Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Organized Chaos...Achieving Scrappy Without Tears

As a perfectionist, I have trouble with scrappiness. I have difficulty deciding how to distribute pieces for the best balance, and I don't like two identical fabrics to be right next to each other. (Diagonal doesn't bother me.) I could play with the fabric pieces on the design wall till next year and drive myself bananas, never knowing when to quit. To help myself move along, many years ago I developed a five-color grid that I call Organized Chaos. The grid is 8x8 squares, with no two colors adjacent to each other. I have used it countless times for my scrappy designs.

Once I have my quilt sketched in EQ6, I use the Organized Chaos grid to re-color the blocks, transferring the bright grid colors to the quilt sketch. I use shadings of the bright colors to correspond to lights/mediums/darks of the blocks, as well. This results in a very colorful map to follow, as seen below.

One Ocean Waves block
Four of these are needed for the quilt

I divide the fabrics into five relatively even groups, each group named for the bright grid colors.: Pink, Orange, Yellow, Blue and Green. For Ocean Waves, each group will have at least one cream fabric and one red fabric. The groups do not share the same fabrics. So the Pink group will have red #1 and cream #1, the Orange group will have red #2 and cream #2, etc. Then I just follow the map and draw from the groups to create the block units. A dark pink/light pink half square triangle would be made up of red #1 and cream #1. A dark orange/light orange unit would be made up of red #2 and cream #2...and so on. By following the map, I get a scrappy look with no two identical fabrics adjacent to each other.

This coloring is pretty simple. I generally make the coloring much more complex. Usually I'll color the dark areas, then twist the grid 90 degrees to color the light areas...or vice versa. So I'd end up with half square triangle units such as Dark pink/light green, Dark blue/light yellow. By keeping the the coloring simple for this project, I can use my triangle paper more effectively, since I only need a handful of combinations of fabrics, rather than dozens of variations. Even so, with a couple dozen fabrics, Joann Sets Sail will be plenty scrappy.

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