Thursday, 25 May 2017

A Quilt is not a Pillow

After I made this pillow for my friend I knew I wanted to make a quilt out of the fabrics I selected. The selection was challenging, but I managed to make the pillow look good and somehow the fabrics all worked together.

I was aiming for a strip/ coin quilt because I loved the look of the pillow but as I cut my fabrics and arranged them at the design wall I quickly became aware: A Quilt is not a Pillow!

What worked so well on a small scale just wouldn't look good in bigger pieces. I just didn't like the way it looked.

I wanted to even arrange the fabrics more randomly and in different widths but that didn't work at all. So I stuck with an even width of 12.5" for each strip.

I had the layout up on my design wall for quite some and stared at it. I remembered what I heard in the QuiltCon lectures and so I was identifying what I liked and what I didn't like and why.

I first identified the different types of fabrics I was using.

These are the high volume fabrics. All very saturated in different colours. The prints are sometimes very busy with stark contrasts.

These are mid volume fabrics but they are also very calming. There is hardly any colour difference in the print itself. I used these for some kind of neutrals in between busy prints.

These are the low volume prints (well, maybe apart from the second from the left). These fabrics are light in colour and low in volume despite the prints on them.

I have seen pictures like this in books before but I think for the very first time in my quilt making process I truly understood the use of so many different prints and the visual impact they have on a quilt. I guess you can read colour and volume theories as often as you like; if you haven't experienced it yourself you haven't truly understood it.

I also identified which fabrics didn't work in the mix:

I love those fabrics, but they are just too busy in the mix. The colour difference in the print is very stark and all in all too busy for what I was aiming for. I'm sure I will use these beauties in a different project in the future though!

So, here is a detailed before and after shot:

Before: Busy, too busy for my taste.

After removing the two too busy fabrics: Better! Amazing what a little change can do to an overall appearance!

After the photos I also removed the lovely turquoise/ white stripy fabric under the BlockM logo. Too busy.

I carefully selected fabrics for each row and there was also a lot of editing towards the end where I would take out strips and replace them with others to achieve a visually pleasing design.

The quilt top is finished an I'm very happy how it turned out. This quilt truly was a challenge but I have learned so much! I also had fun, so I came up with the name 'Playground' for the quilt not only because I used some of the beautiful fabrics designed by Amy Sinibaldi for Art Gallery Fabrics called 'Playground'.

I also love that now I look at the same fabrics than my friend when she looks at her pillow!


  1. Isn't it interesting to see how small changes in your fabric selection can make a big difference to your quilt? Good job of analyzing what worked for you to get a harmonious result!

  2. Thank you dear Daniela to let us take part of you experience. Small change but deep impact!

  3. I love seeing the process and understanding the assessment! I once took apart a whole big block quilt did not agree with me, and I never felt so relieved!! I love how this turned out, because the palette is so pleasing!! Great job seeing it through to the finish!

  4. Thanks for the insights into the process. Always nice to read more of the "background" information.