Friday, April 22, 2016

Paisley Owl Rearranging

I completed making all my blocks for the nesting owls quilt for my highly awaited granddaughter. I made 48 blocks in total for a crib size quilt. Two fat quarters yields 8 blocks so I had tentatively picked six pairs of fabrics per my post for March 31, 2016 titled simply Pink and Green. I knew I was going to omit some of those blocks to make space for incorporating the paisley owl fabric. My post for April 14, 2016 titled Paisley Owl Nesting was devoted to sizing those full owl inserts.

Along with the big owl blocks, I was going to insert some smaller snippets of the owl fabric. I decided to make the blocks first, place them on the quilt top, and then choose which ones to unstitch and inset an owl head. Squares within squares blocks would lend themselves to an off set central owl.

The nine-patch blocks lent themselves to a central row substitution.

Swapping out one of the checked rows looked better to me so I did that even though that makes the nine-patch "wrong". It avoids drawing the eye in an up-down direction. I like that the owls are nestled in there and somewhat camouflaged. I also used some of the owl paisley fabric in the nine patch and squares in squares blocks.

All this talk of nine patch and squares in squares blocks and I have yet to give credit to my inspiration pattern! The design I am using as my basis and springboard is the pattern Square Root of Nine by Quilter's Dream.

I love this women's patterns. I have these that I am itching to try: Box of StarsA-MazedThe-Space-BetweenGood-Grief. The hourglass like Hokey-Pokey might be too much work with angles but if I ever work on scraps I plan to give it a try. Most of the patterns are shown in sombre neutral like colors but they make up great in more vivid tones. I made a friend's quilt from the pattern Dash-in-the-Box in a combination of jewel-toned batik fat quarters pirated from a kit with a totally different French braid pattern. It was real fun to play with using triplets of fat quarters. See my post for July 13, 2013 titled Color Play of the Day CompletedThe designer is an interesting lady. I have spoken with her at the quilt fairs. She used to be a chemical engineer and so loves the math and the angles. Her cutting instructions are awesome and little to no fabric is wasted. Very few seams need to line up so the patterns look complicated but are beginner forgiving.

So here are my 48 blocks all grouped together, awaited some creative, artistic, awesome arrangement. Here officially ended the honeymoon stage of this quilt. I spent two days arranging and re-arranging those 48 blocks with proposed owl accent inserts on my design wall, from one ghastly, choppy, configuration to another.

Then my daughter said something very wise to me. "You know, Mom, random and balance are not the same thing." Her statement made me aware that I first needed to balance the weights of the colors and then I could randomize. I realized that much as I loved that whimsical pale pink with aqua dots fabric (central bottom), it was really throwing everything off. It made me think of the wizards' duel scene in the Disney movie the Sword in the Stone where Merlin gives Madame Mim a virus and she breaks out in spots. Once I had that visual it was far easier to let that fabric go.

I omitted the distracting owls, just for the moment, and arranged the blocks with darker tones in the outer columns. The result was calmer but the eye still traveled around.

Some blocks would need to be set aside to make room for the owls. I kept the darker tones at the outer edges. The larger, darker toned, centrally-located owls would balance this. The aqua and pale olive blocks were blaring, so they would selectively leave to make room for the owls. Besides the request had been for a predominantly pink and green quilt and that aqua was squawking. I also downsized to 5x7 blocks instead of 6x8 blocks reducing the pieced top size to roughly 35"x49" from 42"x56". It is still an adequate size for a child and I am considering adding a border to set it off. I thought I had a right fabric to frame it but, after auditioning it, I am not so sure now...

 While I ponder my next conundrum I am linking up to Let's Bee Social #121.


  1. I still love your feature fabric, and I think you're finding great ways to set it off and showcase it. This is always the most nervewracking/indecisive part for me!