Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Agony Aunt - Lynne

Dear FQ readers,

this is Lynne from http://lilysquilts.blogspot.com/ and I need your help with a quilt that has gone wrong.

I had decided to make one quilt for each of my kids and the other quilts had gone according to plan. I had made this quilt for one of the twins:



This quilt for the other twin:



And this quilt for one of the boys:



But when I came to make quilt no. 4, it all went downhill.

We decided he wanted something a bit like this fabulous Natalia Bonner /Whitnee North quilt (http://piecenquilt.blogspot.com/):



But didn't want the cream fabrics or the green fabrics or anything with flowers or dots and also wanted some plain black. And now we've ended up with this:



Which we both think is just kind of blah or even worse than blah. I don't mind ripping it up and starting again, adding some more colour, adding in different strips, cutting it up somehow and re-piecing. I just need ideas of where to go next.

He's 12 and into football (Manchester United so red could feature) and guitars and he did like the big initial on the original so that's a possibility. He's keen not to have anything on it that might vaguely be interpreted as being girly (hence no flowers and no dots...!). HELP!!!

29 comments:

  1. What about a really thin red line between each of the thicker stripes? Really really thin, like 1/4" or so? And then the initial in red also? Or in grey on a red circle...

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  2. I love Leigh's idea, a splashing of a really bright red solid would look great.

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  3. how about cutting across the lines to make blocks. Then put the blocks in sashing (black or charcoal?) alternating the direction of the blocks, if you know what I mean without drawing it... One block stripes horizontal, next vertical etc. Then put a big applique on of his choice, either an initial, or a guitar or man U emblem etc... You could work some red in where you like. Black and red quitar with some accents in the lightest colour strip (with the busy bubbles) would look fab I think.

    Good luck whatever you decide, I am sure there will be lots of great tips to come!

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  4. i probably would have varied the width of the stripes but i still think it looks great! I'd finish it off with a wide silver border or add silver in with the grey, even if it's just embroidery thread, it will give it a lift.

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  5. If you are looking to avoid massive un-sewing and re-piecing, how about cutting once horizontally through one of the patterned fabric rows and inserting a solid red row twice the width of those patterned strips. Applique his initial on that red row, off to one side in charcoal with a slightly larger black letter behind it (sort of a bordered letter). Then bind it all in solid red. I wouldn't choose the middle horizontal strip to cut open, probably something in the lower third of the quilt.

    I think Ruby is right, you're probably disappointed with the outcome when compared to your inspiration due to the regularity of your strip widths. A big, bold, red row would take all the love and distract from the regularity, tho!

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  6. I'd cut it diagonally from corner to corner, add a red strip, say 4 inches wide between the 2 pieces, I'd slightly offset the pieces so the horizontal lines don't quite 'line up' to add movement.

    Whatever you decide I hope it works out well

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  7. I think it's the solid black stripes that make it not work. If the patterned stripes just ran into each other and weren't divided by stripes, I think it would work better. How about using some patterned material with both grey and black in it and, if you can find it, a bit of red. I too think adding some red would help spark it up.

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  8. To add to my above post, how about varying the widths of the stripes more?

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  9. How about cutting the top into a few chunky columns lenghtwise and add sashing between them?

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  10. To prevent taking everything apart why not consider adding thin red applique strips across the quilt - you could 'audition' them over it first to get the feel - but I'd take some thin stips and take them at an angle across the quilt say 5 but vary the gap between the strips then maybe quilt, say the solid black strips between these strips in red thread, and bind the quilt in red - take a photo of the quilt and play with it in the paint programme - check out Leah's (365 days of freemotion quilting) blog post last year to see how she works out quilting designs using the paint programme

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  11. Dolores sent us an email:-

    Oh...no agony.....all your quilties are great!

    How about cutting it in equal quarters, put red sashing in between for an X pattern and turn two opposite quarters so the rows go vertically?:)

    Or cut it up into equal squares....say 15 1/2" or whatever works with the size of your strips and then sash that with the red.

