Friday, February 8, 2013

Decisions, decisions...

Boy, oh boy, am I ever up against a design wall.  I am having a hard time deciding how to proceed with setting these 16 finished blocks into a quilt.  I really thought I had a plan, but after seeing all the blocks together, I sort of fell out of love with my old plan A.

Then, every time I walk by the design wall, I move blocks, and try to remember to take a picture.  Still no spark of inspiration.

Next, I printed out tiny versions of the blocks, and played with the layout that way.

Now I am looking at plan B...and plan C, plan D, plan E, etc.

I have been studying all my idea books where I saved pictures of Baltimore style quilts...LOTS of sticky notes of things I liked at the time I saved them.

I have been scouring all my quilt books that contain antique Baltimore album quilts....A LOT MORE sticky notes, and books scattered all over the quilt cave.

I've been doodling around on my computer, too.  I am a very visual person...I really need to see it.  A lot of the antique Baltimore style quilts I've been studying seem really busy.  While I was making the blocks, I was thinking I would put tiny sawtooth sashing around every block.

But now I think that is too busy.  Sue Garmon can really pull that off...she has a great eye for how to balance all the elements, but I seem a little lost.  I doodled around with other possibilities...not sure any of them really grab me.

Even a thin, basic strip sashing seems blaring to me when done in green, red, or brown, but maybe if it is done in a very light brown so that it doesn't jump out at me, maybe I will like it.  I've studied some more recent Baltimore style quilts that incorporated this idea.

Then I found examples that had sashing made from the background, which looks like no sashing, but does space the blocks out a bit more so that they are not "doing battle with each other."  That started looking very elegant to me.  Then I stumbled on this roman knot inner border idea.

This would have no applique border...just lots of (hopefully) stunning hand quilting (and mitered outer borders)...hmmm...

Then I wondered about a very subtle, thin, light brown sashing AND this roman knot idea...hmmm, may be getting busy again.

Then I thought about a wider sashing, but still with the thin subtle brown strips and a cornerstone, accompanied by a more traditional scallop outer border...or a vine...

With this idea, I would get thin strips of background on each side of the light brown, which would make the blocks not crowd so much against each other.  But, it is also busy...what to do, what to do...

Then I thought about spacing the blocks out with sashing made from background fabric, then add an inner border around all the blocks of some kind...plain strip or sawtooth, followed by a more traditional appliqued outer border (I don't have the inner border doodled in below, but it is there, in my brain...).

I was sad to have to reject the blocks that had the G and F clef signs and the lyre in them.  I could introduce those ideas in an appliqued outer border, either with a vine or scallop motif.  What do you think of the heart motif?
It is actually an F clef, with its mirror image, as a very crude doodle.  These clefs are asymmetrical and difficult to use unless you get creative...

So there I am...basically thinking of either plan A...

Or some version of plan B...

That is where I  Who knows where I will be tomorrow...(maybe plan C).


We got a little bit of ice and some snow in southeast lower Michigan last night, so my daughter is enjoying a snow day from high school and an unplanned 3-day weekend (if fact, I think she is still in bed, tut-tut).  Good luck to everyone who will be getting a bigger dose of snow, wind, and misery today, tonight, and tomorrow.

In stitches,
Teresa  :o)


  1. Whatever your plan will be, that design wall is gorgeous! Your blocks are just so beautiful and all together they are a real stunner!

  2. Hey Teresa, Your blocks are fantastic and so dynamic! Like the way the conductors arms are raised, it makes it even more interesting to look at, and quite beautiful! I like your process, no stone un-turned. Keep experimenting you will arrive at something that you will really like it may just take awhile. cheers, Claire W.

  3. What about moving the conductor to the bottom left corner and then arranging the instrument blocks as though they are setup in the orchestra? I'm sure regardless of what layout you use, it while be a winner!

  4. Oh I feel your indecision, I hate when I fall out of love with my plan A. I really like the individual blocks sashed, and your quilting is so pretty you need to have quilting space. I hated to read a couple posts back that you had three blocks you could not use, have you considered going to a 25 block set? I see that conductor as a great center block in a 5 X 5 set, but then you will need to design 2 more blocks and it will enlarge your overall quilt. Give it time and the perfect setting will come to you, the quilt always speaks to you and will tell you what it need.
    Happy Stitching Teresa

  5. The first thing that jumped out at me when you introduced the conductor was to have him in the bottom left postion, facing all of the other instruments. As for finishing, you have some great ideas. I love Plan A. You could quilt the treble and bass clefs in the cornerstones of the outer border. I know you will come up with the plan that feels just right to you, and that is what is most important. It's a wonderful quilt you are making!

