Starting Squares and Crosses

The next quilt is ready to be born!!   Starting a new quilt is always sooooo  exciting.  I have designed this square:


I will be using a 4 x 4 arrangement of these squares, each 18″  for a final size of 72″ square.  The background will be a snowy white, and all tiny center squares a bright color.  The squares that are aqua here will be a different saturated pastel in each square.   In a few of the squares, the cross will be a contrasting color.

Cyclone with an Aura

It started with a Magpie Guild challenge to make a monochromatic block in yellow.  After finishing pouting that I couldn’t add black and white, I started considering options.  I didn’t want a conventional quilt block- I was picturing more of an improv block.  I wanted to use mostly prints, because I didn’t have enough different yellow solid colors.  And I wasn’t interested in just making another “stick a square or circle or triangle in the middle of a different color field and call it a modern quilt”.

I wanted movement!  I thought about the circle motion of a log cabin, but a classic log cabin was too regular.  What about a sort-of string-pieced irregular log cabin?  Aha!!

I love the motion in this, swirling and dancing.  Too pretty to put in a pile of UFOs, where so many single block challenges end up.  So, what next?

Perhaps this could be the center of a SuperNova?  Why, yes, that sounds great.  So, how about a narrow white-ish grey ‘aura’ surrounded by deep blues and blacks?  But what proportions?  Getting these wrong  could make the whole thing flail.

Aha!  I turned again to EQ7, for previews of proportions and placements.  Using a one block quilt and 2 borders, I experimented with all sorts of variations.  Here are the two finalists.

I’m not sure which I like better.  So I think I’ll make the larger version of the white, then try it ‘in person’.  If it turned out I prefer the smaller, I can trim it down.

Next task:  How to sew the border?  String piecing?  Those could be long narrow pieces of paper that might rip easily.  Do I want the pieces heading straight out?  Or continuing the swirly motion?   Things to ponder before I set about this task tomorrow.




Color Auditions in EQ7

When I mention EQ7, fellow modern or art quilters say, with some condescension, “I don’t make that kind of quilt” or “My quilts are too original for that kind of software”.  But here’s my secret:  I use EQ7 primarily for Color Auditions.  Yeah, auditions.  You know, when you put 4 or 5 different color combos on your design wall to see which speaks to you?  Or when you haul out the colored pencils and make half a dozen color iterations?  You can do that preview in EQ7 with just a few clicks – and no fabric, pencils or paper are consumed in the process!

EQ7 brags about being able to import different ‘Fabric Libraries’, to see exactly how your quilt will look.   Many love this, I think mostly those who make traditional quilts.  But not me!  That feature could disappear tonight and I wouldn’t notice!  What I want is to see pure colors together, not the motifs on the fabrics.

I’m still on a steep learning curve for EQ7 (and for Adobe Illustrator, which answers other parts of my design needs). There is probably a way to import additional colors into EQ7 or to make custom colors that don’t disappear – and I can’t wait to learn how to do this.  In the meantime, I make do with the basic colors.

Here’s how Color Auditions work with a traditional block from EQ7’s block libraries.  This is Flying Squares.

Flying Squares 1

Here are the Flying Squares into a 4 x 4 grid.

Flying Squares 5

Now for the fun part.  What different emotional feelings can I give to the quilt with different color combinations?  Here are some colors that have a Garden feeling-  yellow centers, white petals, green background.  Not bad.  But a bit blah.

Flying Squares 6

What if we vary the background color just a bit, adding a neighboring blue-green in a checkerboard grid?

Flying Squares 3

Adding an soft aqua to the medium green makes it more interesting.  Oh, and what about varying the color of the flower centers?Flying Squares 4

Making half the centers red instead of yellow adds even more interest.  For a different feel, what if we replace the neutral black with orange, opposite green-blue on the color wheel?  And make the white flower petals into a more neutral brown?

Flying Squares 7

Nah, I’m not liking that.  How about back to the blacks and whites, but with pinks instead?

Flying Squares 11

Totally different feel, no longer like a garden at all.  But lively!    Or, how about if we make the background squares alternating black and white, using brown ‘petals’ with blue and green centers.

Flying Squares 8

Totally different again.  But nah, not all that appealing.    I could explore this version further by leaving the black and white background and varying the centers.

Flying Squares 9

I kinda like this quieter version.  It has a soothing, almost meditative feeling.  And here’s a final version, substituting orange for the white background squares.

Flying Squares 12

Bringing in red, and pale orange centers makes a warm and energetic,version, with a feeling like flames or autumn.

All these versions took me about 5 minutes to do IRL.  And what I’ve show here is just scratching the surface of Color Auditioning using EQ7.

To  make one of these quilts, my next step would be surveying my fabric stash to see what fabrics (prints or solids) I had that approximated each of the colors.  Frequently that will lead me in yet another direction or dimension, and the final quilt won’t look much like the final EQ7 version-  but it was that EQ7 version that allowed me to decide where to start.

Thanks, EQ7!

Ciao,  Karen.