I’m not sure, but I think I may have just spent the last two days on a big failure of a project.


I don’t know what the deal is with it. Part of me thinks that I should have used prints and solids in each block, but I wanted it to be busy. I think it needs a sashing in between the blocks, but I’m not sold on the Kona Ash that the blocks are sitting on. Should it be white? Or cream colored? Or should I go darker?

But on the other hand, I’m wondering if I should actually add some more color to the blocks. Maybe it’s too small?

I don’t know. I need to put it away for the night because it’s making me frustrated and angry. Any constructive criticism will be well appreciated!

22 Thoughts on “i think it’s a fail

  1. Jenny H. on June 24, 2010 at 6:49 pm said:

    Sarah, I’ve never commented before, but I’ve been admiring your craftiness and following your blog for a couple of years. I love all of your projects!
    I definitely don’t think this is a fail! My favorite “busy” quilts seem to have white sashing. If it were me, I’d try making it larger and with white sashing. Similar to:
    But I’m sure whatever you decide to do, it will be lovely!

  2. Jonathan on June 24, 2010 at 7:20 pm said:

    I’m working on a surprisingly similar project. This stage of the game presented the most challenges. I spend several days trying out different settings. Here are some links to flickr photos of these nine-patch quilts in progress: http://www.flickr.com/photos/jonniegottasing/
    For the blocks, I wanted to use fabrics I had been given from a friend while de-stashing. Since they were all floral and classic grandma ugly-pretty prints, I chose to go with a busy and colorful combination — no monochromatic combinations allowed. I built the squares from strips, deciding at the last minute which fabric would be in the X position (5 squares) and which the O (4 squares). I tried, without planning, to have a variety of strong X blocks and strong O blocks. Once I got to the stage of working the layout with the resulting blocks, however, I felt like you, very frustrated and angry. I discovered that I had two baby quilts worth of blocks, so I separated all the blocks that were very pink from the rest. I also wanted the blocks glued together as much as possible, creating a larger nine-patch XOX pattern, or large checkerboard, where there would be diagonals of dark and light squares. These conditions led me to move things around for several days until I settled on one layout, with a central nine-patch of blocks, surrounded by a block border (http://www.flickr.com/photos/jonniegottasing/4731080247/). The pink blocks have yet to find their way, and so they are still in the punishment corner, so they can reflect on what they’ve done…
    Not sure if any of this rambling provides any help. I think you will certainly find a way to make it work to your satisfaction. My suggestion: try less sashing, ie. let the blocks touch and see what that created. The other thing I learned was that my camera was not necessarily helping me, since it often was augmenting the sense of contrast and flattening the sense of tone.
    I look forward to seeing how this progresses.

  3. Sarah: I like the busyness of the blocks and think white sashing would be beautiful. Definitely either way darker or white. That being said, you are a great designer and it will come to you what to do when you least expect it. Good luck. Can’t wait to see the final product! Laine

  4. I agree that the Ash isn’t quite the right choice for a sashing colour. I think that going lighter will help things tremendously.
    Cream would be a good choice, or what about a lighter tone of one of the dominant colours? Like a butter yellow, apple green or a melon-y pinkish orange? Something that could draw the blocks together and enhance the feeling of bright cheerful colour without going overboard.
    Or maybe the answer is a light natural linen?

  5. kate C. on June 24, 2010 at 10:14 pm said:

    I like the blocks, don’t give up on them! I’m not really good at telling you how to fix it though. But there have already been some other good ideas to try and I really like what you have so far! Maybe you need to put them away for a week or so and then try some other options!
    good luck! Can’t wait to see what you do with them!

  6. Definitely white. That will make a big difference.

  7. beth lehman on June 24, 2010 at 10:57 pm said:

    How great to get all this advice – jonniegottasing has got great thoughts – I would try with white or with a dark grey – take pictures and look again. Or put it away for another day!

  8. have you considered black? i think the darkness would give the eye a place to rest as it bounces around all the colors and prints :-)

  9. Johanna on June 25, 2010 at 3:14 am said:

    Well, I agree with the rest, sashing would look great. I am not a big fan of too much business because then each fabric doesn’t get the attention it deserves.
    I would say white or very dark sashing. But I am sure that whatever you decide will be great!

  10. what about a bright green – like the Artichoke Kona solid?

  11. I agree, go way lighter (white) or way darker. I recently had a wouldn’t-play-nicely-together project that was saved by a thin sashing of Kona purple. I’m not a purple gal generally, but it was dark and pretty and far enough removed from my main colors to do the job very nicely. I can’t publish the project yet but I’d be glad to send you a pic if you wish.

  12. Hmm, I think I would try either white, black, or dark brown for the sashing. The blocks are great–don’t give up!

  13. Kate L on June 25, 2010 at 9:27 am said:

    My theory is that when all else fails try black or white/cream. Kona Snow, is my go-to!

  14. I think it’s just the background that isn’t working / the blocks themselves all look great. I would either go with a lighter white or muslin — or I would go way darker with a Kona charcoal like the one Frick is using in her hope valley sampler blocks. or black as missmary suggested.

  15. I think this is looking great so far! I agree that the background fabric isn’t working, but I would definitely give white, dark grey, or navy a try instead.

  16. I’ve never commented but wanted to say that I am very inspired by all your projects and your creativity. Thank you for posting about it all! I agree with the others… this is actually not a fail at all! I suspect that using white for sashing might pull it all together. You’ve got great colors going on there.
    Good luck!

  17. I’d go with white and make those blocks stand out! Just my two cents worth:)

  18. Rachel on June 25, 2010 at 12:46 pm said:

    I vote for white. It will give the eye a place to rest in all the beautiful busy-ness.

  19. Cynthia on June 25, 2010 at 1:17 pm said:

    Hmmm…my instincts are saying black for some reason. The ash is definitely a no-go.
    I’m also a new quilter and am big on the Netflix while I sew!
    I’m sure it will turn out great.

  20. i hate have that feelings too…
    I think white is great with anything! and maybe a darker neutral, like gray…
    i have to say that I’m agree with the people here: this is actually not a fail at all!
    and if you are frustrated and angry with it, just put it away for a while… and work in something diferent… maybe after some days (or weeks) you’ll see those blocks and you will love them!

  21. I think white sashing is the way to go too. And to me, the large scale prints look a out of place. I like the business of the little prints the best.

  22. Try white, get the book Material Obsession 2, page 102, quilt called stashbuster. This could work because the border will repeat all the colors in 56 blocks and pull the quilt together. Plus it is just a great book to have. Material Obsession 1 is also a good book, authors name Kathy Doughty and Sarah Fielke. Love all the colors in blocks, don’t give up!!!

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