Monday, April 27, 2009

Design Choices for Hearts RR

I belong to a Hearts round robin in Crazy Quilting International, a Yahoo group. This block belongs to Carol, and it was sent to me to "do my thing" on it. I'm the 3rd out of 4 people to work on it, then it goes back to the owner. This seemed like a good project in which to blog about the process I go through as I figure out what to add to a round robin block when it comes to me. We have a lot of newbies in CQI, and maybe seeing how someone deals with design decisions will help erase some of their fears!
To be frank, at first I panicked (I usually do, LOL, until the ideas start flowing). This is the block when it came to me, and as you can see, there's a lot of different things going on. The pastels are on the right and the saturated colors on the left. Although it's a Hearts theme, there are fabric prints with butterflies and roses as well. And the lovely green trim (wish I could get some for me, LOL!!) rather made the butterfly look like it was on a stick, and led the eye off the block. Now, things like these are common when a block is in progress - that is to be expected. If you click on the picture, you can see that Gerry H. did a lovely heart/swirl and pearl seam treatment in the right (as well as emphasizing that heart) and added that to-die-for green trim. Karen did the fabulous seam treatments at the top and dyed that lace to match the butterfly. You can click on the picture to see their meticulous work.

But my primary responsibility as the third person in the rotation is to begin to tie the elements together into a cohesive whole. My other design goals were to make the block more "heartsy", make the eye flow around the block, balance color and visual weight, and finally to add some texture. At first I intended to ignore the roses altogether, but then my friend Gerry K convinced me to play them up. Since I love doing ribbon roses, that was a no-brainer! :-) (which is good, because sometimes I'm known to be brainless.......)

One of the first things I did was to add some hand-dyed vintage lace sweeping along the bottom to break up the green trim, and then built an arrangement of ribbon roses over it. I tucked in leaves and a few hearts, too.

But then I needed a focal point, and so I added (again, thanks to my friend Gerry K for this idea) a big heart in the lower left area at the intersection of the hot pink, white and pastel pink rose print. I did some searching online and found a cute bead-woven heart pattern, and made the center of the heart with 19 sparkley crystals. Here is a closeup.

I also did some seam stitching in a variegated silk pearle thread. Then to this corner, to break up the strength of the white and deep fuchsia colors abutting each other, I replaced the tiny white trim with a blue and white to carry some blue into that corner. Next, I dyed a venice lace motif in pink/blue and green and placed it over the seam.

And so I was beginning to feel better. But I knew I was going to have to meander either a stitched vine or a nice trim, lace, or cording around the block to lead the eye. After searching through my stash (I love to do that, don't you? It gets you reacquainted with your goodies, LOL), I found the perfect aqua trim (and in the perfect length). I began laying it down in the lower right, where the doves in the fabric print had a ribbon in their beaks..... To the ribbon, I added button clusters, hearts, and pearls. It went counterclockwise around the block and ended up tucked into the rose arrangement.
Finally, I added some glitter to the rose print fabric (in the darker areas) and made some more ribbon roses and silk ribbon leaves, alternating with mother-of-pears hearts on the vertical seam above the big heart. The ribbon underneath is vintage rayon with picots, covered with a variegated silk ribbon in the middle. That pearl heart in the center of the "butterfly" lace motif is another of those bead-woven hearts. I think all butterflies should have a heart-shaped body, LOL!!

And this is how the block ended up. It is now definitely a pink and blue block, and a definite HEARTS theme. I was able to add 23 hearts to the block (can you find them all?). And there is still room along the top for sweet Debbie Q to do her magic!

And soon the block will be winging its way to the next stitcher. And I await the arrival of the next block. But first, I have an apron commission to finish, a purse in the works, and I'd like to start on something for the AAQ Contest. Maybe if I give up sleeping..........



Rose Anne B said...

WOW Cathy that is a lovely assortment of embellishments - beautiful!!!

Skye said...

Thank you for such a wonderful description of your contribution of this block..You've work is absolutely incredible and I enjoyed reading your process..Thank you...Great work!! hugs, Skye

Karen South said...

Fabulous job Cathy! I love the way you have tied this block together. I admit I'm not an encruster and most of my blocks have a lot of seam work. This makes for a great base for someone like you to encrust away!

Candy said...

A W E S O M E !!!
Love the step by step guide around and through all the delicate handwork.
Now back to your page to look at more of your work.

grbev said...

Wowsa! This is so interesting and informative. I learned so much. Great explanation.

Such talent and creativity. And to think I have sat right next to you in your work room, you sorting lace and me attempting my first pieced block. What patience you have and willingness to share your talents with all of us.



Cobi said...

Cathy what a great job you've done. The block looked still rather empty after the first 2 additions, but you really got it dressed up. I love it when there's a lot of 3D in the block.

Thelma said...

Absolutely Beautiful!! Thanks for explaining step by step.

Ati. Norway. said...

Thanks Cathy describing your proces! The result is very good :-)

theresa said...

Being myself a newbie to CQ, I enjoyed your step by step guide. You do dazzelling work ! A great talent for your embelishments and bringing the block together.
All quite impressive !

Karrin Hurd said...

Absolutely gorgeous work Cathy, I love what you added!

desert dispatches said...

Hi Cathy! I met you over a month ago at the bookstore you work in, I was buying a TON of magazines, some of them were about sewing and we got to talking, and I remembered you had given me your blog address, so here I am finally checking it out! It is wonderful! I am almost embarassed to tell you my blog address, I haven't updated it and it's nothing like yours! However, i am going to try to take a photo of the quilt that is on my bed, it is a old crazy quilt that I found in the basement of a condemned house that my mom was working on. It's , uh, eclectic! I will get it posted tonight...I like it, but it's nothing fancy! I will keep watching your blog! Love it!

CJ Stitching and Blooms said...

Hello Cathy, Your stitching on this block is truly beautiful. I love your SRI flowers they gorgeous. Your hand dyed laces is wonderful and adds sooo much to this Heart block. I am sure the owner will love all your additions. Hugs Judy

Heather said...

Oh Cathy, this is wonderful, and you have given such wonderful insight into how you arrive at the final result. Fantabulous! Hugs..

TattingChic said...

Lovely stitching! :)

Laurette said...

Hi, Cathy, Your work is beautiful as always,I specially like the ribbon flowers they are striking. I will be starting to embellish mine cq block that Heather help me or I should say gave me all the instruction on cutting all the pieces.She done the sewing for me how to put it together.I know I will never be as great as you.

FredaB said...

Hi Cathy

What a wonderful article you wrote and very informative for beginner to advanced cqer's. I wish I could free up and work on a RR but I am one of those people that absolutely freeze when I look at someones block. Am always afraid I will do something wrong to ruin the block, etc. You probably all have had this feeling at some time or other. It is better on my nervous system if I just stitch along my way and do charity blocks for Kate.

Just wanted you to know that I thought you have done a great job on this.



Jean Tuthill said...

The quilt block is beautiful, and I love what you did to it. It's so pretty. I'm learning a lot about quilting from you. Thanks.