Monday, August 24, 2020

Test Block

 I've been wanting a more complex, longer term project than the baby quilts I've been churning out lately. I've been looking at Jen Kingwell's and Freddy Moran's work. Perhaps with those inspirations I can come up with something. 

To that end I made a test block. Steam Punk / Airship Propeller blocks were the inspiration; my own templates printed from EQ.

I'm not thrilled with it and I think I'll explore other possibilities before I commit to something like this. 

What I like: 

  • The fabrics individually 
  • The curves. 
  • The concept of striped sashing, although I'd need to see it used with multiple blocks. Maybe it's too overwhelming. 

What I don't like: 

  • The proportions. There's too much background. My templates were supposed to yield a 14" block but it came out undersized so I trimmed it down to finish at 13".  Maybe if I had trimmed it down to finish at 12" there would be less background and I'd like the proportions better. 
  • Maybe it needs to be set on point or redesigned so the big X is diagonal. 
  • Or, maybe the big X is too prominent and I need to make the propeller shapes the dominant colors.
  • Something about this block just doesn't work. What do you think? Critiques and comments welcome. 
I've been playing with the concept in EQ and it just feels like I'm trying too hard for something that's not coming together. What I've learned: 

  • Some of Jen Kingwell's palettes are generally light-medium value and overall low contrast, with a lot of black and white prints that read grey scattered throughout. Her prints are generally smaller in scale. Where she uses solid black and white, it's in small pieced areas.
  • Freddy Moran's work is loud and bright, with lots of large dots and vivid colors, always a lot of red; black and white used boldly. 
  • Combining these two styles just doesn't work.
  • While I admire the work of Jen Kingwell and Freddy Moran, I need to stick to my own style. 
  • I need to order commercial templates if I ever want to make a Steam Punk quilt.
So, I'll file this test block in the orphan blocks drawer. Maybe it'll become the center of a round robin style baby quilt someday. In the meantime, I'll keep thinking about what I want for a longer term project that doesn't try so hard to copy someone else's style. 

Link ups: Small Quilts and Doll Quilts, Love Laugh Quilt


  1. For a steam punk look, I do think less background and more emphasis on the propeller is what I would focus on. When I think steam punk I think of blacks, grays, bronze (for the propeller) and dusty (probably grunge like prints?). Just my thoughts and musings. :)

  2. I kinda like what you did, but in mass numbers, I'm not sure. Reducing the size or values would help; as is I didn't even see the propeller. On point is a good idea. I agree that it could be hard to blend Kingwell and Moran, but if anyone can do it, you can!

  3. You ultimately came to the solution that I thought of right away. Creating a baby quilt around this block could be SEW cute! Best of luck finding your groove, Jan.

  4. I would prefer the propeller to come forward rather than the floral triangles. I know you are partial to the striped sashing, but have you considered no sashing at all? The lighter triangles would form an interesting repeat, and you could use stripes in the border or the propellers. No matter what you choose I commend you on your construction.

    Andrea in MO

  5. You nailed it with the "be true to who you are" statement. I am inspired by Freddy Moran but I am not Freddy. I am inspired by so many others including Gwen Marston, but I am ME and my style involves elements of their teachings and my own experiences. You will find a way to make whatever you work on be YOURS. Another friend of mine, Nancy Near Philadelphia (blog name) just finished hand stitching a Steam Punk design - feel free to pop over and scroll back a bit to see how she conquered the need to make the design hers.