Tuesday, February 1, 2011

In a Quandary

I have 2 problem quilts and need some advice. The first is called Fantasy Garden and is entered into our local quilt show that will be held next month. I was happy with it and almost finished when I realized that it's so out of balance. The dark at the top is too small, I think. Short of cutting it up and redoing the background, do you have any ideas that will save this quilt?

The second quilt is the "Tulips." I began the thread sketching, but it's just not right. I can't put my finger on it, but I think it needs something else. The yellow is too bright and too defined, I think. Any ideas?

Thanks so much for your help!


  1. The yellow in the tulips could be toned down with a darker shade of gold or red-orange-gold variegated thread.

    Fantasy Garden might benefit from some leaves in the background or some tall flowers (gladiolus stems or other). Maybe stems with a hint of gladiolus at the top? They could also be in the far background.

  2. I agree with Anita about the tulips....I really dont think that they need much, but maybe just a hint of a darker color.

    Could you add some more thread work to the black in a lighter color to reduce some of the starkness?

    OR....if you do what Anita suggested, what about using colors that are really muted and/or darkened so that they disappear in the background.

    Good luck!!!

  3. the flowers on a black background might look better with a light green on the bottom side. Try puttin it against some light-yellowish green--and try some different profiles--you can cut out some profiles from manila folders or a piece of paper or even freezer paper. I think there is too much irregularity of the edges and that is what draws attention away from the flowers.
    the tulips would stand out more with use of darker thread at the base of the petals and the interior. try using a very light yello on the tips of the petals.

  4. Mary Ann, even though the tiny flowers were in your tulip background photograph, they seem to draw too much attention in the fiber art piece. I would make the background much more subtle, even leafy greens, to highlight the tulips. Use more yellow accents, or if two flowers are dark red with no yellow, define their petals with highlights so they can be equal players in the bouquet.
    Martha Ginn

  5. In my opinion both of your quilts are lovely, but just have balance problems. You can shift to a more balanced composition on the first one, by simply adding another yellow flower of a little smaller size toward the top. The problem with the tulips is the same thing. You have divided the composition in half by placing the two solid reds right down the center of the composition.

  6. The first thing I thought after seeing the Fantasy Garden is that you might need few more leaves scattered above in the black...I think I would also make them in different sizes to add the depth. For example the largest one above the yellow flower, smaller one a bit above, to the right, then even smaller one close to the upper edge (on the right side)...maybe few very small ones right at the upper edge? Hope this makes sense? :)
    The only tulip that I would change is the one on the right side (yes, yellow looks a bit to bright on that one - probably because the red on that tulip is darker then on others?)- I think, as others, that thread-painting with a darker gold will help! Great work - have fun!
    BTW - I am starting my own blog too, have similar fears/dilemmas like you, (what to start with, etc.), so I might just "jump-in", just like you did!! Thanks!