machine quilting, quilting, teaching

Choosing Quilt Motifs – Part 4.21

Lucas Moon Over Manhattan 39 x 34Moon Over Manhattan
This quilt has an alternate title “Little Miss Sassy Pants” for she was sassy (sass-eh) indeed!
The original color of “Moon” was

drum roll please

lime green.

This still makes me giggle.
What makes me giggle a wee bit louder: I submitted this to Quilt National. I know that my very dear quilting friends are polite and will giggle with me.
Because I was submitting this to an “art” show and “Little Miss Sassy Pants” was very vocal. Very.Vocal. Oh let me back up for a second. Lime is a great color, bright and vibrant. This peacock-blue Radiance has a bit of a shimmer and is much calmer and much more reminiscent of an evening sky. As I quilt I do tension checks: stop, look at the back checking for troubles then go back to quilting. This peacock Radiance started telling me very quickly that this was going to be the top not the lime green. I’m saying, no! Nope! Not happening.
Next color: check, that “voice” is becoming much clearer. And I’m still saying, no! No! Nope! I can’t hear you (fingers in ears singing lalalalalalalala)
By the 3rd color I gave in. Dammit.
The quilt was right. Bleep! I had to keep working from the lime green side on the star because I’d marked that side. No problem. Along the way because of the impending due date I made some design decisions: The silver metallic and the blue star points were intended to be individual diamonds like the others. And I’d intended on filling all of the diamonds. Time constraints necessitated some changes and who am I to argue with a quilt? I’d only lose anyway.
The only plan I had was that lone star and to keep the color of the moon subtle and allow the star to stand out. As I changed thread color I chose the motif. And once again there was no specific plan other than knowing that each color needed to be able to stand alone, to feel as though it was a different piece of fabric that’s been pieced to the next piece.
Once the star was done it was play time. And play I did changing thread color and motif a little bit more intentionally wanting less color at the top and more color at the bottom. The bottom section is my favorite part of the quilt. I like all of the different motifs, the color changes and the use of metallic to create the comet. I like that the colors are getting much warmer along the bottom.
back of Moon Over ManhattanBecause Moon Over Manhattan was intended as an art piece it once had a false back on it. At MQX in Portland I has some down time and took it off. The photo is here immediately after I’d finished taking it off. I can not tell you how freeing it was to do this. You can still see some of the remnants here. I covered it up not because I was embarrassed but because there as a little bit of puckering. I took it off because I no longer cared. I like this quilt. Right now Moon is on an extended visit to The Village Fabric Shoppe in Red Hook, NY.

One of the reasons the quilt was speaking so loudly to me is that the color and motifs are so much more striking on the Radiance. It was a good decision all the way around. I do like the look of the stitching.

As I’ve mention ad nauseam I don’t do a lot of planning in advance. It’s How I work as a quilter.
I choose motifs based on what I like, how I think it will look and more than likely what I’ve been playing with in one of my sketchbooks. I doodle quilting motifs any time I can. It’s fun and I can get through the fear of what-if-I-mess-this-up without much thought. It’s also less likely that I’ll have to dig out my handy-dandy seam ripper later on. As we all know a seam ripper is a quilters best friend! Bang!Head!Here!

Happy Quilting!


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