Thursday, November 11, 2010

Sorting fabrics for the scrappy braid

Life interfered this week and I have only just begun to sort the 3 shoe  boxes of strips.  Our guild meeting was Monday night and the speaker was Dixie Haywood, a quilting pioneer for modern  crazy quilting and foundation piecing.  What a wonderful showing of her quilts--and her winners  at Houston in past years.  She was probably the first quilter to use the "tilted" setting, using long triangles for the borders.  And she still hand quilts....just beautiful.
On to sorting.....oops, I found another partial box.  Some strips are full width of fabrics, others are from fat quarters, and lots of short pieces left from other projects.    Beware when I open one of these and get started, the strips seems to multiply.

Here are stacks of strips  from the first box that are sorted into "color families"....blues, purples, yellows, green, red, and orange to browns.
Some fabrics are easy to identify because they read as a solid--- think tone on tone fabrics and batiks.  But what about multi-color prints and designs?  My first sort goes by first impression as I glance at the fabric, or by the background color.  Example is the dark blue background fabric with the large leaves.  I put it in the blue stack for now.  Next to it is the purple stack and the floral print on the top has several colors in it.  But the first impression is the purple color and that's where I put it.  I may or not be able to use these busy fabrics in the planned braid design---they may just appear too dominant or stand out too much.  If that happens,  I will put them back into the box for another project.   But hopefully, the busy prints will be the transition pieces that will allow me to jump from one color family to another. 

The purple stack is now sorted by value. All the purples were spread out on my work table.  Piece by piece, I judge the value....I use a value viewer when in doubt.  The lightest go to the left, and the darkest go to the right.  What is left in the middle are the mediums.  Simple as that! I have lots of saved lids from shoe boxes, so each color family will have a separate "tray" that I will work from.  I have a lot of sorting to do before I begin sewing the long braids, but I will try a short segment to decide on how long to cut the strips. 
Next time, I'll show you how to get the braid started....I hope! 
Happy stitching.

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