Old dog, new tricks. That was my theme this week as I made exchange quilt blocks for the 2013 Quiltmaker Scrap Squad.
You’d think by now I would understand how to make attractive quilt blocks. How to choose fabrics for maximum effect. How to give quilt designs the most impact.
But no. I made this ho-hum quilt block. It didn’t start out to be boring at all. The original block designed and made by Evonne Cook for Quiltmaker’s 100 Blocks Volume 6 was great! It’s called Checkerboard Star.
I ran into problems when I used reds that were not distinct enough from each other. I finished up the block and posted it on the group’s Facebook page.
And it bothered me. A lot. I took it off the design wall and unsewed the checkerboard. I made a whole new checkerboard from 1.5″ squares in a much darker red.
Oh my goodness. So much better! Look at them side by side to really appreciate the difference.
Here’s the lesson: Different parts of a design need to have enough contrast that you can really see them. This holds true for something with many colors and fabrics and for something with just one color, like my Checkerboard Star.
Contrast walks hand in hand with value: the lightness or darkness of a fabric, especially compared to the fabrics around it. Learn more about value by examining the quilt below.
Going back to the red block for a minute, here are some things I did right:
- There is plenty of contrast between the pale pink background and the rest of the fabrics.
- I used several different sizes of prints. This is called “scale.”
- The dark red fabric forming four star points has both very deep red and brighter, more medium reds and pinks. It serves to pull the rest of the fabrics together.
- Red ranges from palest pink to very deep, dark scarlet. I used the gamut.
Your quilts will be more lively, more effective and more interesting when you learn to recognize these qualities and use them to your best advantage.
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Get how-tos and the free block pattern for Checkerboard Star in this four-minute video on Quiltmaker’s Block Network.