Friday, November 1, 2013

Progress on the Snowball and Nine-Patch

It's just play at the moment.  I'm not sure what this quilt will look like when it's finished.  I know it helps to take photos and see them on the computer monitor, though.  It seems to give me a little objectivity and perspective.

Thoughts on various aspects of this quilt top:

the center
The nine patches and snowballs are all sewn together.  They stay as they are (for better or worse).

the stop border
You can barely see it there on the left side, a light/bright and very narrow strip of turquoise and white check.  Now I wonder if it's too light.  I've tried several other colors and tones/shades and haven't been happy with any of them.  And maybe it's too narrow.  I'm not sure how wide to make it on a quilt this size.  Width?  Color?

the outer border
It is intentionally uneven, narrower on the top and right side, wider on the bottom and left side.  Should it be even wider on the left and bottom?  Will the quilt look okay with an uneven border?  How wide is too wide, how narrow is too narrow?

I researched border sizes a little and learned that current thought suggests that the most effective border width is based on a numerical equation called phi, equal to 1.618.  Multiply the block size by .618 and by 1.618 to find out the best width range for a border.  The blocks in this quilt are 4½".  The range for the border is between 2¾" and 7¼".  That's a really wide range for a quilt center that measures 31½" x 40½".  As the borders are laid out now, the left and lower borders are 7", the right and top borders are 5".  Hmmmm.

The pinks are not really pink but small red prints on white/off white grounds (and two plaids), but they look very pink.  The greens and blues are also on white (or vice versa).  I think the colors will work but I don't like the placement. 

the applique flowers
The vine is a piece of yarn to give the impression of a vine but I don't think a vine will be effective on this quilt so I'm taking it out. 

Only a few applique flowers are laying on the border but I'm thinking of clusters of flowers with leaves on the wide borders; single flowers and leaves on the narrow borders.  Maybe the flowers are too small.... 

It's all just play for now but I can't play too long or our grandbaby girl will be 2 before it's finished!  I've decided that in my case, creativity can not be rushed.  It will take its time or the result will be less than my creative best and will look insincere.  There are so many variables in the creation of a quilt.  It seems to me that some people have an intuitive ability to make "perfect" decisions.  And some of us just puzzle our way through it learning a little from each quilt. 

I'm linking this post to:
  • A Lovely Year of Finishes at Fiber of All Sorts.  My goal is to have this top completely stitched by the end of November.  I would love to have it layered and partly quilted before the end of the month, too.  It may happen but I'm not claiming that as a goal for A Lovely Year of Finishes.
  • Fresh Sewing Day at Lily's Quilts.



  1. Hi, Nancy - I know just how you feel! I really have to bumble around a lot until I find the design mix that clicks together nicely. You've got it going along nicely, though - auditioning things and using photos and the monitor to sort out how the blend/balance feels to you. Good luck! (one thought - I like the flowers not being bigger and then just blending with the size of the snowballs)

    1. Hi, Lynn -- I just looked at a few posts on your blog and it looks to me like you can't possibly do any bumbling around for your quilts. They look fabulous!

      Thanks for your kind words about this quilt and especially for your thought about keeping the flowers the size they are. I'll lay out some more and look at them more carefully before deciding.

  2. I really like this quilt. I love the nine patches and snowballs together. On a quilt with borders my preference is a narrow border (I like your color choice) and then a wider border. My decision on the width usually is influenced by how much fabric I have and how big I want the final piece. Uneven borders will work nicely especially if the wider ones have the applique accents. But no matter what I'm sure it will become a much loved quilt!

    1. Thank you for your detailed and specific comments, Nina. It's just the kind of thoughts I hope readers will share.

      I was sitting here thinking that I just need to make a choice and get on with it. The turquoise/white checked border isn't so strong that it overtakes the quilt (as several other fabrics I've auditioned have) so I'll probably go with that. Width -- 1", 3/4", 1 1/2". I need to just choose and do it.

      The wider border is definitely scrappy. I don't have enough of any one fabric to do the whole border. Like you, some of my choices are based on what I have and/or have enough of (depending on whether it's a scrap quilt or not).

      I really appreciate your sharing your thoughts, Nina. Thanks!

  3. I have a hard time with aquas too, it seems they tend to show much lighter--or lower value if you use that term--than they should. I think that because your wide border is fairly light, perhaps the narrow border should be darker.

    1. Thanks for sharing your input and experience, Lisa. I'm still struggling with the color and fabric for that stop border. I like the turquoise/white tiny check but I wonder if it disappears. On the other hand, I don't want something that's so strong it takes all the attention. Hmmm. And since that's the very next step, I have to choose the fabric and width before I can do anything else! I think I'll take some more photos....

  4. I love the nine-patch and snowball together! I never would have thought of combining them. It seems to me that the hardest part of making a quilt is making up your mind. Usually I have several options and just have to use one...but picking only one is the hard part. I like your different widths and colors and think it will be well-loved and that is what matters! Good luck finishing it up wrapping your granddaughter in it!


I appreciate your comments and look forward to reading what you have to say. Thanks for stopping by.

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