Saturday, March 24, 2018

Adding Roses

Re-reading Freddy's Houses recently I was struck by this statement:

"When I start building a quilt I hate the way it looks. The blocks are jumbled, messy, and chaotic, and the design makes no sense. I force myself to keep going, keep designing, until eventually I see order emerging from the chaos: 10 colors don't work, but 100 colors do!" - Freddy Moran

Who'd have thought Freddy and I start our quilts the same way?

I dislike many of my quilts near the beginning. In fact, I've found over the years that the quilts I like at the halfway point are the ones I am usually disappointed with by the end while those I am dissatisfied with midway through end up much better. Perhaps because I redouble my efforts to "correct" the laggards but fail to pay enough attention to the ones that seem to be working. Something to consider.


Chinese Coins and Roses
My bright idea of appliqueing on top of coins didn't exactly happen. I constantly {or is it consistently?} revert to piecing when facing a challenge. Making the roses was great fun. Stopping the rounds was much harder. Since I didn't turn the rose frequently enough my petals got larger and larger which forced me to stop before they became ludicrously long. {I still think my roses have more of a pineapple block feel. Not complaining; just noting. Next time I'll establish a maximum petal length and turn the block more frequently.}

Once the leaves were in place, determining how to insert the roses into the quilt was the next step. I created extra Coin sheets then sewed them to the rose to square off the design.

Squaring up a rose to fit into Chinese Coin columns

The next decision was how many columns to fill behind the rose. The first two roses were wider than any Coin column. In the original arrangement (which I forgot to photograph) they fit across three narrow columns but the best solution set them across two columns. The sides of the rose “block” only needed a bit of trimming. {I had no idea upon starting that the roses would become blocks to be set in.}

Sewing a rose block into Chinese Coin columns

The larger roses were finished first. As I was working around the smallest one, I found the top needed different sizes. And then realized it fit into the widest column very well.

Chinese Coins quilt with roses

Putting a green column on the left evokes the leafy bushes. Those same greens didn’t work along the bottom. Instead I settled for mixing in extra green and grey coins. I also tried to make a soft border on the right by making small sets of alternating pairs of coins.

The quilt still doesn’t seem done but life is sad and crazy now. It’s better to wait and think. The top right is a lot of open space but adding a sun or bird isn’t the answer. Perhaps a vine connecting the roses? Or another rose near the bottom pair?  Or trimming the quilt down a bit? Any vine should be chunky with lots of leaves.

Linking up with Finish it up Friday where there are many interesting projects in progress.

Enjoy the day, Ann

22 comments:

  1. When you "set in" the rose blocks, did you first remove the background or cut it after? Sounds intimidating...it does look lovely--I think your roses turned out beautifully...they really turn the coins into a Summertime landscape..hugs, Julierose

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    1. Because I change my mind so frequently, I have learned to keep each column in two or three sewn groups and simply pin them together. It lets me move or insert more easily so inserting the roses simply means unpinning sections and moving them around a bit.

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  2. I agree about letting things sit and wait while you ponder what this quilt wants you to do next. I have Freddy's House and consider it one of my "core" books along with some of Gwen's, one by Janet Berlo, and one by Twyla Tharp about the creative process. Listening to what our quilts want and need is SO important. (I like the way you inserted your roses and how you shared your process - pretty sure you already know I like your coins quilts a lot).

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    1. Thanks, Julie. I've read the other books you mention but not Janet Berlo's. I'll have to get a copy. Since this quilt has been waiting, its call for leaves is constantly increasing. Just need to figure some out.

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  3. The roses were worth all the trouble. From my online view it seems like the open area on the right is balanced asymmetrically with the roses. Good idea to take your time.

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    1. Thanks, Paula. I think I like that open area, too, but also think the roses need more leaves and vines. Something to play with.

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  4. Love your roses. Just gives your quilt such a nice added dimension.
    Hugs

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    1. Thanks, Terri. It was exciting to try something new to me. They changed the look of this quilt tremendously.

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  5. I would never have thought to build coin backgrounds for the roses and then sew them in. I'm going to have to remember this technique.

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    1. Thanks, Robin. Now that I've done it, I see you could also make the roses first and then build the background. I hope to see your quilt soon.

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  6. I think it is absolutely Gorgeous!!! love the work and the idea! thank you Happy sewing from Iowa

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    1. Thanks, Melody. I love flowers but have a brown thumb. These turned out very well.

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  7. You certainly have been gifted with a wild imagination! This is incredible!

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  8. Thanks for this closer look Ann, I couldn´t imagine how it works. But this is simply great! Gets my imagination on tour.

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    1. I'm so glad it helped you, Doris. We makers always find it interesting to see how people make different quilts.

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  9. I think I would have ended up piecing not appliqueing too; I certainly like how it has worked for you. Thinking about the quilts we like the best, maybe it's like music: the track on an album that is released as a single is catchy straight off the bat, but is seldom the one I still like a year later. Other tunes are'growers' with more depth to them. I think quilts can be like that too. I'm also noticing that as you continue to work with Coins, what you are doing becomes quite sophisticated (like your right-hand column), as if you are completely mastering this particular format.

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    1. So many interesting points, Kaja. This quilt certainly grew out of previous, simpler versions. There is a rhythm to scrap quilting that looks random but is actually very thoughtful, thought-out. It's not planned but definitely considers the available choices before making decisions. Thanks for the compliment.

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  10. That looks very cool and not tooo complicated to execute! Thanks for the idea!

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    1. Thanks, Claire. It can be pretty easy to work out.

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  11. You have added the roses so seamlessly that it would appear you had them in mind all along. What a wonderful addition but I think you are right to say you aren't finished yet. I've often thought of trying those roses but was never quite sure what I would do with them if they turned out looking good.

    Take care of yourself during these difficult times!

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    1. So kind of you, Cathy. It wasn't what I originally had in mind but is certainly more in my wheelhouse. And we agree it needs something more.
      Closing the estate and getting items to the right people is just going to take time. Slow and steady works. Thanks.

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