Friday, November 16, 2012

When black is not black . . .

So this is usually the happy part of of a project, the blocks are done, the sashing is added, the blocks are connected, all that's left is a border or two. Not this time, I'm not happy and here's why.

What do you see when you look at this quilt?



All I see are those dark black cornerstones. It's not the photography or the lighting, the black fabric that I used for those squares is the blackest black I've ever seen, and up until the last couple of days, I had never really thought about black being anything other than black.   But this black is too black.  The black I used is from the Little Gatherings collection and not part of the Hemming House collection.   I think it over powers the muted colors of the basket blocks.  The next border is supposed to be the same fabric you used for the cornerstones.  I don't think that's going to help matters at all, adding a border of that black black.

So here's what I see as my options:
1.  Keep the cornerstones, add the black black inner border, then the outer border, and call it done.
2.  Keep the cornerstones, use a different fabric for the inner border, add the outer border and call it done.
3.  Keep the cornerstones add no borders, and call it done now.
4.  Tear it all apart and replace the cornerstones using a black fabric from the Hemming House line, use that same fabric for the inner border, add the outer border, and call it done.
5.  Roll it into a teeny tiny ball and smash it into the corner of a drawer and try to forget about it.

Stay tuned for an update . . . .
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64 comments:

  1. Well Thelma, you could always send it to me then I won't have to make mine!!! I hate to admit it but the black is all I see too. Having said that I know I wouldn't rip it out. I don't think I would use the black as a border though. I'm not much help. Sorry!!

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  2. here is what I would do applique squares on point ( would look like the diamonds in the baskets ) or maybe a circle? of the hemming house fabric it will cover most of the black
    better then taking it all apart in mho
    sorry....I am with you I would wind up leaving in the back of my closet better to fix it and love the quilt
    Kathie wishing you good luck!!!!!

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  3. oops it is on point so then the cornerstones will look like an economy block at least you would not see so much black!
    Kathie

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  4. It is a pretty quilt. I do see the black too. I don't have any ideas for you. Did you try the black and see if it helps the black cornerstones to blend in more? Maybe with more black, it wouldn't stand out so much. Never thought about all blacks not being equal.

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  5. I would try laying the strips of your border options beside the quilt and taking pictures. Then look at the pictures on your computer. I always get a better idea of the look of things from a picture. Maybe it will help you decide in what direction you should go. Perhaps the black inner border will help settle the quilt or you'll decide you absolutely can't live with it and need to change it. After all your hard work, I wouldn't want to end up with a quilt I didn't like so I think it's worth the extra effort to make it right for YOU!

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  6. The first thing that came to mind was definitely not "oh those squares are too black"! I realise it may look different in person but on the photo it just looks like a lovely traditional quilt with civil war type fabrics, that's all I see. And yes light coloured applique in the cornerstones might offset the dark a little if you feel it is too strong. I would absolutely not tear it apart! I think you are your own harshest critic Thelma - although I understand if you have spent a lot of time and effort on something, you want it to be right x

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  7. Thelma, I really think if you add the two extra borders (with a different fabric, not the same black that is called for in the pattern) you will find that the dramatic impact of that black lessens substantially. Don't tear it apart to replace the cornerstones and definitely don't roll it in a ball and put it in the closet!

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  8. I must be weird because I really like it..the black is obvious by it's by no means obnoxious. I say leave it as it is (was that option #3?) and just send it to me :)

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  9. Oh dear Thelma! I do think the black takes away from the beautiful baskets. What about appliqueing a square of blue or red on top of each black square so that the cornerstones look like a square in a square block?

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  10. How about replacing the black with the deepest turquoise blue shade?

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  11. If you choose option # 5, please smash it to my...:))
    You can add applique like already said or waiting quilting and choose a thread's colour who soft the black.

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  12. The black doesn't bother me at all, Thelma! I'd go with Option #1 or #3. And don't be so hard on yourself, friend! It is a terrific quilt.

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  13. When you do the quilting, just quilt over it a lot with a lighter colored thread, and it will drastically tone the black down, and if you use it on the inner border, you could do a feathering all around using the lighter colored thread as well, and you won't notice the black as being black anymore, it will read more gray.

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  14. Well, I love it. I'd say go with your first option. Or, send it to me. It's beautiful!

