I took an all day workshop about working with, and choosing eclectic fabrics with Weeks Ringle. No one wanted to sew. (Not kidding). We had the opportunity, but in the afternoon, everyone just wanted to continue auditioning fabrics with Weeks. Why? The class agreed we could all sew at home, but not spend all this time on fabric play and experimentation. I can't speak for everyone, but I certainly learned I need to pay more attention to that part of the quilt process on a regular basis.
Weeks is an enthusiastic teacher who really wanted us finish the day with a solid understanding about why a group of fabric choices work together, or not.
We discussed hues, values, saturation, the scale of prints and other factors that go into selecting fabrics that will make a quilt fun, yet elegant. To begin the process we decided on a constraint, not a focus fabric. (A constraint could be working with fabrics that have a similar sized print in them). Then we built a large stack of fabrics that we thought would work together with it, and edited out the fabrics that didn't work.
See the center of this photo above with the solids; Cream, Khaki, Teal, Brown and Black. They look drab at first glance. If you were to look at them on a bolt in a store, they probably wouldn't be the ones you'd gravitate too. However, when used as the background to all the beautiful colors and patterns you see in the finished quilt in this photo, it works perfectly.
We looked at more quilts made by Weeks and Bill Kerr, her husband, and talked about how each one told a story. And of course, how the background fabric, pulls it all together and in this example,makes the braids the stars of the show.
A braided quilt has been on my "to make" list for years. This one is nothing short of spectacular. It is about to come out in issue 10 of their magazine, Modern Quilts Illustrated.
These squares in the photo above, may seem busy, but the white space leaves places for the eye to rest. Notice how the squares are in the same value range?
This quilt (above) works so well because the end of each triangle's edge lies next to another fabric that creates contrast. The inner triangles create contrast too employing this same technique. I am suddenly noticing in quilts and art this concept, which is something completely new to me.
With the above grouping (which in this case is on the carpet), the fabrics play well together, except the white one at the end. The prints don't overshadow each other and the colors are mainly analogous,orange and yellow, and complimentary, blue orange.
Below is a good example. The constraint was to use all blue fabrics. The orange and yellow would have worked nicely as the sashing, but....
this fabric choice looked even better. (Sorry about the blurriness in the back of the photo).
In the end, this was the better choice.
This workshop taught me so much. I am still playing around with swatches and now see fabric options in a different way.
Thanks to Weeks Ringle for a fabulous day.
Happy Quilting!! Generally I e-mail my responses and answers directly to those who leave a comment in the comment box. If it's a question about what I learned at this workshop, I will also leave a reply so all readers will benefit.