I’m enjoying working on my Bordered Diamond quilt. The blocks are easy to put together and I love the fabrics. I use electric quilt to help me design quilts and play with fabrics but for for this quilt, for some reason I was not seeing how to set up the quilt so I could play with fabric choices. I turned to Al Navas, who is an enthusiastic EQ user and has a blog where he talks both about his experience learning to quilt on a long arm machine and his use of EQ7. It turned out the solution was pretty simple — just make a block with a border around the outside and use a Variable Point layout. With that guidance, I have a file I can use to play with color in the blocks. If I were very organized, I could actually use the fabrics I have at home in the layout, but for now I will content myself with using those already available in the program and just using it as a tool to think about how I want the tone and hue to change in the quilt and what kinds of fabric combinations I should make.
After reading some blogs of participants in Kaffe Fassett’s workshops, it seems that most of the quilts alternate between blocks with dark fabrics in the center and light ones in the border, and blocks with light centers and dark borders, throwing in some brights here and there to give the quilt sparkle. They all seem to audition fabric choices on design boards before finally stitching together the blocks. Another approach that Karen K. Stone recommends in her book, Karen K. Stone Quilts, is to identify sets of fabrics (in my case probably dark purples, light purples, dark blues, bright blues, maybe bright purples?) and then to keep track of the combinations you use so you can make sure you are not making a lot of one favorite combination and overlooking other possibilities. Neither of those approaches seems to be working for me on this quilt, so what I have been doing is trying to make sure for each central fabric (most of which I have at least 2 cuts of), I use different borders and different levels of contrast. Hopefully I will end up with a variety of blocks/from high contrast to mid contrast and in different hue combinations.
Periodically I have seen people posting photos of quilts and bemoaning the difficulty of getting the color to approach the true color of the quilt. I had a lot of difficulty with today’s pictures as well, and want to share a little trick that seems to help in many cases (of course, my photography standards are still pretty low!). I take a white piece of paper and put it in the corner of the picture I am taking, upload the photo for editing, and choose the white paper as a neutral in my photo editing software. The software uses the point you choose (in my case the white paper) to adjust the colors in the rest of the photo. I use Pic Monkey, where you choose Colors, then Neutral Picker. After adjusting the photo with a neutral, choosing Auto- Adjust for the photo as a whole, or doing more detailed editing myself gives me a color that is much closer to true. Just remember to put the paper somewhere you can crop it out later. Here’s a before and after photo:
The photo were I used the neutral picker is much more true to life. Here are some close ups of blocks I particularly like, after editing using white paper to adjust colors. I love the framing created by the wavy lines in the 2nd block. I am also pleased to find the blocks are quite large and there should be room for some interesting quilting in the center of each block at least.