Friday, February 10, 2012

WIP: Layer Cake Quilt Backing

I am slowly but surely making progress on backing for the Layer Cake quilt. It is wonderful to get back into the sewing room without any other worries nagging in the back of my mind. Sometimes, I just cannot relax unless other chores, goals and whatnot are done around the house first. But, after the office purge was completed, I gave myself a week off to do whatever I please. This does not mean that I am neglecting the household chores though. I still cook dinner, do the laundry, etc., and etc. I am just not letting the other things get to me.

Anyway, I ironed and trimmed up the blocks for the lone strip going down the backing on Tuesday and Wednesday. But, before sewing the blocks up, I decided to do an exercise. I wanted to check on the color values. The way I did this was to take a picture:
Note: The shadow on the bottom portion of the quilt is cast by my sewing cabinet and cutting table.

I then cropped the picture to focus only on the strip of blocks:
It looks pretty good, does it not? I then converted the picture to a black and white format:
This helps you see the tonal (color) value of each fabric. I did see two problem areas. One near the top and one near the bottom. Let us look at the top problem area first -- the seventh and eighth strip:
These two strips are from two different blocks not yet sewn together. They look really close in tonal value. If it was in a quilt block itself, I would probably change out one or the other because I would want the block to 'pop'. Remember, this was just an exercise for me to learn more about concept(s). I did not bother changing it up because this was just a strip of fabrics I wanted to use up for the backing.

Take a look at the cropped color picture above. Do you see how that area looks "blah"? I believe this is due to the fact they are very close in tonal value in spite of the fabric having different colors (brown and blue). The only thing that seems to save this area is the slight difference in the scale of prints.

Now, on to the second problem area, which is near the bottom:
Yikes! Again, these two strips are from two different blocks not yet sewn together. I found it interesting the two are essentially the same tonal value in spite of one being brown and the other blue. I think it did not help that they essentially had the same scale in prints. If this was for a quilt block, I definitely would take one or the other out and replace it with a different fabric.

This exercise was valuable for future design of quilts. I think I will do this in the future for all the fabrics I choose for blocks and/or quilts before cutting into them. After all, I would want my quilt(s) to 'pop' instead of just being "blah". Also, I learned that I should not rely upon my instincts alone and use the tools that are available to us quilters. Yes, a camera is a tool.