Wednesday, July 22, 2020

Competing Voices about Red Circles on Green Squares


In the spring of 2013 I saw stands of roses in bloom at a garden market.  There were masses of startlingly red roses against bright and dark green leaves.  Beautiful, I thought.  Quilt idea, I thought.

So I cut some green squares and began appliqueing red circles to them. I made a few but wasn't sure what they would become, how I would arrange them, whether I would add more to them.  I had no vision of a finished quilt.  I added a few "plus" blocks to the mix but no arrangement seemed just right and nothing else came to mind.  I put them into the closet to be revisited at a later date.

I pulled the blocks out again a few months ago to reconsider and make a decision about whether to continue or not.  And there seemed to be two voices competing in my mind.

Voice #1:  "Just pitch those blocks.  Don't waste your time making more!  They'll never amount to anything."

Voice #2:  "Make more!  If you stop now you'll never know what those blocks might become.  Don't give up too soon."

I listened to the second voice and have been making more red circles on green squares.  I have more than 140 now.  (It's a casual effort when I don't have other applique to do.)  I'm still not sure what they will become, or how they will look, or even if they will become a quilt,  but I hope there will be strength in numbers.

When the possibilities are nearly endless, when the outcome is uncertain, what else is there to do but play?  I'm sharing some possibilities below.

All squares with solid sashing between  -- red or some other color,


or all squares side by side without sashing?


Or in groups of nine with a muted sashing, or without sashing as in first photo above?


Or in groups of nine with muted sashing and red cornerstones between?


Here the blocks are placed randomly in loose groups of 9.  This layout doesn't do much for me but perhaps it's because there's no sashing.  Or perhaps it looks a jumble because there are several different greens and more than a few different reds.


More groups of nine....



Or groups of nine with red and white striped sashing?


Or...?  These blocks were a crazy, impulsive choice without a clear vision of any kind.

I know most people post progress photos when they've finally figured out what they're doing, which makes this a strange kind of post, a nitty-gritty post about process and progress or lack thereof for an uncertain group of blocks.

Having listened to the second voice suggesting I make more of these, I'm going to stop stitching more (except for the ones already prepared) until I come up with a plan for a quilt!

Did I mention that these blocks will finish at 4½" square.  A group of nine with 1" sashing would finish at 15½".

All thoughts, ideas, suggestions are welcome, including "ditch them" and "Whatever were you thinking?!"  And I'm grateful for honesty, gently written.

--Nancy.
.

35 comments:

  1. Have a you thought about red sashing, blocks on point, then you can introduce some more red in triangles around the outside to square it up. Cheers Jan

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    1. Thank you, Jan. I hadn't thought about an on-point setting. But I will now!

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    2. when you mentioned Roses, I thought of Trellis (on Point).... and I see rose buds in corner stones, (but as a "v" not a cross) going different directions, with random leaves and stems...maybe a sashing of a dark greens (trellis).... think this keeps to your red roses in shades of green.... can't wait to see what you decide!!

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    3. Thanks for your detailed explanation of your vision about these blocks, Kathy. I'll give it some thought as I proceed.

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  2. I know that gold color is your floor, but have you considered gold sashing? --I think it would look very much Holiday-themed and pretty...
    hugs on a rainy morning julierose

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    1. Thank you for the suggestion, Julierose.  When I saw the floor between the blocks I noticed the gold color but I decided against it because I think it's too bright, but maybe that's because the floor's shiny.  It's one more option to consider.

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  3. First of all, I LOVE these blocks! My favorite layout is with no sashing. It seems to me to be what you might have visioned when you saw all those roses with different greens. I love the red and white stripe sashing too but it looks like Christmas to me. It would make a great Christmas quilt though.

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    Replies
    1. Thank you for your enthusiasm about these blocks, Wendy.  I love the red and white sashing, too, but using it would mean giving up the idea of roses at the garden market and send one's thoughts to either Christmas, as you say, or a summer carnival.  I hadn't actually thought of no sashing between any of the blocks but now I'm thinking about it.  Thanks again.

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  4. The photo of them on red (as for sashing) is my favorite, but I think it's because my first impression was that the blocks were slightly different size and a bit wonky. Further inspection tells me otherwise, but that slightly off-ness had me intrigued. Another possibility is to whack them in halves of quarters and, well, I don't know from there! And if you gasp at the thought of cutting them, I'll understand. I'm not sure I could, but just a thought! I'll be watching to see what you come up with. I'm sure it will be amazeballs!

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    1. Thank you for sharing what you see in the blocks and your suggestions, Katie.  The red sashing is pretty striking, isn't it?  And I know the photograph makes them look wonky, or maybe it's that they're not exactly aligned for the photo.

      I might think of cutting them into quarters if they were larger but since they're only 5" I don't think I will.  I think that's an idea for another quilt in the future.
      It will take me a while to applique more blocks so I probably won't post about this for many months.

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  5. You could always go wild and applique on some random stems and leaves to create a rose garden.

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    1. Thank you, Chris.  That's an idea I hadn't thought of.  They could add some energy and interest, couldn't they?

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  6. Gosh, you have a lot of options for your blocks--I don't think I have a favorite! I plan to make some blue and white circles (some day--lol!) but I am going to cut them into quarters and try some drunkard path type settings. Have fun!

