Tag Archives: design process

Struggling with Color – Finding Myself Outside My Comfort Zone

I am working on a Judy Niemeyer Fire Island Hosta pattern.  I decided to change the color scheme after I found a batik I could not resist (how often does that happen??).

Fire Island Hosta

I love the pattern.  And, I wanted to learn paper piecing.

Unfortunately, I bought the fabrics over a period of time and found myself looking at the units instead of the whole.  This is an easy mistake to make when fabric is not purchased all at the same time.

Fabrics I though would pick up the multiple colors of the focus fabric became too bright in the whole.


Here, the curve became too orange and did not blend with the background.


I toned down the colors a bit and pulled more of the colors in the background.  It still may not turn out as well overall as I had hoped, but It will be OK.  At this point I just want to finish it.

How many times does this happen?  How many times do you think all will work, then one fabric stands out like a sore thumb?

This is where pushing through is important.  It is easy to give up and put another UFO in a drawer.  However, by pushing through, you learn more about yourself and your design process.

I bought a lot of fabric for this project.   (I am not even showing you the step in between the two above that really did not work.)  And, all of that fabric is cut for this particular pattern.

I look at the units I made that will not go in this quilt and I’m thinking that I will use them in another project – potentially cutting them up into smaller units and having a fractured piece.  And, the scraps will go to folks who know how to use them.

This is all part of the creative process:  The struggle, the mistakes, the restarts and the UFOs.  It is important not to look at them as failures, but as steps in the creative journey.  The struggle is an important part of the process – an important way of finding your voice and deciding when perfection is important and when it is not; when to hang on and when to let go.  Identifying the purpose of the piece and being true to that purpose – not necessarily the finished piece you start with.

These are some of the issue I tackle with students in my upcoming course Explore Art Quilting: Move out of the Comfort Zone.  This is a six month course, face to face, being offered in Fort Collins, CO.  We start talking about sources of inspiration and move into skills and tools, and then the elements and principles of design – including color and value, which is what I have been struggling with in this quilt.  For those in Northern Colorado, please look into this opportunity to join the discussion and move out of your comfort zone.  I have definitely been there the last couple of weeks.