Monday, August 28, 2017

From The Beginning

As I have been writing these posts, I have come to realize that it might be helpful to bring you through ALL the steps I go through when I select fabrics for my birds. So here I will bring you step by step how I selected, discarded and eventually decided what fabrics to use for a bird.

Here's the inspiration photo of J & P. I was attracted to the teal shirt J is wearing and the contrast with the rusty red shirt my brother is wearing. Originally I thought the beak fabric would be the tan of the ground.

I first picked the teal on the left, but it was kinda bland, so I picked the one with the slightly larger print. I don't have a lot of muddy colors, but this brick red seemed the best match.

Yeah, I like this brown for the beak, but there was something else sitting nearby I wanted to try.

As soon as I set it down, I knew the gold would NOT work the way I wanted it to as a beak.

OK, so I know what COLORS I want, now I have to make sure I have the right FABRICS to tell the color story.  Time to go back to the stash and see what's hiding in there.

This is left over from the backing of the Treasure Trove quilt. There are a lot of bird wing possibilities here.

Then I saw this Philip Jacobs fabric from my I-just-bought-this-washed-it-but-haven't-ironed-it pile. Oh yeah, this turquoise flower has bird wing written all over it. (And you thought I bought it for something else?)

Time to review the brick red...

Oooh... this red ruler fabric would be VERY cool, especially since it looks like tape measures and my brother is a carpenter, but that's not quite the color I want, so back to the stash I go.

WELL! The dark areas of this fabric is exactly what I am looking for. I already know the color would work with my turquoise, but I'll have to arrange the fabric precisely to get the look I want. (It's called "fussy cutting").

OH YEAH! This looks perfect. ... But then I noticed that bright green in the middle of the turquoise flower, and I thought, Ooooh!  What would that look like?  Only one way to find out.

YES YES YES YES YES!

Now, almost any of these combinations would have made a good bird, but I don't want to make OK birds. I want to make AWESOME birds, so I even though what I first choose is OK, I keep pushing to find something better. That's the real lesson here. Don't settle. Keep pushing those ideas around.

The first idea you come up with is invariably not particularly original. Keep trying new things. Try different fabrics with different patterns and different scales. Move the color around too. If you are using a turquoise (which is a light blue green) try fabrics closer to blue or green. My brother's shirt is much closer to the color of fabric I eventually selected, but either of the brick red (dark red orange) would have been equally successful.

Also, a bird with either of my final beak choices would have been worked. I particularly like my birds with beaks that have a nice contrast and add a little ZING, but a bird with the tan beak would also be very beautiful. (You could also have used that purple from the flowered fabric.) The answers are usually sitting right in the fabrics you have in front of you. You'll never know until you try.


A great IDEA is only an IDEA until you make it happen. Execution is just as important, and is often quite another kettle of fish! Here, I've placed the beak wrong, so when I add something to the right side of the block, I'll end up with a snub-nosed bird. Argh.  and the size of the wing triangle cut off the green part of that turquoise flower, so the green beak doesn't connect to anything. It doesn't need to, really.  And I am having doubts about the combination of wing and breast fabrics.  When I get thoughts like this, it's time to take a break. I'll stop and have lunch. Then I have an errand to do. When I get back, I'll reassess.

 I've decided I like the fabrics and colors even though the bird is a bit dark. I unsewed the beak panel from the rest of the bird, and then took the beak apart from it's a background and then put it all back together, making sure I'd end up with a pointy beak and enough room for a seam allowance.

I'm happy with it.

2 comments:

Quiltdivajulie said...

I think you captured the feel of the photo very well. Happy that you went with the bright green beak!

QuiltSwissy said...

THANK YOU! Loved the progression and the thought process. And that bird turned out very OK.

glen: trying to stay dry here in Louisiana!