One of my favorite things about quilt-alongs is not that you don't just learn how to cut up your fabric and piece it back together again—you can also learn about design. And design, of course, really happens in the planning stages. So that's what we're going to discuss today—how to plan our your quilt and combine fabrics to make the most of this particular design. Really fun stuff for design nerds like me. : )
(I know many of you purchased a Bloom Bloom Pow fabric bundle, which means you have exactly the same fabric as me. If you're planning to mimic my quilt and color placement, this design-planning post probably isn't crucial for you. But if you want to make any changes to my design, such as the colors used, prints used, or color placement within the quilt, this post will give you a framework for doing just that!)
Let's start by looking at this lovely photo of my Bloom Bloom Pow quilt bundle, available from Westwood Acres. (Photo courtesy of Amanda.)
From there I separated the Pearl Bracelet prints into the following groups:
Cosmonaut, Grape Jelly, Persimmon, Watermelon, Swiss Chard, Meyer Lemon, Basil (7 prints).
Verbena, Frosting, Juniper, Lilac, Pond (5 prints).
Citron, Glacier, Ice Skate, Peach, Cotton Candy (5 prints).
Obviously, value is all a matter of degree. I was on the fence about some of these—Meyer Lemon and Basil could easily have been in the "Medium" category, while Verbena and Frosting could possibly have been "Dark." Just because I separated mine this way doesn't mean you have to, so if you're using Pearl Bracelets but would like to make some changes to your value stacks, I say go for it. : ) And you don't need to have the same number of prints in each of your groups that I do (7/5/5), although I don't recommend straying too far from that ratio.
Once you have your fabrics sorted by value, we'll be using those groups to decide which colors go where in the quilt design. The "darks" will always be flower petals/spokes in the Bloom Bloom Pow design, and "lights" will always be the shaded background in the block. "Mediums" can be used in either spot. Some flower petals/spokes will be medium, and some shaded backgrounds will be medium, depending on what they are paired with.
So the next step is to think about fabric pairings. Each hexagon-shaped flower block is made up of six triangles. Each block has one color for the flower petals (Persimmon in the example above), one color for the shaded background (Peach in the example above), and white. The important thing here is that your flower petals are darker than the shaded background. So, dark flower petals can be combined with a medium or light shaded background, while medium flower petals can be combined only with a light shaded background.
My advice is to try out pairings from your selected fabrics/value groups and see what looks good together. Let's take Watermelon, for example.
Watermelon looks great paired with Peach ...
... or with Cotton Candy.
And as you can see, Cotton Candy looks great with a lot of things—Frosting, Lilac, and Watermelon.
But even when choosing from the correct value groupings, not all pairings may work. For example, Watermelon (dark) paired with Frosting (medium). It sounds yummy enough, but I didn't think there was enough contrast in that pairing for it to work. (That's probably because Frosting was one of those borderline colors that could have been either Dark or Medium.)
So that's it for this week! Check out the fabric you're planning to use for this quilt, separate it into value stacks, and decide which color pairings do and do not work. Once you do that you'll be ready to cut your fabric next week! And don't forget, bundles are still available from Westwood Acres if you want to quilt along with us—the Throw-Size bundle is here, and the Baby-Size bundle is here.
Bloom Bloom Pow Quilt-Along Schedule
March 21 - Introduction
March 28 - Design strategy
April 4 - Cutting your fabric
April 11 - Strip-piecing instructions
April 18 - Cutting the triangles and deciding on a layout
April 25 - Piecing the triangles to complete the top
May 2 - Quilting and finishing
If you would like to grab the Quilt-Along button for your blog, please do. And don't forget to post photos of what your quilt-along progress in my Flickr group—and yes, fabric stacks count as progress! : ) See you next week!