Sunday, June 13, 2021

The Positivity QAL - Choosing Fabrics

Imagine a large buffet like Golden Corral (Paul's favorite).  With over fifty items on the table, does it really matter if two or three items are blah?  You will only taste 4-5 items, may be 10 if you are more adventurous. Ahem!!!

Now imagine a simple meal of tomato soup and grilled cheese. Everything must be fresh and tasty and well-seasoned. There is no room for blah. It could ruin the entire meal.

Such is this simple Plus Block. With only two main fabrics, it is important that they work well together. 

Plus Fabrics (Background Pending)


I remember spending an entire semester in Architecture on Color Theory. I remember assignments using only primary colors and then learning about hues, tones, tints and shades. 

There are plenty of free and paid resources to learn about Colors and how to pick them and how to use them. But at the end of the day, what really matters is this - does it look good? Do you like it?


Yellow Plus, Cream Background Added


Dark Green Plus, Smoke/Dark Background Added


Here is my one golden rule. The 10-foot rule. If it looks good from 10 feet away, it is good.  
So let's step away about 10 feet.


Does it look good?

I have been struggling to write this post, because I do not wish to "tell" you what to do. I just want you to know the consequences of your decisions.

In the case above, the plus shape almost melts into the background. If you prefer a very subtle contrast, then this may appeal to you. If you prefer that the plus shape stand out (a little or a lot) then keep reading.


Contrast is what heightens our conclusions and appreciations. Just like we appreciate a cold drink so much more on a hot day, so also the contrast makes the shapes appear stronger or muted.  If you like a "gentle nudge", use a subtle contrast. If you want "a slap in your face", use a strong contrast. And use the 10-foot rule to see the difference.


Next I switched the backgrounds.


Light Yellow Plus on Dark Background


Dark Green Plus on Cream Background

Closeups can be deceptive. So let's step away 10 feet.


Does this appeal to you?

If you like a very strong contrast then the above fabric combinations may speak to you. 

Here are the two pictures next to each other.

You pick which ever works for you.

Of course very strong contrasts and very subtle contrasts are easy to spot.  
When in doubt, step away 10 feet.  In fact, always confirm by stepping away. Trust me, you perceptions will change when you step away, sometimes dramatically.


I used Island Batik fabrics to make these demo blocks, using Cream (Island Batik Foundation Yolk) and and Gray (Island Batik Foundation BE32-E1).
Subtle Contrast


Very Sharp Contrast

Very Sharp Contrast

Very Sharp Contrast

Sharp Contrast

Medium to Sharp Contrast

Subtle to Medium Contrast

I wonder how they appear all together.

Which one appeals to you?


And now?

Do you see how the corn yellow on cream becomes subtler when we step away 10 feet.  


Let's take a look at the dark blocks now.

Subtle to Medium Contrast

Subtle to Medium Contrast

Very Sharp Contrast

Medium Contrast

Medium Contrast


And all together. 

What stands out to you?



And now?

Do you notice that the top left corner block has a subtler contrast now that we stepped away 10 feet?  
Compare that to the bright green on the right middle row. 

Similar colors can have very different contrasts based on their value (lightness or darkness). Remember the 10-foot rule.

I have struggled to write this post.  It seemed to me that this was basic information that most quiltmakers already know. To those I say - please ignore this post. 

And for those who may benefit from this information, I am glad to be of help. 


Paul: Don't you like to tell folks what to do?
Me: I am just sharing my insights.
Paul: Sounds like teaching.
Me: NO. I am not telling folks what to do. I am merely pointing out that if you want a savory dish, add salt. If you want a sweet dish, use honey or sugar.
Paul: Reads like a recipe
Me: Whether they eat salty or sweet foods, is up to them. 
Paul: Oh ok.
Me: Glad you understand, finally.
Paul: So I read through this Quilt All Together thing.
Me (suppressing a smile): Quilt Along?
Paul: Yes, that. It is free.
Me: Completely.
Paul: Can you control who sees it or who uses it.
Me: Anyone with internet access can see it and use it.
Paul: Anyone can use your design and all this "salt/savory" information all for free.
Me: Correct.
Paul: How can you make sure that folks will make quilts and send to charity?
Me: I am sure some people will :-)
Paul: And why should they?
Me: We are offering prizes to folks who do.
Paul: But still not all who use your instructions will.
Me: That is correct.
Paul: And you still want to do it, even when you know that some will misuse it?
Me: YES, yes, absolutely yes.
Paul: WHY?
Me: Because I firmly believe that a couple of people misusing this information does not negate all those quiltmakers who will use this for a good cause.  Because I believe that the good in the world still outweighs the evil. 
Paul: You do know that we have many such people in this country who believe otherwise?
Me: Yes, there are folks in this country who'd argue against a good program in the fear that it may be misused by a few while ignoring the benefit it will bring to many.
Paul: I don't think it is fear. It is Greed.
Me: Yes, it is. And we both know who they are. I am NOT one of them.
Paul: You go ahead. I'll be cheering you on.
Me: Cool. Cause I need to get back to choosing fabrics :-)


If you have questions, please ask. I will respond in the comments so that all can see. 
















Saturday, June 12, 2021

Island Batik June Challenge - Novella

The Island Batik Challenge for June 2021 reads as follows:

The challenge for you is to use the 8” or 12” finished BOB dies from your Ambassador box, the GO! Qube 8" Mix & Match Block and create a whole new pattern by combining the two!


