Tuesday, March 19, 2013


Judy (and I am sure many others) want to know why I am doing this:

when I usually do this:
It's a good question.

I don't make a lot of quilts. Sure, I make them for babies, and cats, and when somebody asks. I make them for beds, and sometimes I make them for gifts.

But mostly I make them for myself.

There are lots of lovely "Low Volume" quilts floating around. They are very soothing and have obviously struck a nerve.  You can see them here, here, here, here, here, here, here and here. They are so popular that all you have to do is type "low volume quilts" in the Google search engine and click on "Images" to see page after page of them.

Judy is right. This is NOT my normal color palette. I live in the land of bright color.  But I got started with the idea of what I call "low contrast" a few years ago, when I made these words for the No Rules for Julie quilt:
I really liked the way the "hidden" funs would disappear in different light.

Now you see them, now you don't.

I really pushed that idea to the maximum when I made three WOW hidden "funs" for the White Rules quilt. They looked great, but disappeared when the quilt was quilted. Lesson learned.

I don't (usually) just make quilts because I want to try this pattern, or that pattern. I make quilts when I have an idea and I want to push it around and see what happens. It just so happens I work with fabric, so the result is a quilt.

Now that the cat is out of the bag, and I can tell you all that I spend the last six months writing a book, I can say that while I didn't do much sewing, I did do a lot of thinking. This low volume kick made me think. If I made a "low contrast" quilt, could I make one with free pieced letters? Would they still be readable, and from a distance, even if the quilt was quilted?

And if I -did- try that, what would the letters SAY? Because I love making my viewers really LOOK, and I like it when I can give them a good swift kick of surprise at the same time. So the quote had to be something opposite to what the colors of the quilt said.

It means that the soft low tones of the quilt said "tranquility," "peace" and "calm", my phrase had to be a bit more, well... loud. It had to kick the low volume thing right in the pants. It had to say, "I am blatantly making fun of you. I am speaking softly, but my message is LOUD."

So when I came across "Use all the crayons in the box," I knew it was perfect.  Because (to beat a dead horse) low volume quilts sure as hell don't.


Quiltdivajulie said...

Great post!

Judy in Michigan said...

Yes, thank you. I understand now...but, what about that book? Now I'm wondering about that...when will you tell us???