Saturday, January 13, 2018

Look What's On My Wall, Y'All! I Cannot Follow the Directions, After All

Check out my design wall this lovely morning.  I cut out all of my triangles!  Except now I'm about to cut out MORE triangles and start swapping out fabrics that I don't love from the original design.

Ready To Sew...  Maybe
This Tabby Mountain project was going to be my first ever quilt where I follow all of the directions, use all the same fabrics as the quilt designer, and make mine look just like the sample, because I was totally smitten by this adorable quilt featuring Tula Pink's Tabby Road prints and I had already purchased the FQ precuts of this collection without any clear idea of what I was going to make with it.  

Tabby Road Collection FQs
Sew from the stash, right?  Well, first I swapped out the Free Spirit Designer Solid fabrics for close matches in the Moda Bella Solids line because I didn't have enough yardage of the original solid colors and my LQS only carries Bella Solids...  and I snuck in two tone-on-tone solids, the red row and the navy row at the bottom.  My red is also deliberately a bit less orangey than the Free Spirit Autumn fabric specified by the pattern.

See How My Red and Navy "Solids" Have Subtle Plus Signs On Them?
I'm happy with those two not-quite-solids, especially since those rows are nicely spaced out on the quilt rather than right next to each other.  Next change: If you follow the pattern directions and just cut each fat quarter into a 10" strip and then subcut into four 30 degree triangles, with a directional print you are going to get two triangles with the print facing one direction and two triangles with the print facing the opposite direction.  And if you lay out your triangles exactly as shown in the diagram, exactly as they were laid out at the sample quilt that went to Quilt Market, you are going to have upside down kitty cats and upside down cans of cat food on your quilt.  So my next change was to swap some of my triangles around so that all of my directional prints were right side up.

As my design wall was filling up with these bright, happy triangles, I was getting so excited -- this top should sew up fast, and won't it be fun to quilt on the longarm machine?!  And yet, misgivings began to creep in.

"I Always Feel Like Somebody's Watching Me"
I really am not a fan of the small scale eyeball print Cat Eyes, at least not for giant 10" triangle patches.  
Tula Pink - Tabby Road - Cat Eyes - Strawberry Cooler
Maybe chopped up into smaller HSTs or something, but it's a really busy print that makes my head hurt if I look at it for too long.  Also, with a thousand little eyeballs peering down at me from my design wall, it reminds me of "Big Brother is Watching You" from George Orwell's dystopian novel, 1984.  Now, those of you who own kitty cats -- isn't it terrifying to imagine that your precious pets are actually there to spy on you, reporting back to some evil totalitarian government who will someday come to arrest you, torture you, and brainwash you into submission?  

I hear Rockwell and Michael Jackson singing "Somebody's Watching Me" in my head and it's giving me the creeps!

Clearly there are too many eyeballs on this quilt, and some of them have to go.  The Tabby Mountain pattern uses all but two of the 25 prints in the Tabby Road collection, and for some reason the designer chose to use all four colorways of the creepy eyeball print and only three of the four colorways of the Disco Kitty print, which is my favorite. 

Disco Kitties! Love!!!
The first four eyeball triangles that came off my design wall were the Aqua (Strawberry Cooler) colorway, and they were replaced by the missing Aqua colorway of the Disco Kitty print shown above on the right.  But there are still too many eyeballs watching me!

So instead of starting to sew my rows together, I've been digging through my stash and auditioning possible fabrics that I could swap out for the remaining Cat Eyes.  When all of the fabrics in a quilt are from the same fabric collection and you want to just replace a few of them, it's a lot trickier than coordinating fabrics for a scrappy quilt where all of the fabrics are very different.  For this quilt, I need my replacement prints to be the right colors in the right shades, but I also think that the prints need to have the same level of detail and the same "feel" as the prints in the Tabby Road collection, and I need to balance the visual weight of the new print with the mix of prints already on the wall.  You know, scale, value, big floral type versus geometric, stripe, or dot...  The other consideration, now that I'm no longer following directions and I'm back in charge of artistic direction, is that I don't have any little girls in my life right now and I don't want this quilt to look too juvenile.  We want to have fun with our bold, brightly colored kitties, but not Romper Room fun, if you know what I mean.

Tabby Road Fur Ball Fabric in Strawberry Tangerine
And that brings us to this particular print, the jagged-edge giant dot fabric named Fur Ball.  I don't know, what do you guys think?  The ketchup-and-mustard Strawberry Tangerine is my least favorite colorway, but when I step back and view the whole thing from a distance I see that the rows of red and cheddar yellow solids won't make as much sense if I eliminate this print.  It's cute for sure, but is it Cat Lady Cute or Toddler Cute?

Kaffe Fassett Collective, Roman Glass and Paperweight Prints
I've got some Kaffe Fassett prints under consideration, perhaps swapping out eyeball prints for various colorways of Kaffe's Roman Glass and Paperweight prints shown above, but I don't know...  I need for this to percolate in the back of my brain for a bit.

I've got a dress rehearsal this afternoon for Monday's VOX Martin Luther King, Jr. concert, singing at three church services at Christ Providence tomorrow morning so I probably won't be back in my studio again until Sunday afternoon.  I'll see how I feel about it then.

Well, it's now nearly 1 PM, my dress rehearsal starts in an hour, and as my husband pointed out to me, I'm not dressed yet.  Which means this blog post has finally reached


PS: I'm linking up a day late with all my favorite Friday linky parties:


Karen - Quilts...etc. said...

love those Kaffe prints you show and I usually don't care for his and I find them to bright and too big of prints for me. Your quilt is looking great

The Joyful Quilter said...

You are getting close to a quilt top. Happy finishing!!!

Warm Quilts said...

Loved reading that you are back in charge of the artistic direction! Those Kaffe prints have my vote - they will look great in your beautiful quilt.

Tami Von Zalez said...

So funny - too many eyeballs on this quilt!
I am segueing from nearly all thrifted fabric to some precut prematched retail material and sometimes a theme can be overdone.

Janice Holton said...

Ha! Ha! Your post reminds me of another song by the Temptations. Just My Imagination. :D The thing that caught your eye originally was the colors, was it not? Did the eyes bother you when you first saw this quilt? No, because you were viewing it as a whole and not as individual pieces. Just ignore the eyes, knowing that their colors are going to make the whole thing work. Once you get it together, it's the entire presentation that you're going to love! You could always turn the fabric sideways and then the shapes are more like Christmas decorations instead of eyes and you would still have the colors. Just a thought! :)

colleen said...

Ha ha you have gotten yourself down a rabbit whole this fabric ok but now this fabric has to change and so on

I suggest you sew 7-8 pineapple blocks and think about it

When you start sewing it how about doing a pineapple seam at the beginning and end of each triangle seam?

Yes I want to see the completion of all the pineapple blocks plus a few extra so when you do the lay out you can throw out a be used as pillows or shams or other decor

Tammy Hutchinson said...

I love it! I get the thing about the eyes-and like the cats best also. But I'd keep the big red dots. This will be a cool quilt!

quiltcontemplation blogspot said...

with my first ipad i used a big piece of velcro to attach it to the wall behind my sewing machine. it worked!