February 10, 2014

Sew Solid Sunday, Working With Solids

I had the pleasure of meeting Debbie Grifka of Esch House Quilts at Quilt Market in Houston last fall. She has a very bold graphic design sense which is reflected in her quilt patterns. One of my favorites is her pattern A New View. Since then I have started following her blog and today I'm linking up with her new series entitled Sew Solid Sunday with one of my first all solid quilts . . . "Rhythm & Blues".

Many of you have already seen this quilt as I previously blogged about about it here and here.

Today I'd like to talk just a bit about my experience working with all solids. My background is in graphic design and I have an affinity for strong, bold graphics. Solids work wonderfully in expressing this graphic style. They strip away the added layer and complexity that a print fabric brings to a quilt design pairing it down to the most basic elements . . . the shapes and colors in context to one another. It's this aspect of solids that I find so pleasing and interesting to play with when designing. Pure form, color and composition.

When working with all solids, you have a wonderful opportunity to really explore basic elements of design. Ask yourself these things when you are designing a solid quilt.

  • color;  how do the colors relate in context to one another.
  • shape;  how do the different shapes relate and play off of one another.
  • composition;  how do things like balance, rhythm and line effect the composition and lead the eye around the quilt.

These are just a few of the things that I find fun to explore when designing any quilt but most especially when working with solids. I'm even working on a pattern based on the design elements from "Rhythm & Blues" which I hope will be out later this year.

However making all solid quilts has led me to realized that after awhile I miss the absence of prints. I actually crave the riot of color and pattern that can only be found in a complete abandon of solids in favor of prints, prints and more prints. This is who I am.

I love both solids and prints for their unique qualities. Solids have the ability to express bold, graphic, even simple concepts with such clarity and strength. Prints have the ability to stimulate the eye and interact with each other on another, more complex level.

If you haven't tried solids, I recommend giving it a go. You can visit my Pinterest board of all solid quilts for some inspiration. It's so much fun to see what creative work others are doing with solids. There are sooo many fabulous solid quilts out there!

Hopefully I'll have a new solid piece to share on one of Debbie's future installments.
Please hop over to Sew Solid Sunday for a little solid inspiration from the other links. : )

On a final note I'd like to give a nod to Debbie's wonderful Mondrian quilt, by leaving you with my version of a Mondrian inspired quilt made mostly with solids entitled "Mondrian Unleashed".

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  1. Great discussion about solids. I think I'm also drawn to solids because in my quilt program, I don't like their "prints" so I work only in color. It can be difficult to translate the digital-solids to "riotous" print (as you say) so sometimes I don't. Of course, I'm not working at your level in this, but often I wonder if the use of digital media to design quilts has influenced quilters' love of solids, too.

    Great little Modrian quilt at the end!

  2. Great post, Anne.....I have a love for both solids and prints. I love those quilts and really enjoyed seeing them in real life at Quilt Con.

  3. Solids are so HOT right now. I'm going to enjoy my new project using them. Thanks for the link : )

  4. What fun to learn how a graphic designer looks at solids vs prints! I'm so glad we don't have to choose one over the other :) Thanks for linking up with Sew Solid Sunday and for your kind words about my work.

  5. This is a stunning quilt and I never tire of seeing it. I find myself drawn more and more to solids. I wonder why I even purchase prints because I actually do prefer working with solids, at least at this stage in my life. I'll check out the Pinterest board and the link. Thanks for sharing this quilt again. It is really so fabulous!

  6. I always seem to include some solids. Lately I try to "make" myself use all prints when paper piecing. I really do love the mix of solids and prints though :)


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