Sunday, September 2, 2007

Quilter I am not.

So, I had this great idea for a softie/stuffed animal for Gabrielle, and have decided on a bear. I didn't want to waste the fabric that I have trying to make my first teddy bear, so I went to the thrift store an picked up a few scarves and a cotton button-down shirt to practice on.

This has been enormously beneficial, as I don't have any guilt when I mess up that I'm ruining or wasting or using up all the fabric I so carefully collected. It's going well, and I'm able to adjust the templates if I don't like them. Here are a shot of the practice piece so far:
I think I'm about ready to start with the "real fabric". Now my problem is choosing which pieces to use. See, I just collected the clothes that "if I closed my eyes and pictured my mother, these are the things she would be wearing". There was no contemplation of design or even a whiff of a thought about color, or fabric, or how they would work together - especially for any type of quilt.

I am so not a quilter. I'm not really even any type of artist in my head. That's what M is for - he's got the eye for color and design, and he did help me before he left. I pulled all the clothes out, and he separated all that I laid out into groups that went together. Now, I have to choose a pile. This shouldn't seem daunting, but to me it is.

I want all the fabrics to go together.

I want it to be worthy of a family heirloom.

I want Gabriella to love it.

I want it to be special and perfect.

I want my brother to realize what it is at first glance, to recognize 'mom' in it.

I also want it to be fit for a little girl.

I'm having trouble picking which lot works for all the things I want.
So I sat down today with my camera, and pulled all the groups out, and spreading them on the floor, took pictures of the combinations. This helped some, because I didn't have to keep moving the fabric around to see how they looked.
I think I'm just afraid of it not being perfect. ....

Any quilters out there? or anyone just good at color and design? Lend me your eye - tell me what you think:

I call these the blue/purple florals:

The blue/purple/green on the left is a scarf, and was made in Hilton Head on vacation - we all made our own shirts, and she of course, made a scarf. The third fabric down, the pastel floral one, I remember her wearing to my brothers' college graduation and Easter. And I'm not all together sure I like the coral shirt in with these.
In my mind, these are really girly-girl fabrics, and although they have a vintage feel/vibe, they might be a little overwhelming together.

These are the green blue series:

I've always love the black, blue and coral dress, I think because of the pattern, and the other two patterned dresses are just 'old-school mom' to me. The green is a simple silk blouse. Once again, there's the HH scarf, (there is another one further down, in blues with a little bit of black)
I like this combo, but I don't know if it's right for this project, but I can't put into words why.

The pinkish series:

This "series" is the one Mike liked the most color/combo wise, but I'm not sure it's girly enough. Then again, I'm not all about super-girly. And I did call it the pink series... It's growing on me.

The top fabric (right) is another one where I think of my mother instantly when I see it. That would be the type of pattern I would look for when buying clothes and gifts for her. Mom's style has it's own "classic" category in my head.

What's weird is - as I look at all these fabrics, and group them all together, and rearrange them and describe them in words, they kind of contradict the image of my mom that I have in my head. If you had asked me before tonight if my mom was a floral person, I would have said Definitely Not. I don't think of her or her style as 'flowery' at all, but I've noticed that in every grouping, there is at least one flower pattern. It's really strange when you are the one to contradict the image you've had in your head all you're life.

These are, in my mind, 'Classic Mom' - black, red and white. I know I pulled out a lot of colorful patterns and dresses, but she did wear a lot of the basic colors too.

I'm thinking these are too similar or .. there's not enough contrast... or something. And yet, I do like them together - I think it's because the fabrics on these dresses are really nice and would make great softies. Plus, they are clothes she wore later in life, so I have stronger memories of her from them.

The last few pictures are left-over bright fabrics that I threw together, but I think they're too bright. Plus the green doesn't go as well as it looks on the computer. It's a bit more.. new grass green, and to me it looks more sea-foam-ish in the picture. The pink is the same fabric in both pictures, and that blue is a really bright blue.

I realize with all the different fabrics I'm going to have to back some of these, but in playing with the scarves from the thrift store, I used some iron on interfacing that worked really well. I've think I've got the technique down well enough... now it's just making a choice.


Flack said...

I'm a fan of the classic series, the black-red-white, but that's my personal taste. It's a little less 'girly', but definitely more 'heirloom' to me, especially with the horses on the one piece. Then again, I am *SO* not a color-coordinator or a quilter, so my opinion shouldn't count too highly here! Flack

LadyLungDoc said...

I like the pink series (and trust me, I'm a total blue/green person and am surprised that it was my favourite)

I think it's for the following reasons - the prints in the pink stack are much "cleaner" than the florals. Plus, the prints have components that bring to mind the other fabrics - the flower looks like it has some pink in it, there's a pink stripe on the black, and there's white in both the floral and the oblong dotted fabric. I also prefer the 2 solids rather than just one - are they different textures, or is that just the flash.

The red/black series has 2 different "white flowers on black" patterns - which limits the variation and contrast. The green blue series patterns don't have any relationship to each other - the black has lines that are too harsh next to the swirls.

Did the scarf have alot of significance? Because maybe you could make the bear a scarf or purse out of a "special" fabric.