    Or even just adding several different width rows of red interspersed here and there with what you have.
    All of these are Easy Peasy!;)
    Good luck, looking forward to seeing what you decide to do.
    Dolores (deeroodesigns.blogspot.com)

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  12. I'd go with orange, adding a simple strip or two to the existing design; maybe slice the center grey strip and divide with orange?. I like orange better than red 'cause it always "pops" - reds vary so much that it can be hard to find just the right one, where a nice clear orange always seems to satify.

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  13. If you prefer a quick and easy solution without ripping- why don´t you just handquilt (or stitch) the black stripes with a thick thread like dmc for example? Do big stitches so it gets a "cool" and "rough" look. Take the colours from Manchester United: yellow and red. If you like and you have time & patience you can appliqué circles/big dots with letters = MANCHESTER UNITED.
    And of course, like some others suggested: you can do a red or/and yellow binding.
    Good luck and greetings from Germany!

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  14. Dolores, I love all your ideas, slashing into blocks is genius. How could I not have thought of that?!

    Herzmannchen - I also love the hand quilting idea with the DMC in the ManU colours. I'm also impressed you knew the ManU colours - greeting back to Germany!

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  15. When I designed the quilt I was wanting simple and fast. If you are still looking to keep it that way I would just vary the strips a little bit more, switch it so they aren't bold black every other row. Then use red for the monogram it will really pop that way and it's still manly! :)

    Good luck Lynne and thanks for linking.

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  16. As a visual, each of the prints are the same width and then each of the solid black is the same width. At least this is what it looks like on the pic. Perhaps if you changed the width of the strips a little bit more, it would break up the repetition of it. If you look at your original pic, it looks like the width are different and also mixing up the placement, so it was not just a repeat of the same colors. Shuffle them.

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  17. Natalia and Kathy, I think you're both saying the same thing which is that it needs mixing up a bit and I think you're right - the way I've done it is just too uniform. Thank you!

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  18. I like the idea of the horizontal stripe down the length of the quilt. You could use any color he chooses. I think that would be easy to make it more interesting and it would look great! So tell him to pick a color he would like and get to cuttin' :)

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  19. What about cutting the quilt into 3 vertical pieces, and adding a bright colored stripe in between. Like lime green or bright red, I think that would give it a little pop of color. I like vertical and horizontal stripes together.

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  20. I *think* I would make the strips various lengths, (split them randomly in places), and add some solids (like from a kona roll up). I might wonkify the bars a bit too.

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  21. All those suggestions sound great. I especially like the idea of adding some bright red and/or yellow thick hand quilting lines in there. I also agree that making the rows a bit more uneven would be good. Maybe even adding a row or two in the same bright red and/or yellow that you use in the quilting. I am excited to see how it turns out!

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  22. I had a quilt like this which I was helping to fix up for charity- it was for an eight year old boy. We did some simple hand-quilted lines in a thick red thread- we used DMC Perle8, but any top-stitching thread would work. Then i bound it in a binding made of different fire-engine reds. It looked terrific, just enough red to lift it but still look grown-up enough, and I'm happy to say the little boy was delighted!

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  23. You could also slash it vertically, tutn the pieces and rejoin to make a choppy check?

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  24. How about adding some embroidery across some of the stripes? Make it in some striking color. Also, I think quilting it will add a whole new layer of interest to the quilt. Your quilter (if you send things out to be quilted like I do) might be able to help you jazz it up a bit in the quilting...you could use contrasting quilting thread in some of the stripes... a thought that would help avoid cutting and resewing.

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  25. I'd cut out a Manchester united crest in red fabric and machine appliqué it right onto the quilt- it'll give it a little bit of a grunge look with the machine appliqué(very boyish) and give it a pop of color- I'm a HUGE Manchester fan- cheers!!!

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  26. Thank you for all the fantastic suggestions I've had so far - keep em coming, I'm reading them all and will come back with a picture of the final quilt if FQ will have me!

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  27. I would definitely work some red into maybe every two row a think strip of red, should make the quilt pop and should be an easy fix.

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  28. I agree with some of the above comments that what would add to it (imho) is to vary the width of the stripes to shake it up a bit. Especially since the colours are quite dark and monotone - the stripes would look better more irregular instead of all uniform. Maybe also a simple applique of his initials, or something he's into hobbywise or sport wise.
    Can't wait to see what you do with it!!

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