Wednesday, June 29, 2016

I Know It When I See It -- #BraveQuilter

Are you like me?  When something's right it goes practically unnoticed: everything is as it should be and nothing calls attention to itself.  But when something's wrong it stands out like a sore thumb: the furniture askew, the counter covered with crumbs, the crooked painting on the wall, that one weed that was missed.  Wrong practically screams at me, "fix me!"  When it comes to quilting, my imagination can't get past pins holding fabric shapes in place.  It's my misfortune that everything needs to be stitched down before I can see whether it's right or wrong, whether it works or not.  Then, when it all works together, I know it when I see it.

I chose the little butterscotch/gold fabric for the centers of the flowers, stitched them down, pressed the block, and took photos.  Here it is.


Don't those yellow centers stand out like sore thumbs?  The flowers seem say to me, "fix us, please fix us!"  I don't know if the color is wrong, the size is wrong, or the shape is wrong, but to me, those centers are like bulls' eyes, drawing my attention directly to them.

I thought little stars would be great in the centers of the flowers but I don't applique well enough, especially tiny pieces like they would need to be, to create and stitch stars.  The five-cornered centers seemed like they would be a great substitute.  Now I think perhaps not.  But maybe the shape's okay and I just need to change the fabric.  It's back to the drawing board for me.

To some it may seem like a big deal to unstitch the centers, choose and prepare new ones, and applique them in place, but I've learned that sometimes things don't work as I imagine they will and I have to make changes.  For me it's part of the creative process.  And I'd rather make the changes before I sew the next border.  The less fabric I have to hold while stitching those little centers, the better.

My #bravequilter challenge for June was to applique the pieces onto this 21" x 24" block and keep it flat.  I succeeded in those two objectives (even though I will probably unstitch those little butterscotch centers and applique other centers).  And I also managed to add one narrow border as a "buffer" between the center and the next wider border--and the block is still flat and square.   I call it success.  One of these months I won't have to set goals toward bravery!

I'm linking this post to #BraveQuilter Wrap Up Linky for June at Pink Doxies.  Thanks for hosting, Julie.

I'm also linking this post to WOW at Esther's Blog and Let's Bee Social #131 at Sew Fresh Quilts.

--Nancy.
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16 comments:

  1. If they stand out too much to you, maybe a little embroidery on top of them in one of your other colors would make them less prominent. Just a suggestion, no need to follow it if it doesn't speak to you.

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    1. Hi, Joan. I thought about embroidery but wasn't sure I wanted the extra layer of stitching on top of the little appliqued dot. I don't have much confidence in my embroidery skills, at least on a quilt. Thanks for taking the time to visit and leave a comment. I appreciate the suggestion and may try it out another time. (I'll practice on something small first.)

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  2. I'm interested to see what you end up doing. Sorry you went to the effort and weren't happy with the results.

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    1. It's somewhat disappointing to think I've made the "perfect" choice, only to find it doesn't work. It happens to me sometimes. I chose safe for the circles. I've had enough bravery for one month! LOL.

      I hope you have a good holiday weekend, Janet. Thanks for visiting and leaving a comment.

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  3. I too am looking forward to seeing what you decide instead for your centers. What a shame to have to go to all that trouble, but I'm sure it'll be worth it to you to be satisfied with your flowers.

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    1. I chose safe for the circles, Kathy. I've had enough bravery for one month. LOL. It was a bit of trouble to unstitch the circles but at least they were tiny and I hadn't cut out the back yet. I'm happy with my safe choice. My husband tells me I think too much. I think it's an introvert thing but maybe it's just me.

      I hope you have a great holiday weekend. Thanks for visiting and leaving a comment.

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  4. Using a muted floss a two shades less intense, with a few French knots and some radiating long and short stitches around the centre of the French knots would tone done the yellow. That way the focus shifts from the appliqué centre to the embellishments!

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    1. This sounds like such a fun solution to the little centers. Someone else suggested embroidery and I explained my lack of confidence in doing embroidery on a quilt. I may try it on a single block or smaller quilt, and I really think I should try flower centers exactly as you describe them.

      Thanks much for visiting and leaving a comment, Maggie. I appreciate it.

