Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Progress Resumed: Grey to Color

I am plugging away on my version of the quilt made from the American Jane Pattern Flying Colors. Mine will be smaller, 60"x 75" than the pattern, 72"x90".  I find this size more usable when relaxing on the couch, long enough to cover the body but manageable enough to fold. Inspiration came from a class I took in January 2016 where I posted about the pattern, the class and my fabric choices. Where the pattern uses a solid cream and solid taupe the neutrals of for its groupings of pinwheels, I chose instead a white on white print paired with a variety of grey tone subtle prints. The colors I picked, bright red, royal blue and an apple green, were selected to coordinated with decor fabrics in my living room.

I worked a bit on the quilt in February 2016 and then it sat fallow almost an entire year until January 2017. That is sometimes the way it goes with projects. Links to past background posts are

With renewed energy, I finished my pinwheel hexagons in grey - 8 full light ones, 8 full dark ones, 2 light and 2 dark partial ones for the top and bottom edges. Without the distraction of color decisions, working the greys enabled me to master my Y-seam technique. Cropping and manipulating the pattern photo, here is the chart of rows I made to keep me straight on where and how many of those grey options I needed.

At first I tried to make the partial dark ⅔ pinwheel on the bottom edge out of an assortment of grey prints left over but I just did not like the scrappy look. I would need to add another grey fabric to have enough of those squatty triangles for ⅔ of a pinwheel hexagon.

I dug into my stash and found I had a grey dotted swirls print in two grey colorways - one a beige grey show in the next photo and one in a darker charcoal grey.

Ah, much better. I prefer the uniformity of keeping the edge hexagon in all the same print. When I lined the partial hexagons up along the edge though, I was reluctant to put two similar prints so close to each other, even if the colorway was different. Plus I liked these swirls and so wanted them to be in a full hexagon.

I decided to try taking my least favorite print, a brownish-grey, teeny-tiny, gingham-like check, and making that a ⅔ pinwheel along the edge instead. It is also darker and makes a crisper appearance on the perimeter. I turned two equilateral triangles under along the seams in order to preview. I will need to pick out those two seams once I am convinced this is the way I want to go.

All in all, the neutral portion of this quilt took 112 grey equilateral triangles and the piecing for neutral is 100% completed now. The colored portion will take slightly fewer – 98 tri-colored equilateral triangles. So I forged ahead.

Now on to the distraction of color. I have progressed to starting the color equilateral triangles that make up hexagon "stars". I kept them as six individual equilateral triangles and not seamed in groups of three as half hexagons. I will leave that until later once I decide my favorite configuration and which should be inner hexagon stars and which should be outer "filler" points. For now I am looking at these combinations as if there were all "inner stars".

In this red/blue/squiggle combination I think I like best the one on the left, with the blue on the perimeter.

In this color blue/green/stripe combination, I liked the stripe on the perimeter radiating outward. The center looks most like a star to me this way, having the contrast greatest in the center.  The middle one looks more like a pinwheel than a star to me but if I blur my view I can switch back and forth between star and pinwheel. The one on the far right lacks central contrast and the center seems somewhat dull.

Since I liked the squiggles and the stripe prints, I tried combining them with each other, adding a less graphic red. Here are the resulting three configurations for a hexagon made from those six equilateral triangles. Actually these three results each make me a bit dizzy. They may be good candidates for spacing out and using at the outer extended star points.

I do not have a preference among these three variations. Each fabric has equal weight color intensity wise, so nothing in particular jumps out at me.

This is my design wall at this stage with the neutral grey pinwheels and the colored stars interspersed. There are lots of blank spaces where filler triangles still need to be added and enlarge those colored stars. Now I am entering the phase of quilt construction when I really doubt my choices.

I am beginning to mutter to myself "Whatever was I thinking? Those greys were looking pretty snazzy until I mucked 'em up with a muddle of too many bright colors and too aggressively graphic prints." Then I would switch self-talk strategy and say,  "Keep going, Diane. You can still snatch victory from the jaws of defeat!"

I have completed 48 colored equilateral triangles and have 50 colored equilateral triangles to go. Now is my chance to adjust the number of graphic prints I toss in (or toss out) and balance the red/green/blue distribution. Each of those seven complete "inner stars" can easily flip to become "outer points" that fill those empty triangular spaces on the design wall. If not, I see a few pillows and doll blankets and placemats in my future for repurposing unused triangles.

Now it is time to take a break and see what others are up to at Let's Bee Social #163.


  1. Wow! I love your blocks, and very brave Y-seams! I do like how the greys make the brighter colours pop, look forward to seeing this progress, keep going!

    1. Thanks for the words of encouragement. My fear of Y-seams has vanished after doing so many of them.

  2. Wunderschöne Blöcke, gefällt mir sehr sehr gut!
    Liebe Grüße

    1. Thank you. I will keep working away on it.

  3. Your work and style is so beautiful! I am so glad you found my blog and told me about your Storm at Sea. It is so beautiful! I just love your blog and have added you to my blogroll.

    I love your white on white blocks with grey and bold colors! I love texture in my quilts and solids just don't do it for me.

    1. I have been feeling I am behind the times because of my trepidation of using all solids. But you have given me a valid reason to continue with my tone on tone choices and blender fabrics. Texture. I like that concept very much. Texture. I will remember that. Thank for visiting and commenting.

  4. I really love your blocks, the variety of grey prints is amazing! If you're not quite sure where you're going, you could still play with the layout - probably try a bolder asymmetrical positioning of the color blocks?

    1. Thanks for your suggestion. I am definitely going to be doing a lot of rearranging before committing. The quilt is based on the American Jane Pattern "Flying Circles" but I will feel free to deviate. The greys came from a stack of fat quarters in my stash from Moda's line Putting on the Ritz. I used only the darker tones of grey. And yes, I finally did break up that neatly tied stack of fabrics. I need to do that more often! Thanks for stopping by and taking the time and making the effort to comment.