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  15. i think if you have already cut the borders hang it up on the design wall somewhere and stand back and take a good look leave and come back in a couple hours look again maybe the borders will draw your eye away from the cornerstones thats a lot of work to replace all those cornerstones !but if i know you thats what you are going to do bet you are already started hope this helps
    diana

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  16. I do see the black, but I absolutely don't think you need to rip it all out! I did also have the appliqué thought that others suggested. If you hate it I would try something like that first and change up the color for the borders. You will make it lovely!

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  17. What is your last border? The black is stark but it's not a game-changer. If I were doing this, I'd go ahead and add the black inner border. If you change it to a different fabric, those black cornerstones will really pop even more. The same inner border will pull the eye from those. Your final border in red or blue or whatever you chose will settle the whole thing down. I was in exactly this same quandry once, and I went ahead and finished it. The end result worked. Good luck. Can't wait to see what you decide.

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  18. It is a beautiful quilt, but to me the black overpowers the baskets. I love the ideas others have given, especially the applique one and the quilt-it-densely-with-a-light-thread one. Good luck with your decision!
    And thank you for writing about it, I can learn a lot from the way you think about these design things.

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  19. I think it's beautiful, I wouldn't change a thing. I would use the black as a first border, about the size of the little black squares. Add the other borders that you were going to use. I think if you used a muted color instead of the black it would have faded into the quilt. I don't usually like black in quilts, other than Amish quilts but I like yours. Please take pictures when you're done. Good luck!

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  20. I must see things much differently, because I think the black cornerstones, make the basket blocks 'POP'. I agree with "tpott" It is gorgeous to my eyes and I wouldn't change a thing. Not one thing. Hugs...

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  21. I agree with you, the black cornerstones are somewhat overpowering. If you really love the quilt, I would replace them. I have done similar ripping and resewing on quilt tops and it isn't as bad as you might think. Yu don't need to take the whole thing apart. Just rip the seams around the cornerstone square, take it out and put in a new one. Then go on to the next square. One at a time. It sounds tedious and time consuming. But in the end I've always been glad I did it!

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  22. I actually really like the black cornerstones, but I agree with you that I probably wouldn't want that dark of a black in the border. So I say change the border to something more muted and leave the interior of the quilt as is. It's beautiful!

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  23. I love quilts with no borders...so option 3. Or option 6 use it as a giveaway....we love it! Kristy

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  24. Or, option 6, make a mask the size of the squares and get a texture stamp and stamp over the black with a lighter black fabric paint. I know, that sounds lile a lot of trouble which is why I would probably do it and the gat paint on oanther part of the quilt and ruin the whole thing!
    Never mind. :-)

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  25. I think it's a beautiful quilt! Maybe I'm seeing it differently than others but I like what it looks like. I even left your picture of it up on my computer and would look at it when I came back in the room and my opinion is still the same. I still think it's a beautiful quilt!

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  26. I would not rip it out and I would not use another black if I were going to rip it out. I would finish it up with a very small inner border of the same black and then whatever you choose for an outer border. If I didn't love it when it was finished, I would donate it to a benefit for auction. Someone else will love it.

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  27. I don't have any sage advice that would be different from what you've already received. It's a beautiful quilt but you must do what makes YOU happy. You're never going to like it if you don't. :-)

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  28. Oh boy, what a challenge. I would not tear it apart, as it there would be so much to do, plus the stretching of the bias. I would add a different softer border (Option #2), maybe a black with a small print to draw away from the cornerstones. It is a beautiful quilt, and the black might not be so overpowering once quilted.

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  29. Let me add one other thing. There have been times when I've made a quilt and thought something was too strong, or maybe just not strong enough. But when I added the borders, like a frame on a picture, it all evened out in the end. So go with the borders and call it a day :-)

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  30. Oh Thelma, I audibly ahhhhed and ohhhhed this quilt!! LOVE this quilt and love the cornerstones!! If it were me, I would put a wee narrow black border and then a wide red border before binding! DO NOT rip this quilt apart...It is MAGNIFICENT!!
    P

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  31. Thelma, I actually love the black for this reason--the quilt is called Cornerstones and that's just what I see, the strong, black corners holding the squares in place; isn't that the definition of a cornerstone! I would add the black inner border and then, maybe the repeat the red, but I wouldn't rip it out. It's a beautiful quilt worthy of its name:-D

