Thursday, December 5, 2013

Testing Bee Blocks

I am totally jumping the gun here, but I couldn't control myself.  The Modern Irish Bee starts a second year all bright, shiny and fresh in January.  As soon as I picked February to be queen bee, my brain has been racing with all of the opportunities to try something new.

When trying to choose my block, I have been considering the bee setup.  We have a wide variety of skill levels, so something pretty straight forward would be best.  This is also a scrappy bee, so a block that lets me draw on the stashes of others seems greedy appropriate.

I stumbled upon the spool quilt along hosted by Laura of Adventures of a Quilting Diva.  Each month she posts a new spool tutorial, so there should be about seven available by the time my February month comes along.  That would let folks in my bee choose what they're most comfortable with AND gives me a wide variety of blocks in my quilt.  Love that.


To give it a test run, I pulled (widely) monochromatic, stripey FQs thinking most folks would have something like this in their stash.  I set out making four blocks from the spool quilt along: (left to right) block 4, block 1, block 3 and block 2.


I really dig the first and last block, but the second from the left is a bit bland.  Anyway, I think what I've learned is A) there's a wide enough variety in skills that folks could be entertained without being overwhelmed and B) that I like a darker spool color over the Ash in the second purple thread block.  I'm going to make another set of four this weekend and see where this goes as it gets larger.  I may really dig it as it gets more scrappy, but right now it's looking a little uncoordinated and boring simplistic.

This is also my first time using LV fabrics as a background.  I have to say (in 100% total honesty) I'm not sure I like them.  Folks who are gaga about LVs, can you tell me why this isn't wowing me?  Is there a secret I don't know like you shouldn't use LV in a large space or it should coordinate better with what's going on in your block?  Any insight, ladies?

13 comments:

tomomi mcelwee said...

very interesting.

Annabella said...

I love your spool tester blocks Cindy - perhaps your LV is too LV and you need some more colour in there. But as I say, I love them!

Sarah said...

Great idea for your bee and catering to everyone's abilities and preferences esp when there are beginners at the start of a bee.

Maybe lv just isn't you. I don't love it personally either though I know that's practically sacrilege to admit! I've seen amazing lv quilts but they just don't make me want to have one myself. Horses for courses and all that.

Lynz said...

For me? Your LV's are too matchy - you need a cream and a pale colour etc for interest. Otherwise you're as well using a solid. But I like my LV all over the place!

Love the spools!! I often find I don't love something at the very beginning. After the next 4 you'll have a better idea if it's for you or not. Be brave - more colour! !

knottygnome said...

from here it looks like you might prefer a different block arrangement. if you interspersed the super light LV spools (the 2 on the right) with the slightly more contrasty ones (the 2 on the left) you might like it better.

i love using LV backgrounds but i know it's not for everyone.

Leanne said...

I think that the spools are great fun and that once you have a bunch you will find the a quilt of them will be interesting. I am fairly sure that you either need to just trust that the overall low volume look will be good, despite how it looks now, or go for a solid. I am not sure I am the scrappy lv background person either, I need to give it a try one day.

Sandra @SewofCourse said...

I absolutely love the idea of your spools! I agree with Lynz, though, your LV backgrounds "read" the same, there is no variation between them. Also personally I would never place the spools straight in a row with the bottoms at the same level, and I would be using more contrast between the colours, they now seem equally medium darkness. When you have more blocks and all from different people it should be lovely.

Katy Cameron said...

Great idea for the blocks, although I feel a complete slacker now having not even thought about my blocks for January lol

As for the LV, I have to say I have appreciation for only a very limited part of the LV spectrum in my quilts. I don't like any colour at all in mine, but I do switch things up from one block to the next, I think that's maybe partly why this one isn't doing it for you?

Indianna said...

I think they look brilliant and once you get more, with other people's lv choices then they will look amazing.

Erin Quinn said...

I love love volume, but struggle with it sometimes because to really work, I think you need to really thow it all on there. It's essentially being scrappy but removing saturated colour. I say grab another bundle of white/cream/beige and make some more spools. It still might not be your cup of tea, but that's because you are such a bright light rainbow :-)
E xx

Kirsten said...

Your spools look fabulous! Thanks for the link to the spool sew along too:)

Archie the wonder dog said...

I would carry on and make some more blocks - I think that once you get more variation in the shape, size and direction of spools, as well as the value of the 'thread' (and more LV backgrounds) it will become more interesting to the eye and you will hopefully fall in love with it. Remember that you're looking at a tiny portion of the project - some times you just need to plough on and trust the image in your head!
After that long comment, I think 'Keep going!' is what I'm trying to say!

jeifner said...

They are looking great. I think I might agree with some above and say maybe your LV is too monochromatic for your visual taste? Maybe some of the low volume that is a one color, small red dots in white for example, might tickle your LV fancy.

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