I LOVE talking about blocks, studying blocks, and playing with them in Photoshop... I am always on a quest for great blocks and trying to figure out what makes them so great ... So I started this companion blog that will be devoted to this quest. But also check out my regular blog at http://olderrose.blogspot.com

Friday, November 2, 2012

Part Three - Meeting a RR color challenge...

I can guarantee that if you join in round robins you will eventually have a block arrive with colors that will make you gasp... I will share  a few with you..  I know my comfort zone.. pastels and muted colors... and I wrap these colors like a quilt right up to my ears... Bright intense color makes me edgy and I find it difficult to work on.  But once I do get them and finish them, they have often become my most favorite blocks...  This one especially.

So you can imagine how I felt as a "pastel pansy" when I got this block in the mail for a seams only RR.

So Tip #1...  Stick to the colors in the block...  Someone loved these colors enough to make this block... You want to send something that will make them happy...  You just can't go wrong if you stick to their colors... I started gathering threads.. I stuck a green in there because you can usually stick green in anywhere...but not here!

Luckily I found the paisley braid with orange in it and a few other shades of color to draw on.....  First I added all the purple trims I could find... There were two awkward little patches - upper right (tiny triangle) to which I added a wide purple ribbon in order to make the patch seem larger..(see arrow) There is the lower left. patch (long and narrow) which I hope will disappear when I add the seam.  I also added a wide orange ribbon to orange patch to make it appear bigger.  Using matching ribbons is a nice trick for modifying the size and shape of a patch.  And then I commenced to stitch and stitch and stitch.

I used stitching to make the long narrow patch lower left disappear and by stitching over the purple ribbon that tiny corner patch upper right seems bigger.  I ignored the wild and crazy print altogether..

If I had lived to 110 I would have never attempted this combination of intense colors but I loved this block when I finished..

Another RR had a theme of famous artists...  I never expected someone to pick someone like Paul Klee with   the bright and intense colors. This was the last block in this series for me and I pondered the whole RR how I was going to handle it... I had no idea how I was going to pull these colors together so I didn't even try..

Tip # 2... Use as many colors from the block for fancy seams but transfer your main focus to the theme and treat patches as a backdrop.  Keep your focus theme oriented but as bold as possible so it doesn't compete with  the background..

Luckily Klee had done this painting of a bird and I used it as the main focus on this block 

Another example.. This blue block is so intense that it swallows up everything....certainly not a color in my stash. You have to look close to see all the fancy stitching I did.. But by using a bold focal point I tamed the blue... The theme for this RR was faces so the motif fit the theme.  Except for the red headdress I kept all the colors neutral so as not to compete with the blue in the block.. I see a lot of clever motifs so small they get lost on a block...  Big and bold has a place also...

If the block has an image on it already, enhanced it... Tip #3  Enhance an existing image either by framing it or working into it mostly using just the colors of the block.  Again use colors from the block and you can't go wrong...  A frame does not need to be right up against the image...I devoted four posts to framing starting 6/12/11.

Luckily the lovely red patch was here for me to draw on and bring the red into the block and create a path around the tiny image. Again these are not colors I would have ever chosen to work with. but the RR brought them to me and I believe I'm a better stitcher for attempting to meet these challenges. (but I'm not always successful)

So I will end this post with a reminder that you are always safe if you stick to the colors in the block.  And you will never expand your skills as rapidly as you will by joining RRs and being challenged. I repeat often on both blogs..." The most important thing about round robins are not the pieces you get back but the pieces you send out.."

But a far bigger challenge than color out of your comfort zone is receiving blocks with bold prints... I did not address that subject here because I have covered it in an earlier post... Now join a round robin or exchange. Learn from and share your work with others..

The next post will deal with how to be successful using LOTS of color...


  1. Thank you for your color posts. That's definitely a problem area for me!

  2. I tend to use a few colours picked from the colours of the block for my threads. Once in a while a small amount of a complementary colour too.

  3. Could you please tell me what type of thread you are using in the first photo? The colors you choose to use are wonderful. Thank you Kathy