Sunday, January 1, 2012

Going into analysis

It's time to over-analyze a quilt design!

I'm sure you're dying to -- not.

Well, here's the situation:  I printed the final clue for Bonnie Hunter's Quiltville mystery quilt last night before I went to bed and I am conflicted (oh, when does this NOT happen, ha, ha!).  Since it was already 1 a.m. and I wasn't going to start sewing at that time of night but was curious how my quilt would look, I laid out a 3 x 3 arrangement on the floor and took a picture:
 And my initial reaction was - that doesn't work.

It's the little green string squares, which are perfectly adorable by themselves but sit there in the quilt like they fell from the sky.  Was it the color?  I tried darker green, dark or light blue, brown, orange, red, whatever.  Nope.  The closest thing that worked was shirting squares in the same fabrics as in the blocks:

I liked that;  two color quilts are traditional and this was an honest example.  I missed the motion of the string blocks, but figured that I could piece shirting string blocks if I really wanted them.  But the larger question was, what was wrong in the original design?

I opened up EQ this morning and mocked up the blocks, and then started playing.  And it immediately jumped out at me.  I didn't like the green string blocks in place because they didn't relate to a single thing in the rest of the quilt.  Green wasn't used anywhere else, not in the Ohio Star blocks, not in the borders.  I had kept waiting through the mystery instructions for the third color to appear again and was puzzled when it didn't.  Now I know my subconscious quilt designer was saying that you have to repeat a color or an element in the quilt to tie it into the design.  The green just sits there, as if to say "Where am I?" 

If the green had been used for the centers of the predominantly gold Ohio Stars, with red in the center of the predominantly shirting Stars, it gives the green string blocks a reason to BE, a tie between the elements of the quilt.  Here's an EQ mock-up:
See?  The eye pops back and forth between the green strings and the green star centers and ties the whole thing together.  I even added green binding to bring the color out to the edge of the quilt.  This isn't just a problem because I used green.  When I saw her quilt on the blog, the blue squares seemed to stick out at me but I hadn't analyzed why.  Now I know.  

There are a couple of solutions.  One, I can unpick all those gold star blocks and add green centers - ugh!  Or I can take the green out and make a two color quilt, which is quite cute:
I could even bring the red out into the inner border, but it might be better with shirtings.  

Oh, what to do?

Addendum:  I decided to change the centers in the gold stars to green squares.  I'm doing it now.  Boy, that's a lot of seam  picking!

(Note to Bonnie fans:  OK, you can hate me if you want.  It's my opinion.  You can love your quilt, but right now I'm not quite loving mine. I adore the string flying geese and the star blocks, it's just those small string blocks that are giving me fits.)

33 comments:

Libby said...

I think your 3x3 with the shirtings looks wonderful! But, I think your little green strings are so sweet..I love them both!

paula, the quilter said...

It is said that green can be a neutral. But. IMHO, take out the greens, 'cause like you, I don't think they play well together with anything else. Love the second color design.

heather said...

I'm worried about that on mine too but I haven't looked at it yet.

I reworked Carolina Christmas when I did that mystery quilt to make it more to my liking. These quilts are way too much work to end up with something you don't love. I don't know if I'd have picked out the stars though. It will look great but I'm way too lazy!

Beth in TN said...

I'm so glad I read your blog post, because I haven't sewn my Ohio star blocks together yet, and I see exactly what you are saying about the green! I, too, kept waiting for it to reappear in the overall design and I think your solution of putting it in the centers of half the stars is a good one! I'm going to lay mine out and see if I get the same effect you did in EQ. Thanks for a thorough analysis.

Cathy said...

I like the idea of making 1/2 of the Ohio stars have the green centers. My strings are red and green and since I'm just now working on my Ohio Stars, I think that I'll just do that very same thing now as I go :)

Thanks!

Anonymous said...

Another thought........if you made the box around the center square in the Ohio Star block green, you could leave the rest alone and end up with a touch of green in those blocks and tie it all together. I like the shirting option instead of the string blocks choice as well.

Connie said...

I like the green strings and also like the different mockups you did. It is your quilt and I think you should do what makes YOU happy! Can't wait to see it pieced together!

Nann said...

I like both the green string version and the shirting square version. I do see your point about needing some green in the Ohio Stars, though -- if it were up to me, I'd make more blocks instead of ripping the first batch. I'd have fun creating something out of those abandoned blocks.

I Quilt for Fun said...

I admire your ability to figure out what is working for you and what isn't. Completely agree with the amount of work involved and the need to smile every time you look at it in the years to come...and if little green bits sitting all alone would keep you from doing that - time spent picking and redoing (which would NOT have been my option -- I'm too impatient and lazy) is time well spent! This is the beauty -- and challenge -- of mystery quilts. Good luck. Looking forward to seeing the finished product. Jan

Sue Daurio said...

I like the one without the green (and I'm a really big fan of green). But you made a very good point about the green in the center of the Ohio Stars, that would have pulled it together. You can always use those adorable little green strings some else, maybe put them on the back. It's your quilt, do what your hear feels is right and you'll love it.

