Tuesday, November 17, 2015

The Spiderwebs are Haunting Me

It's still clean up/clear out mode around here. I bought shallower boxes for my fabrics so they all fold upright. Much easier to move them and to see everything at one glance. Previously my fabrics and projects were stacked like pieces of paper. It was easy to get lost in the stacks.

Guess what? Those pesky Spiderwebs popped up during the move. I hadn't forgotten them but had been ignoring mine. Everyone else's are gorgeous. See Cathy's here, or Edeltraud's here or Sujata's here or Krista William's here... but mine have not played well together.

First attempt at Spiderwebs, 2014
While clearing out the scrap bag last week, I made more wedges. And I decided to limit the stars to light blue/green. On the left are four different blue stars. Unfortunately that's all of three blue fabrics. Most spiderwebs are grouped by their outer band color. Opinion of my arrangement? Yuck.

On the right the stars are one fabric and each web is grouped into alternating sets of outer band color. (I thought it might look like propellers.) Yuck again.
Spiderweb versions 2 and 3.
"If plan A fails, remember there are twenty-five more letters." Claire Cook

Adding dark strips didn't improve things nor did adding lights. Finally I decided the webs needed more concentrated colors. By now the scrap bag is skimpy; so I cut some new fabric. I sewed new wedges of mostly single colors - red, blue, green, yellow, purple, orange, or pink - placing them to boost the color of each web. Much better; almost jewel-like.

Spiderweb Jewels
Spiderweb blocks are sewn around the star, not the web. I drafted this 12" block myself using a kaleidoscope ruler. Silly me. The wedges needed to be cut 6.625". I should have used an easy measurement for the wedges and let the block be whatever size resulted.

Construction notes: Mine are not paper pieced. I sewed strips together, pressed, then cut wedges for some. Others I eyeballed lengths of strips to form the wedge, pressed, then trimmed with with the ruler. Once I started assembling the blocks, I stopped pressing to keep from distorting the bias edges.

Spiderweb Jewel, detail showing construction
Remember Ad Hoc Improv Quilters linkup #3 is only a week away - Tuesday, 24 November. What do you have to share?

Enjoy the day,
Ann

24 comments:

  1. Well, a lot of trial and error, but it really is looking good now! I've been looking at a lot of these based on Bonnie Hunter's pattern, and I've noticed that the key seems to be a consistent colour in the outer ring. And that's where you have ended up too! But the different jewel colours are a gorgeous variation. Plus, I love that background. This is going to be special, Ann!

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    1. I didn't realize Bonnie had a pattern. I might have gotten some tips there and saved a lot of work. But I learned and persevered.

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  2. Yes, I think your final iteration works well. The concentration of colors gives the webs a substance they lacked before...in the first couple of rounds it was hard to make my eye see "web". Good lesson about not settling for the first time, and good strategy for correcting your course!. It is so interesting to read about everyone's processes; they stick somewhere in my brain and can be summoned later! Thanks!

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    1. That's how I felt, too, Sue. The webs just disappeared previously. I'm glad I stuck with it. And like you, hope I remember these lessons in future. :-)

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  3. Oh I am doing one, too! Mine will be for my granson whose fave color is ORANGE--so no flowery stuff and he is into math and music--the points are architextural prints and the rest scraps...How will it play together--I really don't know. but i do know that i really like your print star points a lot...very nice. hugs, Julierose

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    1. I look forward to yours. There are so many different ways to choose the strips. I did want to make the stars from different fabrics but it was a no-go. Sujata has a spiderweb style quilt on an orange or cheddar backround. It's so compelling. And isn't it different (and fun and challenging) to plan a quilt for a boy/man? I'll look for photos in future.

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  4. I'm working on a spiderweb now also, my second. It is such a fun block. Love how you made the outer rings one color but different fabrics.

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    1. Thanks, Em. I thought this would empty my scrap bag but it was a pickier block than first glance. I'm still wondering how much the background fabric influenced the look of the striips. I'm so glad I finally got it right.

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  5. I think it is looking really good. I know sometimes while looking at my project so long it just looks yucky, I think we like others work better because we haven't seen it so much, if that is making any sense.lol I do think yours is very nice an equal to theirs.

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    1. Thanks, Lynn. You're right. We usually see others final layouts and not all the intermediate issues. But I enjoy sharing as many steps as I remember to photograph. I'd really like to make one with different colored stars. Maybe next time (if I'm crazy enough to do this again. And I probably am.)

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  6. Beautiful true scrap Spider Web and what a good idea to keep the outer strips in one colour family. This is one I would like to make and had thought of my "clean up" cuts but these differ in width from one end to the other - but it may be interesting.

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    1. Perhaps you could use part of your cleanup cuts on the narrower sections and simply add the longer strips on the outside?

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  7. This is a really great lesson Ann! It helps so much to see you work your way through to the final, fantastic end result! What a difference you made in the quilt with each new fix. Thank you for the tips on construction too.
    "If plan A fails, remember there are twenty-five more letters." Claire Cook" - LOVE that quote!

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    1. Thanks, Lara. I wish I'd taken more photos in progress but at least I got the main decision points. That's one of my favorite quotes.

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  8. I think you cracked it in the end - interesting though to see the versions you rejected as well.

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    1. I think using a print for the stars and the fact that most of the strips and all the stars are medium light were my biggest problems with this top. It was disconcerting to dislike the first few versions so much - I like scrappy and unplanned looking.

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  9. What a variety of spider webs there are! And what an interesting method of construction you used. Final result looks great but I think your first version did too! I'll bet if you continued with the first attempt and then stepped back you would have liked it.

    When I am using up scraps I never cut anything more to add to the mix, always go with first attempt/gut instinct and never fuss about it. I don't have a design wall so I really don't get a good look at a quilt until I hang it out on the clothesline for a pic. If I did have a design wall I would probably never get anything done because I would be fussing about all the time and never satisfied.

    Anyway, thanks for some links to other spider webs in blog land...each unique. And thanks for running us through your process/thoughts. And, what a lovely final version.

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    1. Thanks, Cathy. Monica mentioned Bonnie Hunter has a pattern on her site but I didn't check it. Bonnie's method looks easier but definitely doesn't lend to rearranging. I wanted to move mine around. I guess I should write a short post about making the wedges.
      I don't usually rearrange scrap quilts much but this one was not working out for me. You're probably right; if I'd kept going it might have been ok. Still, it was fun to work this out. The second and final arrangements aren't that different but deciding how to use the strips allowed me to deepen the colors of each web. There are so many mediums in this quilt. I think that's how they get lost.
      Isn't it fun to see what other people have done with the same pattern? Glad you like that, too.

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  10. The scrap queen rules once again!! I enjoyed watching your progression and problem solving to arrive at a fabulous design! Can't wait to see the finished top once done!!

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    1. Thanks, Mel, but it may be a while before I finish this one.

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  11. I was just about to say, but the blocks do look good as they are until I saw your fix. That outer ring makes a big difference and does make the design so much better.

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    1. Thanks for writing, Shasta. I think using a print for the stars made the webs harder to see. Concentrating the colors helped the design appear.

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  12. I love seeing the steps through your design process Ann, and the decision you made was perfect! It's so good to see how you can make a much stronger design with relatively simple adjustments - as frustrating as that can be! I think 'jewel' is a great name too :) (I love the background fabric you chose too!)

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    1. Thanks, Stephie. I'm just glad I remembered to take photos along the way. Perhaps that is finally sinking in. It does make a difference in decisions - photos give a much better overview.

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