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  32. Do you have any more of the red border fabric? I would try laying the top over a narrow bit of the black and then a wider strip of the red (don't cut the fabric, just fold it to approximately the right width) so you can see how it would look with a narrow black border followed by a wider red border. I think that framing it with black may actually take your eye away from all the black cornerstones as they'll be rooted to the border. If that doesn't work how about a little appliqué or a (simple) embroidered flower in each square? Or a light-coloured button in each square, maybe lots of different buttons but all the same colour (i.e. different tones and styles but roughly the same size) so it looked like you'd got them out of an old button box that had been added to over the years...
    I hope that makes sense! Please, please don't choose option five - it's too lovely for that!

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  33. I was going to suggest exactly what paulette said. I think it's lovely.

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  34. No no no!!! LEAVE THEM. LOVE the contrast the black-black brings to the top. I think it makes the rest of it POP! To tie all together, add a narrow black border and another wider border but PLEASE leave them be. I think it looks sharp. Super Thelma! If you don't like it, I would be more than willing to take the quilt top off your hands. ;)

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  35. I love it as it is. The black doesn't overpower me. It's a nice contrast. I say add the borders as planned and call it a day.

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  36. I love the black cornerstones ! It does give it a beautiful warm civil war look I would go with option #1. PLEASE do not rip it apart. it is just too gorgeous . I agree with Paulette 100 % !

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  37. I like the cornerstones. If it really bothers you, though, maybe and inner or outer border of the darker gray/blue, green or teal background fabrics(can't tell which it is on my computer)combined with a red border might act to soften those blacks. Whatever you do, No. 5 is NOT an option! If that's what it comes to, send the flimsy to me - I'll love it as it is, I assure you!

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  38. I love the quilt as is also. To me the black makes the red in the quilt pop and makes it look exactly as it should. The baskets are not lost at all, but the colors keep your eye traveling over the quilt top. If it were my quilt, I would preview the black or the sashing color as a small outside border and see what that does to the overall look. it may change your mind. Good luck, hope you find an easier solution than ripping it out!

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  39. I love black - so this doesn't bother me. I say add some borders without the black and call it good. If you don't love it, give it away to someone who will! Don't unpick a thing and do not give up now! So much hard work shouldn't be wasted!

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  40. All that beautiful, beautiful work. I do see what you mean...the colors are all so soft and pretty and then the dark sharp black pops out instead. I have a quilt at the quilter now where I did something similar. Had it all together and the dark green squares decided to take over. I unpicked every one (only the squares not the whole quilt) and resewed. It was a little tricky on a whole quilt but I did it. I didn't enjoy it at all but forced myself to keep going and now I'm glad. I didn't have as many as you do and mine were a little bigger. My heart aches for you but I know you will make it beautiful. I love how you change things around and get so creative and come up with amazing quilts.

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  41. I like the black, and think it works very well here. I'd add the borders as planned, and if you really don't like it when all is said and done, give it to someone who does. That said, I know you've put a lot of work into it, and if you want to keep it yourself, you have to be happy with it. I know you'll find a solution that will please!

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  42. Well after reading all the suggestions before this one, my immediate thought is, "I'm glad I'm not Thelma!" I love the black cornerstones! I would add the black border... let it frame the quilt like a frame around a picture, because I think this quilt you have made is picture perfect!!! BUT, it is after all, your quilt! You need to finish in the way that YOU like best! Good luck!

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  43. What I would do is audition borders. What I would not do is rip it apart to replace the cornerstones. Since they are on the bias, they would more than likely be ruined. I actually like it. If you finish it and you still don't like it, you could have a give-away drawing. Or send it directly to me!!!!

    Seriously, I'm sorry this is causing you so much angst. I know that it isn't fun to have put so much work into something and not be happy with it.

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  44. The cornerstones don't bother me--they aren't even the thing I see first. I'd follow Miss Jean's advice and audition some borders. I'd likely try to work some black into them somewhere (even if just as binding), but it'd depend on the borders I figured out. It really looks just fine.