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  5. Don't want to throw a spanner in the works, but I like the yellow centres, a lively choice! Maybe have a play before undoing all your hard work, the next borders could make all the difference to this. Look forward to seeing what happens next!

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    1. Linda, by the time I received your comment I'd already unstitched the yellow centers. I like the ones now but as the quilt goes on with additional borders I would not hesitate to unstitch them again and put the darker yellow centers back on. Maybe it was just the size that bothered me.

      Even though I changed the yellow I want you to know that I very much appreciate you sharing your thoughts about the centers and the color and then sending the link for the other quilter who used yellow. Thank you.

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  6. Nancy, Yellow appears a lot in flower centers in nature so I think this was a natural choice. I like them but if you need to change, perhaps a softer shade of yellow.
    You are getting some great suggestions here.
    Love to see your progress and also to know I'm not the only one who second guesses my choices.

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    1. Thanks for your thoughts, Jocelyn. I removed the centers in this photo and used a slightly softer yellow/apricot color. You can see them in the most recent post. To me they look better but as I told Linda, I may change them once again and go back to the brighter yellow.

      Second guessing impedes my progress, I think. I don't know if I have too many good ideas or too many bad ideas. My husband tells me I think too much. I think it's just part of being an introvert.

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  7. They don't stand out to me. I see them, but they aren't ruinous. In fact, when I first saw it, I thought, "How cute! She found the answer!" But you're the one who has to be pleased. I had two thoughts. A light brown wooden button sewn into each center - it would decrease the amount of gold that's visible. Brushing something like tea dye over them to make a duller finish. If you lived here, I'd loan you one of my Ozedyes, I have the perfect one, I think! Actually a third idea - embroider some little French knots or pistil stitches scattered over each center, in either gold or light brown, nothing perfect, just scattered. That would also decrease the impact of the centers, I think. Whatever you do, I know you will get it the way you want it eventually.

    You may be too focused on this small step. You could go ahead with the first border and see what you think then. Something in that border may draw attention out from the center and make it all work just fine.

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    1. Thanks for sharing your response to those centers and ideas for how to alter them, Susan. By the time the last few of you commented on this post I'd already removed them. The new ones are a yellow/apricot print. When seen at close distance they look better, just a little softer, and the print gives the idea of something happening in the center, almost as embroidery would.

      I will keep your ideas in mind for future possible use when the color/fabric just doesn't work right. I used to have some fabric crayons that work great but I don't know where they are. It's been years since I used them and more years since I bought them but they still worked great. I need to dig those out for just such times as these, when just a spot/wash of a different color would work.

      My husband tells me I think too much. It's because I'm an introvert but I'm sure it's probably true. I consider all aspects -- shape, size, color, fabric, placement -- in detail. But I think you're right that I've given too much attention to this small detail.

      The next border for this quilt (after my stars/navy border) will be log cabin blocks. Fun!

      Thanks again for visiting and leaving such a detailed comment. I appreciate your suggestions and input.

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  8. Congratulations on meeting your goal, Nancy, and thank you for linking up to #BraveQuilter's June finish. I think you've done a stellar job keeping things flat, and even the little yellow stars are spot on in my book. I think the yellow is doing a perfect job of drawing the viewer's eye toward each flower. Yellow is nature's warning sign to get our attention with bees, yellow jackets, and I wouldn't change the centers out. If you weren't drawn to each flower to look more closely, what would happen? I think you would only give it a cursory glance and say, "Oh, a basket of flowers." This keeps your eye going to each one around the piece, and then you start taking in the colors, the plaid leaves, the basket, etc. I LIKE the yellow centers very much, and think they do their job well.

    Julie

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    1. Thank you for hosting #BraveQuilter, Julie. It helps me stay focused on at least one particular goal.

      Oh, those little yellow centers. What a trouble they've been! They just didn't do it for me. Looking at the photo again I wonder if it was the size -- middle, but not big enough or not small enough. I don't know. Anyway, by the time you commented I'd already changed them. The fabric I used is a yellow/apricot print that gives the impression of a flower center, almost of embroidery. But, as I told someone else, I may change them back. I think looking at the actual block gives a different impression than looking at a photo.

      I really appreciate your detailed comment and thoughts about the centers and how they work for the flowers and the overall block, Julie. Thank you for taking the time to visit and response.

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

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