Color, Value, and Texture – “Spring Sonata”


I spent a lot of time this weekend making the final blocks for the palm leaf quilt.  They are not all sewn together yet, except for the first few rows in the upper left corner, so many of the blocks are pinned to the design wall at this point and it will take quite a bit more work to get them all sewn together.  Nevertheless, it’s nice to be able to get an overall sense of what the final main portion of the quilt (sans borders) will look like.  I’m pleased with it!



It struck me today as I looked at it that the success of the design is very dependent on my use of color, value, and texture.  I’ve never used the purple, gold, green – and shades thereof – color combination in a quilt before.  In fact, I rarely use the color purple in my quilts as it is not a favorite.  However, I was originally inspired by a lovely leaf fabric comprised of these colors.  A beautiful fabric is not an uncommon source of inspiration for quilters.  I had a wonderful time selecting fabrics in all shades of these colors from my stash and adding a few new ones too!  I had long had the palm leaf design on my list of blocks to try and this seemed like a good time to use it.  In order to make the palm design stand out, it is important to pay attention to “value”, i.e. the contrast of light and dark between the “leaves” and the background.  If you don’t make sure there is good contrast, the design will be lost.  I believe in many cases it adds even more interest to have the degree of value vary between the blocks or vary in different areas of the quilt so that the design becomes more or less prominent in various areas.  I decided to keep it random rather than shade from top to bottom or side to side or from the center out.  I decided I wanted a nice balance of the three main colors so there is almost an equal number of blocks with gold, green, and purple backgrounds and they are arranged from top to bottom in rows. It was a major decision to put the blocks on point.  I also believe the quilt has added interest because of the many different patterns in the fabrics in both the backgrounds and the leaves – that’s the “texture” I”m referring to.   Here are some close-ups of the fabrics:


  I personally don’t think this evolving quilt would look as good if done in solids.  I love the added interest the different tetures provide!  In fact, most of the fabrics have some sort of leaves, stems, or flowers, albeit subtle.  This goes along with my feeling that the colors in this quilt are “spring” colors seen in nature and in my local plants.  Where I live, there is plenty of brown/gold and green in the spring and almost all the color, besides green and brown, around my house is purple – I have a ton of purple vinca minor groundcover along with purple crocuses and purple azaela’s and rhododendrons.  I’ve decided to call this quilt “Spring Sonata” and I like using the musical term to describe my composition.  I look forward to “composing” the borders!

The other quilt activity I worked on was getting my doll quilt hexagon pieces ready for hand sewing.  I showed one picture of this in my last post  I need a portable project for this coming week and this seemed like the logical thing to do.  Al and I are driving to New York City the day after tomorrow and staying for 3 nights – our Christmas gift to each other.  I always like to take a portable project to work on just in case there is some down time or we get caught in traffic, etc.  Here are my stacks of pieces in baggies:


I’m hoping to make 12 hexagons altogether.  I pieced one of them together to get a sense of the size and here is a picture comparing the new smaller size (on the left) with the one I previously used for the coasters (on the right):


I’m so looking forward to NYC!  We are taking our son to see the play “The Piano Lesson” which has gotten rave reviews and I am going to the Metropolitan Opera to see Turandot!  We have dinner reservations at 2 of our favorite places in the city and I’ll probably be going to either the Metropolitan Museum of Art or the Frick Museum with my son.  I’m still checking out some possibilities. The weather is supposed to be pretty good for this time of year.  Should be fun!

Once we return from NYC, I will be returning to work and my quilting activities will need to slow down!  I do hope I can get a border drafted for “Spring Sonata” so that I can be working on it during the winter when I need a break from the Baltimore Album hand quilting.  I’m pretty sure the border will include applique, but am not sure how complicated it will be.  I think it needs to be simple not to overwhelm the center design – that should help me to get it done more quickly!!:)

Thanks so much for stopping by! I’ll be back after NYC!


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