Kim said...

It is your quilt and you can do what pleases you, that is the joy of quilting. I think I would have added a green inner border and used the green binding like you suggested. Only because I hate unsewing.

I look forward to seeing your finished Orca Bay. However you finish it, I hope you love it and enjoyed the mystery as much as I did.
Happy Sewing and have a blessed 2012

Vivian said...

I guess I am the opposite of everyone else. When I saw your photo I thought, "Oh, that one is my favorite yet." I like the green string blocks. Having said that, my Orange Crush quilt is totally different from Bonnie's and I love it and get many compliments. So, all in all, we must make them to our liking.

Kate said...

i like yours in the two colors... just beautiful.

miss jamee said...

I lose that battle with the unsewing and doing it another way, too. Dont you love EQ? Cant wait to see it done!

Quilterin said...

Similar thing happened to me with the Roll Roll Cotton Ball Quilt (where I threw out half the blocks and am still not certain if I should rework them in a different color combination or make a twin size quilt from the leftover blocks! I am in awe of people who change colorschemes and can figure out what works and what does not.

Joni said...

Love your analysis and your ideas. I'm sure that you'll come up with something you'll be happy with and it'll be gorgeous!

TheaM said...

altho I love your green strings, I can see your point about the rework - and this is exactly why I decided to wait until I had all the clues before I started cutting this one!

Quiltin' LibraryLady said...

I like your 3 x 3 quilt WITH the green strings. I clicked on your linky on Bonnie's post because it really caught my eye.

Julia said...

I see what you mean about the green strings. I'm so glad for you analytical eye and willingness to share with us. Since I only had the Ohio Stars finished with the light background, I decided to add blue to the Ohio Stars with the black background. Then I plan to frame the Black background Ohio Stars instead of the White background ones with the red strings triangles. I worked it out on EQ7 and I hope it will work with my fabrics.

Tina ~ Seaside Stitches said...

I'm way behind on this mystery, so I was interested to read your post. Where you have green, I will have orange (all my colors are different than Bonnie's). I had thought of using orange in the center of the stars, but I like your idea of swapping out only half of the centers. Since I'm so far behind, I can play with the parts before I sew anything together.

Megan said...

I agree with your analysis and admire your skill in identifying the problem and developing options. I've never been interested in making a mystery quilt - life is too short, and I have too little time to spend on my quiltmaking for me to be work on something without knowing in advance whether I will like it.
I went back and looked at Bonnie's quilt. The 'problem' doesn't seem as marked in her version to my way of thinking, and I wondered if that is because we're so used to seeing red, blue and white together?
Looking forward to seeing your finished quilt.

Megan
Sydney, Australia

Reena said...

Thanks for the analysis- I agree Bonnie's version does not work for me either. But I would not unpick- just make more blocks! I hope you quit doing it after a couple! I like the scrappy thing but I don't typically do quilts exactly like the original. I love my blue blocks but they will go into the parts dept drawer for a future project! Excellent work and thanks again.

Lisa said...

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder and you have to do what your heart and head says to do to make the quilt "yours." I think the green squares in the first photo add depth to the quilt.

annieB said...

I too clicked on your photo because it was soo good and I'm a blue girl. Love your abilty to analize but prob wouldn't have unpicked.

Quilter Kathy said...

I like all the versions!

Helen in the UK said...

I love your analysis and both solutions you drew up in EQ. I stopped before assembling the Ohio stars because I had a guess on where we were going and though I might want some of the stars with a different centre colour. Thanks for sharing your insights, it's made my own instincts easier to understand :)

The Nifty Stitcher said...

I like the green in your quilt , I think it gives it a nice warmth but it is YOUR quilt so you must do what pleases you :)

The Calico Cat said...

I agree with your assessment of your quilt. It might have worked if you used darker greens, but with the light greens, they are asking to be somewhere else - as a tie in.

No need to justify your self for doing something different from the pattern - it's your quilt!

Andee said...

I do like your shirting one better..I am not this far but will be checking it out before I sew those starts together just in case I need to do as you have done.

Anonymous said...

Thank you so much because I had the same problem. My blue string square just did not go with the rest plus my neutral looked better in the black/red string geese. My husband and I agreed we're going to have to play with it. We love all the units, just not together. Rea

LizA. said...

Have you tried swapping the light and dark blocks so that the red flying geese are surrounding the light blocks instead of the dark blocks? It might be just enough to change how those green strings look....

Anonymous said...

Hey, I had just written the other day. I played with mine and saw what was the problem for me. The wing triangle unit has that neutral half square triangle. I know it makes a pattern along the blue accent (of bonnie's quilt) but because my black and neutral were very busy, it made me very dizzy and the blue string block just looked out of place.
I redid the wing triangle unit with blacks with very light print designs as a whole triangle unit. Meaning no wing or half square triangle, it changed the designs slightly but I love it. Can't wait to finish it now. Rea

Anonymous said...

I thought the green made your quilt sparkle and glimmer. Each of us sees the same thing so differently. It's your quilt == YOU have to love it!