by Christine Barnes
The image above has nothing to do with this post, but I just had to drop it in because I LOVE these fabrics by Marcia Derse, Alison Glass, and Kaffe Fassett. You’ll see some of them again in a future quilt or garment.
Now, to the business at hand: Have you ever worked on a quilt that wasn’t quite “working,” yet you continued because you hoped it would get better? That’s what happened when I started my quilt Urban Ombrés. It began with the block below. I cut the center rectangle from a lighter ombré, and the surrounding strips from darker areas of other ombrés, all from Caryl Bryer Fallert. (The black-and-white is by Kim Schaefer and isn’t available, even on the Internet.) I thought the block was lovely, very ethereal and serene.
Ah, but sometimes more is actually less. I made a total of sixteen different blocks and joined them to make the quilt top below. I knew long before I finished that it lacked punch, but I kept going. Sound familiar?“It needs pattern,” I thought. I looked on my shelf of recent acquisitions, where I keep new favorites. Nothing. Then I saw a pile of Marcia Derse fabrics, like the ones below, and thought, what if?
I grabbed a scrap and laid it over the center of the top left block. What a difference this one fabric made!Suddenly the block had visual weight, and the center unit looked cohesive. I kept going, making 16 blocks with the same colored ombrés in the same positions as in the first quilt top. (There are a few exceptions.)
Changing gears a bit, below is an example of layered transparency. In the first mock-block I combined four medium-to-dark colors. These fabrics are from Michael Miller’s “Painter’s Canvas” line, and they are still available. In fact they’re coming out with new colors next month. Good!Then, from my embarrassing stash of MM fabrics, I laid four lighter-value versions of the same colors over the original fabrics:
Now there is the illusion of a transparent plane of lighter color. Very simple, very graphic, and really very easy. If you’ve signed up for my workshop, you’ll get a chance to make this and other transparency studies, one of which you’ll turn into a quilt.
Today is Friday the 13th, but I feel lucky in so many ways. Just having a light-filled studio with an abundance of delicious fabric makes my day, every day. Happy Spring!
p.s. I have a few Urban Ombrés kits consisting of the Marcia Derse prints, colored ombrés, gray ombré, and quilt pattern. (Both black-and-white fabrics are sadly gone.) Email me if you’re interested.