April 05, 2011

A Monochromatic Quilt: Inspiration

This is a three part series going through the development of my latest quilt from start to finish. I made the quilt for submission into Project Modern Challenge 2. Now that the entries are all in I'm ready to share the quilt. I want to blog about it while I still feel like it's The Most Awesome Thing I've Ever Made, which means before all the Significantly More Awesome And Completely Humbling entries are revealed on April 15th.

For the first couple of weeks after the challenge was announced, I felt complete distress at the idea of a monochromatic quilt and figured I just wouldn't enter a quilt in this round. I grasped pretty early on that this was sort of about color but very much about value. I just couldn't think of anything I thought would be better as a monochromatic quilt than a multicolored quilt. I toyed with a few ideas, none of which interested me. Until one day I saw this at the local taco cart:

I was intrigued with the sparkly look and thought it could make a neat cross quilt. I liked the idea of crosses sprinkling downward. I sketched out something but it didn't have oopmh.

I thought it might be more interesting if the stars were falling in columns. "Like in The Matrix" I thought to myself. And I stopped. And it dawned on me. The Matrix. The image of code streaming downward in sparkling columns was vivid in my mind. And I forgot all about the crosses, and about the contest even. I knew in an instant how I would approach it. I picked words to describe what I wanted: depth, sparkle, motion.

I decided on blue as my color after seeing this picture during my research, and picked a range of Kona solids that would read as a single gradient. It wasn't seamless. But as luck would have it, I found in my stash some gradient blue fabric that filled in the gaps well enough.

For the background I chose Indigo, which was so dark it might as well have been black. Maybe a lighter blue would have been more in the spirit of the contest but I had that vision and I wasn't about to water it down.

The piece of gradient print I had was 9 inches wide so I cut all the other fabric into 9 inch strips as well, from 3/4" to 2.5" wide. I laid the indigo in the middle of a shoe box and the other colors in progressive order over the edges and just pieced them together rapid fire into columns that went from light to dark.

Sometimes I used two of each color before moving on to the next color. It was all very intuitive and non-rulesy. There were small columns and very long columns. I only took one picture of that step, and the only thing it shows you is that I hate pressing. 

Eventually I got bored decided I'd pieced enough and stopped, (with plenty of strips remaining in that shoe box). I pressed them and sliced them and tossed them up on my design wall. Next: Design.


lindaroo said...

Aghh! Cliffhanger!

Rebecca Merry said...

LOVE reading about the process! Thanks for letting us peek in!

Michelle said...

I can feel how much energy you had for this project through your words! Thanks for posting pictures that inspired you. I love process posts!

NorahS said...

How exciting! I can't wait for the next installment!

A Left-Handed Quilter said...

Oooooh, the suspense!

Kmac said...

Listen, taqueria los gorditos is hands down my favorite taco cart in Portland. I used to work within walking distance, and I cried when my office moved.

Also, I really, really loved the quilt when you brought it to the meeting!

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