Sunday, June 3, 2018

Mini-Quilt Challenge: Connecting With Hard-to-Love Colors

A personal question: How do you feel about this color scheme?
It was the palette for Curated Quilts magazine's recent "Connections"  mini-quilt challenge.  My first reaction was "ugh!"  They're calling that color in the upper right, in the picture above, "mustard." And the middle bottom is named "moss green." But it struck me how similar they are to the colors of my late unlamented 1960s childhood kitchen, avocado green and harvest gold, which themselves are euphemisms for "overripe avocados" and, I am sorry to say, "upchuck tan."

Still, I liked the "connections" theme. Plus, the whole point of challenges is to force you to do something new, and often, uncomfortable. So I made this 10" square piece:
Everything that isn't white is an applique. The star on the upper left hangs out beyond the edge (thanks to a yellow felt backing):
How did I get to stars? The first things "connections" suggested to me was people holding hands. That made me think of linked paper dolls. Then I thought about linked 5-pointed stars, with touching points. So I grabbed some scrap paper (the informational paper that comes with batting), and did a back-and-forth fold,
 ...and folded that strip back-and-forth into squares...
 Drew a rough star....
 Cut it out, leaving tips intact...
 Unfolded it and out came this....
I was intrigued by the shapes between the stars, so I repeated the exercise, but this time in my graphics program - drawing a star, and flipping it to make rows, then flipping the rows to make columns,  just as I'd done by folding paper, but more accurate. It printed out like this:
There were four distinct shapes: the stars (in yellow, below); the "lozenges" in brown; the teal diamonds; and then, what I thought of as "joined pentagons" - the shapes in light lavender, which look like two pentagons joined at their bases.
This struck me as interesting! Plus I could fancy it up a bit more if I fit smaller 5-sided stars into the pentagons (in pink), and four-sided stars (in turquoise) to break up the big lozenges!
I assigned every element a color from the challenge's official choices. Then I printed out the pattern page, which without color looked like this:
I traced the shapes onto paper-backed fusible web, then pressed the pieces to the backs of solid-color fabrics. Cut out the shapes, and fused them, at an angle, on a 10" x 10" white background square.  I appliqued each shape with the neatest zig-zag I could muster (as opposed to mustard.) All the white areas are background fabric, except inside the mustard lozenge below. (Just thinking about mustard lozenges makes my throat hurt.)
I added a single lighter green star as an afterthought - 
It represents the birth of fresh, new baby avocados to take the place of aging avocados elsewhere on the quilt, and in the unrenovated mid-century kitchens of America.

Check out how a lot of talented quilters turned this color scheme from somber to fascinating, at the bottom of this page. There are some really great quilts! And I'm growing fonder of the palette! (Except mustard.)


  1. Cathy, you never cease to amaze! Someday I want to grow up to be that creative :) This is such a cool way to deal with those ugghh colors!

    1. Ugghh is an excellent description, thanks Karen.

  2. I love your quilt! it reminds me of a chorus line of dancers, maybe Rockettes! Your stitching is really nice, also.Love the concept.

    1. Rockettes!!! That's a high compliment, thank you, Jeri! Yes, that's about as neat as my stitching ever gets!

  3. Rmember the story of how Betsy Ross cut out a five-pointed star to persuade George Washhington to use stars in the flag? Here are directions for cutting a five-pointed star with just one cut.

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  5. What a cool mini quilt. Thanks for sharing the process!

  6. omg that's amazing. I hate that palette and thought no way til I saw how you used the colors in proportion. Great work Cathy!


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