Here is my response

Novella, 11" by 66"

And here is the Story.

BOB means Block on Board. In other words, the complete block is on a single die. I received Snails Trails Die.

Snails Trail BOB Die

All units in one place

Cut Pieces

First Block

In my opinion, the best complement to Snails Trails is Storm at Sea (SAS). But I did not want to use SAS because that is the IB challenge for November 2021. SAS is not for the faint of heart and having to do it twice in one year...even I was a bit cutter shy.

The 8" GO! QUBE comes with a book with So. Many. Options. Which one would work with the Snails Trail to create that wow factor?

Loads of Options

But none of them really worked with the Snails Trail Block to create a secondary pattern. This was the real challenge - to create a cohesive design.

Me: It is not working.
Paul: Sup babe?
Me: I am not getting the desired effect.
Paul: What is that effect?
Me: You know - chemistry.
Paul: I definitely do not know Chemistry.
Me: OK, you like mashed potatoes with gravy.
Paul: Yes. That I do know.
Me: So I have the main dish and a whole lot of side dishes but I cannot find the right side dish to enhance the main dish. I am sure it is there. I just need to look harder.
Paul: Some main dishes are great on their own. Like fried chicken - nothing else required.
Me: Yes, I agree. But that is part of the assignment. Must find a block to match.
Paul: Forget the assignment for a minute.
Me: And go the fried chicken route?
Paul: It is worth a try.

My mind kept going to cats' tails that swirled into the Snails Trail Block. I made a test cat block. It worked.

I like this

But but but the need to check that second box - "combine with Go QUBE block" continued gnawing at me.

Paul: What if the side dish was a palate cleanser?
Me: Like lemonade? Or watermelon after fried chicken?
Paul: Sure. Sounds like a perfect meal to me.
Me: YOU are the perfect match for me. I LOVE you.

I had been looking for the wrong block. I needed a separator block, not a combination block.

Finally I got it.

Four Patch Variation

Complete Block



Half Block


Quilting in Process


Completed Runner



I prefer the Wall Hanging Mode


The runner/wall-hanging finished at 11" by 66".

I used four fabrics - yellow, turquoise, green and black for the blocks. One complete cat, one tail and one diamond per color. The background is Yolk and the binding is Dark Gray.

Me: I don't have a name for this runner/wall-hanging.
Paul: YOU??? Struggling for a name?
Me: Yes, I am stumped. WAIT. How about Stumpy?
Paul: How did you get that?
Me: Well, since we have four extra tails here, I wonder about the cats who lost their tails. Hence the name Stumpy in honor of those four tailless cats.
Paul: That is mean. How about Novella?
Me: Novella? Please explain.
Paul: Because it is a very short tale.
Me (after I had stopped laughing): That works too. This is a small project.
Paul: Smaller than a quilt, at least.
Me: I miss Jonesie.
Paul: Once we return from our beach vacation, we will get a new cat. I have been looking at the adoption websites.
Me: Thank you.


Time for some close-ups.

Green Cat

Turquoise Cat


Two Halves 

A few firsts for me here. First time using the Accuquilt Go cutter. First time making the Snails Trails Block and first runner, although I prefer it vertical as a wall-hanging. Not only there is less distortion in viewing, it is also harder to spill wine/food on a vertical surface :-D

I used Hobbs Cotton Batting. Thank you Hobbs. I used Schmetz Microtex Needle 70/12 for piecing and Schmetz Needle 90/14 for quilting and binding. Love Schmetz Needles.

I used Aurifil Thread 50wt for piecing and 40wt for quilting. 

Disclosure: The fabrics, thread, batting and needles were generously supplied by the following companies:

But wait, there is more. Once the assignment (WORK) is done, it is time to play (with the SCRAPS)

The fabric carcass left after BOB die was used

Having fun with slivers



Looking good

I played with the slivers to make a zipper pouch or two :-D

The flat pouch finished at 7" by 9". The flat bottomed pouch finished at 6" by 9" by 3".


Two zippered pouches

Turquoise inside :-)

Ready to travel

Take me too!!!


Oh goodness, I love these bright colors. Dark orange zippers and grab tabs to match. Ooh la la!!!


Happiness :-)


The bonus pouches with a touch of improv piecing was super fun.  What is your opinion about improv piecing? I look forward to your thoughts.

Overall, I declare June a success. The challenge for July is Christmas theme. I already have an idea (or two) with a bonus pouch being highly likely :-)

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In other news, I have picked out the layout for my Positivity QAL quilt and I have also cut the fabrics.

For the border blocks

For the Plus Units

Although I have started making the blocks, they are not yet ready for prime time. Next blogpost, I promise.

According to the QAL Schedule, I need to make the first 12 blocks by June 20, 2021. Totally doable.

Have you chosen your layout? Did you cut the fabrics? How are you coming along?

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Angela announced the color for June - it is purple. And suddenly I began seeing purple everywhere. Does that ever happen to you?

Mulberries = Yum

On my morning walk


Here are my fabric picks.

Purple can be tricky. There is the reddish purple (turning pink and fuchsia) and bluish purple (closer to blue than to purple) and the true purple, of course. Here I have attempted to keep these three separated. Can you notice the subtle differences in hue?


True Purples

Reddish Purples

Bluish Purples

Linking with Angela's Linky Party. As usual, I'd love to hear your thoughts.