesome in the first place. Here, though, nobody’s shouting. This is a grey-Sunday quilt, a quilt for rainy days and reading.
If you go back up and look at the photo, take special note of the batik fabric, bottom right around 4:00. It’s the one with the splashes of teal. It looks bright here, doesn’t it?
It’s the same fabric I ruled out of Sea and Sky because it looked drab. You can even see it here,
looking unhappy and out of place, hanging out with fabrics that made it look dumpy and dull when, instead … it just needed new friends. Where there it felt heavy and dull, here it looks happy and bright, with the teal flashing out brightly.