Wednesday, July 24, 2013

And, Sometimes : :

Just before I was surprised with Penny-dog and a little after I had finished my Chicopee Quilt, I dove right into a new quilt plan for Denyse Schmidt's Shelburne Falls collection. I had ordered the entire collection in fat quarters, along with some matching Pure Element solids from the Intrepid Thread, with enough yardage from Stash Fabrics for finishing the large picnic size quilt I had in mind. I sketched out a plan and got right to cutting and piecing with confidence!

Shelburne Strips

Well life in general got super busy, as did my etsy shop, so lets fast forward to yesterday when I finally found my way back to this project shall we?! I laid out the strip piecing I had done way back when combining the Maple colorway of Shelburne Falls with the gorgeous AGF Pure Element London Red and I loved it! Honestly, anything next to this beautiful, vibrant red would look good to me!

Shelburne Beginnings

Shelburne Beginnings

So I continued on, moving onto the Lilac colorway I combined with the Verve Violet Pure Element, and the Willow Palette I paired up with the navy Pure Element, Nocturnal

Shelburne blues and purples

As my strip pieces grew, I began to like the looks of what I was doing less and less? Bummer!

Shelburne Falls WIP

Now this morning I'm teetering between pushing forward holding hope that in the end this design works, with tucking this project away for another time?

What do you do when your project plans just don't come together the way you envision -- do you typically push through, take a break, or rework your idea into hopefully something better?

52 comments:

  1. The navy might be a touch too dark to pair with these fabrics? White would have worked great I think, but not a practical choice for a picnic quilt. I still think what you have started will look good, I say keep going!

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  2. My sympathies - nothing more frustrating / disappointing! What I tend to do is put it aside (though not away) and go off and make a quick and easy project I know I will enjoy and that I'm super confident about. Making the little project cheers you up and the answer to the bigger project tends to magically come along - as soon as you stop thinking about it! Get your happy on with a little potholder or similar in your fave fabrics and I bet the answer will come in no time! :-) For what it's worth, it looks to me like that navy solid is pulling down the other fabrics - maybe it is just a bit too heavy?

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    1. Exactly! I'm wondering if dense quilting with a bright white thread will lighten up all that navy a little? The bright red and violet solids are so pretty, I'd hate to bog them down! Because I'm such a fan of Navy I really thought it would work. I really don't want to give up on this, since this is my happy project to work on in between SO much computer work I have to do, but it's not making me very happy this morning!

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    2. Debbie, great idea. Sometimes I get so into a project and I think I have to make a choice right then!

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    3. Yes the dense quilting would quiet the navy. But also think about how the navy works with the red colorway on the other end of the quilt. There is enough navy paired in the red colorway that it marries one side to the other.

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  3. From what I can see in the pics I think it works. When I'm piecing I always think it looks bad. But then i envision it quilted with all the frayed ends and hard lines smoothed out. When I push through I usually end up pleasantly surprised. Keep going girl!

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  4. I think you have the makings of 2 beautiful quilts on your hands! I would take the Lilac Colorway and Nocturnal strips and make that into 1 quilt and then the Maple Colorway and London Red as a second! They look gorgeous but I'd make 2!

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    1. Your suggestion makes me wish I had more of these pretty solids than I do! I already used up all my red. :)

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    2. Agree, that's what I see, too. the red looks great, the purple looks great, but I think this collection is hard to use as a whole. each colorway is. so strong on its own

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    3. Agree, that's what I see, too. the red looks great, the purple looks great, but I think this collection is hard to use as a whole. each colorway is. so strong on its own

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  5. I usually take a break - or ask for help and/or suggestions! I do not have an artistic eye like you and I'm not sure what you envisioned, but I will throw out two suggestions - cut some of the strips to make more shorter rectangles. Add a consistent contrast strip in between your pieced strips - say, in red or neon green?

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    1. I was thinking thin strips of white in between might work? I just don't have any!! :)

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    2. I think white would be nice (if you had some!) Reading your other comments, since you don't have room to hang or put on the floor (half my living room floor is covered at the moment and I REALLY need to vacuum) then my other suggestion is to take a lot of long showers! For some reason, that's when ideas pop into my head!