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  45. I think it looks beautiful! I'm with the first comment...send it to me :) Since that probably will not be option #6, I would lay out fabric for the small inner black border and then look for a red w/black fabric for the outer border to tie it together maybe Chateau Rouge. I would definitely play with the fabric and take pics before sewing it on. I think with the skinny black border it should soften it up. Kind of reminds me of the half square blocks in Eventide. Love it :)

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  46. I am sewing sashing for the same quilt. I have different fabric. I think the black is great. I would keep the black and remove the "red" cornerstone fabric. Unless you can add additional borders to calm down the corner stones. In the end it is your quilt. This quilt takes a fair amount of work so I would want you to be happy with the end result.

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  47. I think it's gorgeous just the way it is!!

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  48. Was a small black and "sashing fabric" checker an option for the inner border?

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  49. Just back from vacation this evening and thought I'd check your blog. I'm looking forward to seeing what you choose. I can picture you auditioning fabrics and making a thoughtful decision. Looking forward to hearing how to get to that decision - I always learn from you in these instances and your decision have always been completely spot on!

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  50. I loved reading the comments! I wish I could see the quilt and border choices in person... But you must finish it!!!

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  51. May I offer another 'solution' if you feel the black is too powerful, without taking the whole top apart again and using a different fabric for the squares? Why don't you applique another square on the black square? I do not mean completely over it, completely covering it, but in a 90 degree angle, so that the point of the applique square touches the middle of the seam of the black square (I could draw it in a second, or point it out by hand, but find it hard to explain in words and in English too, not my first language). A square in a square. That way you will take away some of the strength of the overpowering black and you do not have to take apart the whole top and put it back together again...

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  52. The new square would be with a lighter fabric obviously, one that is already used in the quilt, to make it all come together. Sorry, forgot that part.

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  53. I think your quilt looks very beautiful, even with the black corner stones. I would choose a dark brown inner border, and maybe use a brown thread to cool the black ones down when you quilt them. You could add a needle turn applique on top of them rather than ripping everything out...
    Good luck on choosing the way!
    Happy weekend,
    Laila

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  54. Unless this an heirloom quilt for your first granddaughter, I would pick one of the options that says add this and call it done. It is a great quilt with a lot of fabrics... my fav.

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  55. I agree with she who suggested that you try laying it out with different border options and photographing them. The camera allows you to step back and actually see the blending of color and tone...the best way to view fine art is from a distance afterall...and that is precisely what you have created.
    Perhaps there is a less drastic way to resolve your issue with the black..such as softening it with a small applique circle or selecting a variety of vintage buttons in creams tans and browns and give the quilt a tufted look.
    Please don't relegate it to the unloved pile...you've already put so much of your heart into it. Its the season of sharing...and would be a lovely gift for someone special in your life...or me...

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  56. Dear Thelma, you have made a beautiful quilt. I. like most of the ladies who left a comment, do clearly read the black corner stones as "black" but I also think that this is the point - they punctuate the quilt setting. Honestly, I do not experience them as "too black". Still, if this is how you perceive them and would like to get rid of the excessive blackness you see, intense quilting with a lighter thread would quite easily take care of that.
    Good luck and please, do not rip it out ;-) !

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  57. It's not too black for me as I'm into the prim style. I would add a small black border then a brighter outer border, like one of the reds. If all esle fails you can mail it to me.

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  58. Thelma, your black junction squares are my favorite feature. Really! I think they keep your baskets from looking flat, or too same-ish intensity. The black is the sparkle to me.

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  59. Sometimes an outer border using a print with lots of the same black can really look stunning and you get to have the joy of fabric shopping at the same time.

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  60. I like it. I don't think the cornerstones are too overpowering. They keep your eyes moving around the quilt to the different basket blocks. I suggest using the black as a tiny inner border (the same width as the cornerstones) then using your border fabric. Don't be too hard on yourself or the quilt :)

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  61. I find the cornerstones a bit strong but it's still a lovely quilt. I like the idea of appliqueing another square over the cornerstones but I also like the idea you had of adding a black border; that will tie the black together. The quilt is beautiful!

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  62. I love it the way it is, and would love to see a black inner border. Yes, my eye is first drawn to the black, but hey, I LOVE black!
    You have done a great job!
    Gael of Pink-a-Palooza

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  63. In the picture the black looks good to me, add just a thin black inner border, then a larger outer border. Have you tried "Distress It" by Hooked on Rugs? I don't know if it would work on black or not, but it might soften the black for you? Looking forward to seeing what you decide!

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  64. When you quilt the top, you could use white or light gray thread and quilt a small design that would lighten the cornerstone block.

    Judy

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