  6. I like B - It seems to continue the "music" of the gorgeous blocks outward, where A feels silent out there, like the orchestra is sequestered in a dampened practice room. And the reflected bass clef to get a heart - ingenious. :D

  7. I'm more for arranging the blocks in a visual balance rather than trying to make it look like an orchestra... the top picture on this post is really pleasing. Nothing says "move me" - and I do agree you need a bit of sashing and borders, same colors as your background fabrics and busy only with quilting. Let the blocks glow without any distraction in the borders. They are stunning!

  8. However you arrange your blocks I'm sure will be stunning and I like Plan B for your border. I like the softness of the scallops instead of the more rigid straight lines. I can't imagine all this work. You go girl.

  9. We have a snow day here too today.
    I just hate it when plan a and b don't come together.
    I have a problem project too :( I should do a post about it.

  10. Courage Teresa, sleep a night over it, and you will sure have a solution coming up.
    Best regards

  11. You have some really good ideas. Plan B is my favorite so far. It just seems to flow like the rest of your appliques. Whatever you come up with, I know it will be beautiful.

  12. Your blocks are so fabulous, they will look beautiful no matter what you do! You definitely have lots of options!

  13. You're making progress!! Maybe Plan A with the 1 inch stashing between the blocks using background fabric and that gorgeous roman knot like you show. Whatever, it'll be wonderful.

  14. no matter what you do, it'll look great, I do think for sashing- in white? or whatever you background color is.... love yours blocks

  15. Is there any reason you can't make this into a rectangular quilt and include the 2 set aside blocks? Are all Baltimore album quilts square? I think sashing of the background fabric would be nice as it wouldn't disturb the feeling of the blocks like another color sashing will. Right now they are all working together, and light brown sashing will separate and isolate each block. I like the heart motif.

  16. I love all of your ideas, but of course, have a favorite or two. I especially love the tiny sawtooth sashing idea AND the narrow brown sashing as well. I agree with the others who want the conductor in the lower left corner. It seems his rightful place to me. I'm sure whatever you decide will bedazzle me and everyone else too. Keep studying on it and it will come to you. The best quilts just happen!

  17. Oh this is so there some way Mr. Conductor could be in the middle maybe in a larger block with all the instruments around him? Just a thought....maybe with each clef on either side of him? I am not good at thinking up a setting, I have to see it on the wall, too. I know you will come up with the perfect setting--I do agree about the sashing; I feel the blocks play nicely next to each other..(chuckle--sigh). Julierose

  18. Lovely - when you have the right design - it will speak to you ;-)
    You've done a fabulous job so far - looking forward to seeing what you decide.

  19. Those blocks will look fabulous any way you decide to set them, I really like the Roman knot inner border. Good luck!!

  20. I love the conductor block. If you put him in the lower left corner then the whole orchestra could see him.
    Good luck with your decision about sashing and borders. You've got a lot of good ideas, which to choose from? Just a amusing thought.... you could do an actual piano key border~

  21. You have been doing a lot of thinking and studying. I tend to like the Baltimore album quilts that are spaced out with sashing strips that match the background of the block. Makes them look like floating blocks. Would the red triangle sashings work if you used background sashings around each block? That way there is more separation between the triangles and the blocks themselves.

  22. Visually I think you should try the harp, piano, obo?, and violin? in the four corners since they are rather square in style.

    I leaning toward plan B. But it still needs a narrow inner border of some type as a separator.

    Looking gorgeous!!!

  23. Oh Teresa, decisions decisions. Would the f cleff work back to back to look less like a heart and more like a motif?

  24. I like to see the blocks separated somehow by either a floating strip or ...I like the photo of the quilt with the red squares on point as sashing. But, the red is too distracting so maybe a darker tan square on point. I love to see all the Civil War Bride quilts, but the ones I love are those where there is some separation between the blocks. I like your version B. The blocks are gorgeous. I see why you are agonizing, but whatever you do will be beautiful!

  25. Great to see how you plan your layout - the grid is so useful to do this. Can I ask how you did these on the computer?? Am doing a lot of baltimore blocks myself and need to plan how to put them together too!


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