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  6. I think may be time for a little break. Don't stash it away tho, just leave it lay some where you can see it every now and then. Some times things just jump out at you all of a sudden, so maybe that will happen to you too. Or after a day or sew, start playing around with it again and see what happens. Good luck with it all... :)
    I have a lot of faith in you that it will turn out awesome any way..lol

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    1. Well thank you!! Yes, this is when I -- A. had a design wall to play around on OR B. had enough floor space without the fear of dog and kitty tramples to leave it laying out for awhile! :)

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    2. Maybe take a picture of it laid out and make it your computer wallpaper or something for a while and see if it grows on you? I have a quilt I'm working on right now that wasn't turning out quite as I envisioned, but I pushed on and I love the end result. All your quilts are beautiful, so whatever you decide, it won't be too bad. ;)

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  7. That is a tough one, I would probably take a few steps backwards and replace some of the fabrics. Or go ahead and make that one for a charity quilt, and start again with different colors!
    You can use what you have and make a random jelly roll strip quilt?

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  8. I usually keep going till I am done, then if I still don't like--embellishment will usually solve. But from the pictures I think what you have works.

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  9. I would work on it until you feel you're at a mental stopping point. Then push it aside and look around for ideas. Maybe do a small project in between. That will keep your mind going in a creative direction while thinking it over. (At least I know I would be thinking it over). If after some thought it works out, forge ahead. If not, figure out a way to repurpose your work. Someti ex things don't quite work out. Usually that's where your "growth" occurs.

    Like you, I'm at an impasse on the quilting phase for a project I'm working on. Got the quilt body done, but freezing at the border. So I'm picking up something else while keeping the quilt in the back of my mind.

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    1. When you figure it out, you will know it! Just have faith in your creative process.

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  10. I think there is enough light to make I fab make it your own I have trouble with these things and typically after I get it done hang it on the door where I walk past it everyday I end up loving it I do the same with my quilting samples look at the everyday hope this helps

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  11. Well I must be the lone ranger here but I love it! My suggestion would be some bright hand stitching or embrodiery in the navy solids. Red stitching maybe?

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  12. I would take a bit of a break from it. Do something(s) that have nothing to do with sewing. Or, perhaps, lay a section or two out in different light.

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  13. I really liked where you were going at the beginning. I think go back to when you were happy with it and head in a different direction. I think stay in the red area and not go toward the navy. JMHO.

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  14. 1. I love the staggered strip pattern that you're using! 2. Is it the navy that is too dark in the middle? What if you went with the lighter blue that is in a lot of the fabric colorways, or a white? 3. Gotta go, Nadia's awake upstairs :)

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  15. i would probably take the navy out. i think it's a gorgeous color but very dark for the quilt. Try a different shade of blue or maybe a green. Unsewing stinks but sometimes necessary.

    You could always cut a few pieces of other colors and just lay them ontop of the navy pieces to see if that is what is bothering you. Thisway you know if it is the color that is bothering you or you just don't like what i call the ugly stage - the the part of every single creative project that i absolutely hate everything about the project even though i love it at the end.

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  16. Same thing as when I can't find the mistake in my checkbook. Put it and the frustration away to take out another day with fresh eyes. Sometimes you just see differently when in a better frame of mind and voila! It all makes sense. Happy day everyone!

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  17. Well, I'm far from any expert, and the color thing is my biggest battle with quilts. However, I think it looks great and totally like something you would put together. I say just finish it because I know coming from you, it will be awesome!

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  18. This reminds me of a men's ties quilt that I made one time for my Dad. I thought mine was gonna be ugly but it turned out fine. If this was mine, I would cut the ends of the strips so that the solids are not as long as the prints, and arrange the strips so that the solids become sort of a wonky sashing between the prints. Have some of the solids along the outer edges as well, then make a border the same width as your strips using a very small print of red, navy, and white or some pastel color to pull it all together. This will allow the prints you have used in your strips to be the focal points. You could use any leftover strips on the backing of your quilt. I think it will make a good picnic table cover with all of these dark colors! Good luck!

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  19. No matter what you decide to do....it will be stunning!!!
    I personally would put it away for a bit and go back to it with a new perspective!!
    Go with your gut
    & Good Luck

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  20. I would soldier on because if you put it away it may never call your name again. I would however take a favorite fabric in a color that could spice it up and maybe even change a center block or border to try to love it again.....good luck.

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  21. I think I'm going to start by taking out one side of the staggering navy and replace it with a lighter blue solid. And, if this design still doesn't work I'm going to replace the rest of the navy with something lighter and brighter, as well!

    You ALL are THE BEST!!! Amazing!

