Skinflint Sunday: Colours are hard.

I’m in the middle of a quilting balls-up and I have no one to blame but myself.

I decided to base the baby quilt I’m making for Tom29 to give to friends on the yellow fabric with the pink, blue and green hearts. I spent AGES first sorting through all of the bins in my stash, separating all the colours into piles. (This was a job I’d been meaning to do for years…)

Had my colours chosen, then thought I’d play with the colour values. This is something I’ve only lately become aware of, since stumbling across Blue Elephant Stitches and Wombat Quilts. Why not have the yellow and white going across the quilt in a grid? What could go wrong?

First off, this quilt photographs better than it looks in real life.

I cut and sewed together the 425 pieces that it takes to make a baby/cot quilt.

Ryan26 wandered through at one stage and said, “I don’t like the yellow against the white.” I SHOULD HAVE LISTENED TO HIM!

I finished the quilt top. I had misgivings but ignored them and pushed through with pinning the quilt sandwich together. There it was laid out on the floor. I called Ryan26 in to have a look.

He sighed.

I said, “Yeah, I know. The yellow drowns out the stars. When I look at it, all I can see are weird yellow lozenges, not white stars.”

“Well, you can just finish it and give it to them, I guess,” he said. He’s been the child of a quilter for many years – he knows how much time and effort goes into these things.

“Yeah…” I said.

Ryan26 is a wise man. He probably knew what was coming. He left me to it.

The thing is – I should have taken a black and white photo of the yellow and white together. That would have told me instantly that they were of equal brightness.

See how the white stars just fade away?

Did I think of taking a b/w photo before I did the work?


So, like I said, I have no one to blame but myself. I hate it when that happens.

I went to bed, saying to myself, “I don’t know these people. Tom29 can give it to them; I’ll never see it again either way.”

But I woke at 3 AM, knowing that I wanted Tom29 to give them a quilt that looks pretty and will be used, rather than stuffed in a cupboard somewhere.

So I decided to unpick the quilt, substituting the yellow blocks for other fabric already in the quilt, with added pink blocks.

It’ll take a day to unpick, I thought.

Um… not so.

This is two solid days’ work, with 1/3 of the quilt still to go. The actual unpicking isn’t too bad because I’ve been listening to podcasts while I work. A great one I found was “Stuff of Legends with Christian O’Connell”, where he gets famous people to bring in their 3 most prized possessions and talk about them. I caught up on “My Dad wrote a porno” and listened to the new series of “The Pineapple Project”. This season is all about frugality, which as we all know is my jam. Today is a ‘Casefile’ kind of day. I feel slightly murderous.

Just to let you know what this quilt is supposed to look like, here’s the original one, only in blues.

Kellie details how to make it here. She has it as a project that you use from scraps cut from the leftovers as you’re making other quilts, which is a great way to tackle this. Making it, pulling it apart and sewing it together again is definitely not the way to go.

But hey. At least I have the time to be able to fix my mistakes.

There’s also something else I learned from this. After 36 quilts, I REALLY need to have a design wall. If I’d had those blocks up where I could see them, I’m sure I would have seen the problem much earlier.

Quilters – which type of batting makes the best design walls?

8 thoughts on “Skinflint Sunday: Colours are hard.

  1. A cheap fleece throw will work better, much more stable, you can chuck it in the wash when you need to. You can get white, beige, brown, any neutral you fancy

  2. Omg- I guess I don’t know a good quilt from a bad because I am in LOVE with the first yellow arrangement.
    I’m sad it’s going going almost gone.

    I love Blue Elephant Quilts – even have one of her quilts adorning the top of my bedroom bureau. I’m very frugal (came here by way of your other blog) so that shows you how much I loved it that I was willing to spend my money to look at it daily.

      • Yes, this photo was the one that fooled me. It looked as if the white stars would stand out beautifully and the yellow/white grid would ‘float’ above the rest.
        IRL… it didn’t work out that way. If I’d taken a black and white photo I would’ve seen it before I sewed up the whole quilt front.
        Lesson learned.

  3. My permanent design wall has a flannel sheet wrapped around a Styrofoam insulation board. Though I have also used a flannel backed tablecloth ($3 at the dollarstore). As a machine quilter, I find 100% cotton batting to be much “grab-ier” than the 80/20 or 70/30 blends so I would suggest the 100% if you decide to use batting

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