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    1. LOL.  Thanks, Karen.  One of the challenges with an idea like this is not having a finished quilt exactly in mind.  But then part of the fun is playing with the options. 

      You will have fun with your blue and white circles, I'm sure.  And you'll probably have it carefully planned before you begin?

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  7. I really like that your circles are different sizes--and in my opinion a scrap quilt is supposed to have a jumble of different this and that. The visual interest to this is enhanced by the variety of reds and greens.
    I love the way the red sashing makes it all pop, but I wonder if it would overwhelm the eye if it was between each small block? I would play with the idea of making 9-patches without sashing, then putting the 9-patch blocks on point with red sashing between them. Just a thought.

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    1. Thank you, Janet.  I sometimes wonder how many variables quilt like this can have.  I was hoping the reds, greens, and circle sizes wouldn't be too much. 
      Yes, that red sashing between each block is striking, isn't it?  I still have about 50 (or more) blocks to make so I have some time to consider layouts.  I appreciate your ideas and thoughts.

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  8. What a fun project! I do see Christmas not roses but that's okay. I really love the red and white candy stripe sashing, it is so adorable and wild and free looking. But I like many of your other ideas too. I'm not however fond of on point settings, so I m not a fan of that idea. Plus all those small edge triangles would makeit a nightmare to piece.

    I love seeing your design process.

    lizzy

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    1. Thank you, Lizzy.  I love the red and white striped sashing, too, but it would mean giving up the idea of roses at the market and switching to either Christmas or a summer carnival.  Not that I'm opposed to those ideas, it's just a rearrangement of my thinking.
      I've made a quilt or two with blocks set on the diagonal and they were challenging.  I can't envision these on the diagonal.
      I have 50 or more blocks to stitch so I have some time before I have to make a decision. 
      Thanks for sharing your thoughts and suggestions.  I appreciate it.

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  9. I am SEW glad that you decided to continue with the project. LOVE it!! I'm with the "odd man out", as I really like the 9 blocks together with the golden "sashing" of your floor. If you get totally disgusted with the project you can either chop the blocks into quarters and put them back together randomly (or you can mail them to me and I'll do something with them!!)

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    1. I love your enthusiasm for these blocks, Joyful!  You're the second person to like the gold sashing of the floor, so you're not alone at all.  I have at least 50 or more blocks to make, now that I've decided to continue, so it will be a while before I do much with them. 

      Cutting the blocks into fours and sewing them back together randomly is not an idea I'd thought of so thanks for the suggestion.  (And I may end up mailing them to you!)

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  10. I'm glad you shared your inspiration for these cute little blocks. It makes me want to ponder on what my inspiration has been for certain quilts. I guess I just have a tendency to leap ahead and haven't worried about the reason for forward progress. I like the blocks with the red sashing. I wonder how it would look if you sewed them together as 9-patch blocks and then put sashing between the larger blocks. I'm sure it was a peaceful project to calmly sew around those circles.

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    1. Thank you, Robin.  I think for traditional blocks our inspiration is sometimes the colors or seasons, but with non-traditional/improve blocks the inspiration may be something from our lives -- like your map quilt. 

      I like your idea of 9-patch blocks with sashing between the larger blocks and it's one layout I'll try out.  I still have 50 or more blocks to make.
      I like the fact that these are so portable, perfect for riding in the car so yes, peaceful to sew. And no real hurry, either!

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  11. I love these blocks - and I enjoy a post like this - laying out the possibilities - it's fun to see and I bet will be fun to look back on years from now, when the quilt has a life of its own and is what it is.... to look back and see what your thinking was at this decision-making time. Anyway, they are terrific little blocks - glowy contrast! I think side by side is great. Or the striped sashing if you are leaning toward a Christmas look!

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    1. Thank you, Cynthia.  When I'm considering possibilities it seems I need photographs or I forget all the options.I've looked at old posts of other quilts I've finished and thought, gee, why didn't I do it that way?  It makes me think I should sometimes make double the number of blocks or make a large quilt and then a small one.  Ha!I've been saying they have "a striking contrast" but I think your "glowy contrast" may be more accurate.  Either way, to my eyes some of those red/green combinations just pop.

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  12. Nancy divinos bloque !!
    Me encanta verde y rojo
    Mi opción preferida sin franjas
    Saludos

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    1. Thanks so much, Belarmina.  I'm glad to find a like-minded quilter who also loves red and green.

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  13. Nancy, I thoroughly enjoyed your review of past projects. Cheddarblock is so beautiful all together,btw. I like these red circles on greens very much. I enjoy curves and this has an old fashioned kind of vintage Christmasy feel. I'm terrible at decision making re finishing off but I have faith in you and what you decide!

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    1. Thank you, Jocelyn.  The other morning I was pondering the similarities between red roses amongst green leaves and the reds and greens of Christmas.  Opposite seasons but same colors. 

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  14. My first vote is for no sashing. Second vote is for groups of 9 with a subdued sashing, something similar to your floor maybe. And I like the bit of wonky-ness in layout of the groups of 9. The red sashing seems a bit much, but may be totally different in person?

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    1. Thank you for sharing your thoughts on these blocks and possible layouts, Gail.  The red sashing is just as strong in person as it is in the photo!  Those blocks really pop against the red.  I appreciate your input.

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