Friday, September 12, 2014

Hard & Soft Off the Wall Friday




Okay - show of hands - how many of you have done a watercolor quilt?  Yeah, I know, they're kinda of gimmicky but  who doesn't like a good gimmick? It just so happens that the  watercolor quilt craze is what introduced me to art quilting back in 1993.  When I first read the book Watercolor Quilts by Pat Margaret, I thought, "Hey, I could do that!  How hard can it be to sew 2" squares together?"  I was a beginner
quilter but even I could do that.  Little did I know that the sewing was the easy part.  Doing this type of quilt was the perfect way to practice value studies. I had so much fun playing around with all those little squares and patterns and in the process taught myself about value!

That's why when this month's assignment was hard and soft edges, I brought back a blast from the past and decided to do watercolor quilt.  Hard and soft edges is what makes them so pretty.  Plus, this would give me a break from all the solid colors I've been working with lately.  Little flowers are fun!


Not to mention, it gave me a good reason to go into my quilt closet where I keep all the odds and ends, the beginnings and ends of projects I've wanted to keep, just in case I need them again.  And yes, there was a big bag of 2" squares still waiting for their next watercolor quilt.
Watercolor Gateway done during the 1990's


20 years later, doing one of these quilts is much easier, but still just as fun.  All week long, I've been tinkering with this one - still have a bit to go.  I probably won't do it as big as the sketch (because I would like to get it done by the end of the month) but I would love to see one super huge.  Can you see the hard and soft edges emerging?? 

So what was your watercolor quilt like?

What have you been up to creatively?

13 comments:

Kaja said...

I missed the watercolour quilt craze so this is new to me, but it is pretty and, as you said, a great way to play around with value. I think a really big one would look awesome.

Maartje Quilt said...

After twenty years it is much more easy. It looks very beautiful to me. I am a beginner,but when I have enough 2 inch sqaures I sure give it a try!

Ineke said...

Oh yes, I made one back in the 90th. It was fun to do but when I look at it now, I would do it different.

pennydog said...

This is new to me too, it looks like a cool process though!

Michele said...

I didn't - but I've bought a couple of huge boxes/bags of 2" squares at local guild show's "flea market" tables that were likely left over from them.

Jenny Lyon said...

It's beautiful! I had so much trouble with this one-it's a new concept to me.

Gwyned Trefethen said...

I made my version of a water color quilt in the early 90's. When I started it the book hadn't been published, I hadn't heard of the authors I was just playing with a concept. I used 1.5" squares that finished at 1". I must have been insane. I didn't have a sturdy design wall. Just a sheet of flannel hung from the ceiling. I can still recall the nightmare of coming into the room where the design wall hung and seeing at least 1/3 of the squares on the floor after I had laid out 3/4 of composition. Anyway, I was pretty thrilled with my idea and thought this might be my ticket in to writing an article for Quilter's Newsletter or becoming a lecturer. Before I finished the Water Color Quilts book was published and water color quilts were all the rage. Yes - I can see the hard and soft edges. Like you, I learned a lot about value from working this way.

knitnkwilt said...

I really liked them when I first saw them; I could never get enough 2 1/2 inch squares to get good gradations. And I have a huge stash. It is one of those things--drawn to only some values in the full range. I always had huge gaps.

I still see some fascinating examples. I think it is a great way to accomplish your sketch, Nina Marie!

I find the move from sketch to color a very difficult one. July (the music one) is still waiting.

Norma Schlager said...

I never did make one back when they were all the rage, but I was tempted. I like the way yours is going and look forward to seeing the finished piece.

Shirlee Fassell said...

Love the effect!

Amy Art Quilter & Fyber Cafe said...

I have hundreds of squares, sorted into soda can flats. I made quiet a few back in the day. I used to teach a class, and doing a fabric swap for students, was the best way to get the light/lights and dark/darks. Everyone brought in 2 1/2" strips and traded with each other. I like your design, it looks awesome.

Terry Aske Art Quilts said...

I made a small one from Christmas fabrics, back in 2009. It was fun, and I'd like to make one again some day. Maybe in black & white prints.

Sharon Rotz said...

Of course, I made one. How about several! I recently found a box full of cut squares ready to go. Could this be my next quilt?