8 lessons learnt from “Ode to Orange”

I’ve been reflecting on what I have learnt from making the blocks for my “Ode to Orange” improv blocks and then piecing them into a quilt.

  1. Sometimes something just doesn’t “feel” right and I don’t know why – if I look at my resources on colour theory it often doesn’t seem related to that.  It seems more of an instinctive response. The question is how do I learn from that response – what is it really telling me? Can I trust this response?
  2. Houses with yellow blockI love the orange, pinks and purples in this block. I thought adding an accent of the yellow which is around the house doors in the main fabric would work, but the strip is too wide and it dominates the block. Unfortunately, I only realized this after I finished it. Given where the piece is in the block it was too difficult to fix without having an impact on the rest of the block.
  3. If it doesn’t work well as a block it is unlikely to work in the overall quilt. Discard it before I regret it later every time I look at the quilt.  5 blocks were culled. I will keep them as a future reference. This block had all the usual colours, orange, red and yellow with purple accents, but the value combination just didn’t work.  I now realize that the other colours have lower saturation and the reds and and oranges overpower the others pieces in the block. I also think the combination of the solids and a small print didn’t work. The peachy salmon insert also detracts from the overall colourway.
  4. Yellow is an intense colour! Less is more.
  5. Yellow and red blockIt takes a lot of time to make small improv blocks – there is a lot of thinking, designing, cutting, stitching, pressing, often with small pieces of material.  All of this takes much longer that cutting out and piecing to a pattern. This block has 19 pieces not counting the border.
  6. Photos of works in progress are useful. They have provided the chance to look at work from a different perspective, particularly as the overall design takes shape.
  7. What you have in your mind doesn’t always work in practice – too big, too small, doesn’t play well with others!
  8. Relax – if you don’t feel like doing it, don’t. Blocks made because I felt like I should be doing them were not as pleasing as block made when I was “in the flow”.

I also discovered that my new feline friends just love being part of the whole quilting process.  My last cat companion Rufus, who passed away in February, was already 14 when I started quilting and didn’t show any interest. However “the boys” were only 6 and 8 months old when I adopted them in April and they wanted to be involved in everything, including the actual quilting.

Boys quilting

Lovely, but a bit frustrating at times!


2 thoughts on “8 lessons learnt from “Ode to Orange”

  1. I learn lessons with every quilt I make. That’s on purpose. If it’s so “easy” I don’t get something new from it, then it was too easy. Then the lesson is, don’t do that again!

    Good analysis on your part. I’ll look forward to seeing your next project in process.

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