Quilt Scaffolding

Climbing up the Statue of Liberty one year, I was amazed to see all the scaffolding that held up Lady Liberty.  Surprised even.  I still think of that.

One of my favorite Broadway shows is Noises Off, because you see the first act pretty much straight on, then they flip the stage to show you what’s going on six weeks later in the run, and you see all the pratfalls, the nearly missed cues, the backstage angst.  And in the final act, we see the front of the stage again and the show is made all the more hilarious because we now know what’s really going on.

I used to see on lots of blogs this little button with lots of artsy arrows and squiggles and the words below that proclaimed “I took the Process Pledge!” and the quilter would show us how she/he arrived at the gorgeous finished quilt.

Here’s where that idea all breaks down, and becomes an exercise not in honesty about construction (although that can be interesting) but an exercise in boredom.  Because I’M bored with this process, yet like the rough part of your nail that catches on everything and you fiddle with and and pick at until you can track down a nail file and smooth that sucker off, I can’t let go of trying to make this work.

Here are six pictures of seven different background to my scrappy stars.  While you may think this obsessive, I’m not showing you the picture with the cherries, nor the green background with the butterflies, or the black background with the swirly waves.  Scroll through them and ask yourself these two basic questions:
Question #1–Which one makes the stars really stand out?
Question #2–Which background is the richer and more interesting?
Okay.  Ready, set, meet you at the bottom.

Background #1

Background #2

Background #3

Background #4

Background #5

Background #6

Background #7

I’m sure you noticed that the two questions are in conflict with each other after viewing the photos.

I’m also sure you are hoping that I soon figure out which it is and get on with the thing, because the fallout from the idea of me taking the process pledge–showing the scaffolding to my thinking about how this quilt is coming together–is driving you crazy.  Or to a state of complete boredom.  And you wish I would just show you a tutorial about how to  I put those stars up against a field of white and head on to the next agonizing step.  Borders.  (And P.S.  I hate the color on Background #3, so if you say that one, you lose.)

But just for fun–if you decide to leave a comment, give me your answers to Q#1, and Q#2.  And any of your thoughts and ideas might also help this move along, too.

19 thoughts on “Quilt Scaffolding

  1. I like #2. I don’t like the colors of #3 and #5. #7 shows the stars TOO well. With #1 and #4, all of the star points disappear. With #2, some of the star points are lost, while others show well. This is interesting!

  2. Don’t really like any of them … #7 has the most contrast but it’s not interesting.
    Keep trying – those stars are cool so don’t settle till you think WOW … solids?

  3. I lose…the only time I saw stars were on 3 and 7, and I love charteuse/lime. Having said that there are as many opinions out there as there are quilters. Who is the quilt for? If it is for you, then the background should be the one that you love. If it is for someone else, would they like their stars to pop, or would they fall in love with all the rich fabrics in some of the others. Unless a quilt is for a competition I never ask for opinions, actually I probably won’t do it for a competition either. I like what I like and when it’s done, the colors and patterns that I’ve chosen help to put my signature on it.

  4. I love 5, but it’s one of those situations where you can see the background or see the stars but not exactly both at once, which is clearly not what question 2 was going for. I think the stars will only pop against something super neutral and 5 is much more interesting than that, but may not be what you’re going for.

  5. Your right, the color on 3 is awful – but it really makes the stars pop! Number 5 is both interesting and makes the stars stand out. However if you just want to see the stars, I’d have to go with number seven. But my favorite is 5.
    Good luck!

  6. I like the way they look on the blackish one but I am not a fan of a printed background with the busy scrappy stars. I would put them on a charcoal or taupe or dark brown or dark blue solid background or white or tan. Of these choices I would use 7 which I am guessing you already have gone with because it is not a single print but rather several very light small scale prints and as such has a lot of subtle interest. The stars are lovely, I am sure whatever you pick will be great.

  7. #7 shows off the stars the best, I think….
    And thanks for showing us all you are going through! I love to see the process and understand what the quilter is thinking and going through…..

  8. I like 3 and 5, but…if you want to buy some different fabric, how about a black with bright polka dots?

    7 does show off the stars, but in my opinion it is way too boring.

    Maybe a bright solid or almost solid? It would be interesting, but there wouldn’t be any additional pattern to compete with the stars. Maybe a red, turquoise or yellow?

    I actually like background #1, but you do lose the stars with it.

    Good luck! I do like reading about the process. Picking fabrics is really half the battle.

  9. I am actually voting for two and five. The black gives the quilt gravitace, and the second gives the quilt a oneness without muddling things. Of course the 7th one makes it look very thirties but hardly surprising. Love this exercise and I applaud you for sailing into such uncertainty. Love epb

  10. #7 Really makes the stars stand out, and I like to scrappy polka dots… For richness, I like #4. But really, other than #3 (I agree) you can’t go wrong. Except, #1 might be too busy….IMHO.

  11. Ok BG 5 and 7 are my Q1 answer. Then Q2 would be 5 – the 7 background makes it too washed out for me. Hm, I hope this makes sense. Now if yo weren’t opposed to BG 3… Good luck with your decision!

  12. (Democracy is a mania for counting noses.) Q1 #3 for harsh contrast of colors Q2 #5
    speaks intrigue, powerful clashes of color and design. As to #7 a bit bland with a snap as, “the beautiful lady held a lovely white rose in her fist.”

  13. I like two and five, five the best. I like how when you look at it from far away you can see two different patterns, the stars or the background pieces. Know what I mean? I also dig the green, for it’s obscene outlandishness. It’s one of those “I’m so ugly I’m awesome” sort of things! Seven is my least favorite. I just love how we all have different opinions!!

  14. Gotta put my two cents in for Colorway #7 – I think it’s the contrast between background and stars that works for me. If you’re going for a more hexigonal look, I vote for one and six. Who knew there were so many possibilites! i love the way you put the fabrics together – so many combinations and you make them all look amazing!

  15. Okay, you are probably not still soliciting opinions (but, whoa, epb!!!). Okay, sorry. That kind of sidetracked me a little bit.

    Q#1: 7
    Q#2: well, 3 because I love green. But I hate to be a “loser” so 5.

    And *sigh* I have to look up the definition of gravitace…

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