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  22. Hate to say it but I don't think it's the fault of your solids, these prints are boring and the colors are just awful.

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  23. I love the red!! And when I'm not happy, I rework. Good luck!

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  24. I am not good about coming back to things if I ever put them away. I go ahead and finish them. I have to come to realize that whoever I donate it to will appreciate it for what it is - an act of love and happiness. I think this is better overall than languishing in a pile that I might not ever finish.

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  25. I think it will be great and you will be happy when you get further along. I also think white would have brightened it up more but I do like the navy. Set it aside for a bit, do a small project and then jump right back to it and I think you will have the enthusiasm to push to the finish.

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  26. Hi M. :)

    It is always challenging when working a project and it doesn't quite work as we envisioned :(

    But putting it aside for a while and let your creative mind simmer on it for a time, you will come up with what you want it to be :)

    I know everyone has an opinion but looking at it from a design perspective, you have such beautiful colourful fabrics but the navy dominates a little too much as it is now but it is also a great contrast, so maybe staggering the navy so it doesn't have such a dominating presence will let the other fabrics stand out and shine in a more balanced way :)

    Have a lovely day, cheers, T. :)

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  27. Hi Maureen. I usually stop and take a break from it. But I try to leave it where I can see it so I can find a way to work it out to where I do like it again and will finish it. If I can see it, eventually a solution will present itself. Good luck.

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  28. I leave it on the design wall to figure out what can be done to it. Plus you get comments from other people that might inspire you.

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  29. I love it. i just bought some Shelbourne Falls fabric and I pinned some of your photos for inspiration!

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  30. Those fabrics look lovely. I usually just stop and tackle it later. Some other idea will pop. If I push through what if I don't like the quilt.

    Taking a break from it is always good :-) as long as we're back on it sometime soon ;).

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  31. I don't like the violet with the red. I'd leave out the red and piece the rest of it. Then cut it into blocks and add a skinny gray sashing between the blocks. I know you like the red, maybe it could be used in the backing.
    paweis at yahoo dot com

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  32. If I start a quilt and find that I'm not happy with it, I set it aside and work on something else for awhile. Sometimes I see something that gives me an idea of what to do. Sometimes, I lay awake at night trying to come up with a solution! Hope you find your inspiration!

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  33. I pick up my camera and take a ride to a wildlife reserve that has a 16 mile drive out on the bay. I put on classical or spa music, look and photograph nature for a couple hours. It always clears my mind, inspires me to creatively more on.

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  34. I'd take a break. There is a special hiding spot under the guest room bed for "I'm just not lovin' it" projects. Out of sight so I don't obsess about them.

    But I think those suggesting 2 separate quilts may be on to something.

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  35. I'm currently going through a similar problem. I am up to the binding stage of my quilt, but it looks very little like I envisioned and just seems incredibly boring to look at at the moment. Normally I would put it aside, but that is what I always do, which means I never get anything finished. I'm trying to stop that habit, so instead I am plowing through. I blogged about my dilemma and have had some very useful feedback about how to liven up my quilt, which has given me a new enthusiasm for finishing it.

    If you would like some feedback on your quilt, I would say the solid navy is the only thing detracting from the beauty of the quilt. Personally, I would probably replace it with other fabric, or, alternatively, I would try to brighten it and break it up with something such as appliqués or by using thick red thread for the quilting (and/or white thread). It might make a great background for some of you beautiful thread drawings.

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    1. I just had another idea... sorry if it's already been mentioned, but have you considered shifting the strips to break up the big block on navy, so that the navy pieces are not directly on top of each other? That would probably make a dramatic difference.

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  36. Love the red but when I'm stuck I take a break. If I push on I usually end up not liking it at all and it's a lot to rip apart. At that stage right now, sandwiched the quilt on the longarm did first row and not sure I'm liking it. Taking a break will look at it later (probably end up ripping stitches)....lol but it makes you a better sewer. (At least that's what I hear).

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  37. Woah, that first sentence got my attention! I'd normally take a break, and if I'm not sure about something I stick an applique on or add a new design element as I go ;)

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  38. When I'm stuck on a project, I leave it on my design wall until inspiration strikes. I know you don't have room for a design wall you could use an inexpensive flannel-backed plastic tablecloth. Lay your project out on the flannel side and just roll it up when you need to put it away. You could even have several of these design 'walls'.

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  39. I actually like the way this is going, but if you don't, then walk away for a bit and have a think about it :o)

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