Misunderstood Quilt

Quite the name, right?  Inspired by my favorite Pandora station and one of my favorite musicians, an afternoon of sewing and quiet contemplation lead to this quilts name. Keep reading. 

I started forming a plan for this quilt towards the end of 2019 but it took its time to fully develop. As March approached, the idea really started to gel in my mind so when the entire world stopped in its tracks on Friday, March 13, 2020 and I thought, well, if I’m home for two weeks in quarantine (little did I know, huh?) then I should make this quilt.

I knew I wanted the quilt to have a blue to white ombré effect so I pulled out all the appropriate blue, white, blue and white, and more! fabrics. Once I felt I had a cohesive color story, I began to cut triangles so I could make my Flying Geese blocks.

My preferred method of making Flying Geese blocks is to make fast Flying Geese – a method of making Flying Geese blocks using squares instead of triangles. You use one large square for your “geese” and smaller blocks for the air around them. This is my preferred method and I actually devote an entire chapter about how I make these blocks in my book, Piecing Makeover (C&T, 2016).

For this quilt I felt like cutting the triangles ahead of time would give me more flexibility to blend the fabrics.

After the pieces were cut, I grouped the triangles into three categories: light, medium and dark. Easy, right? The difficult part was making sure I sewed the blocks together so I could get the ombréd look I wanted. This was fairly time consuming but the results are worthwhile. 

I grouped larger and smaller triangles by color using the following format:
large light value triangles to small light value triangles
large light value triangles to small medium value triangles 
large light value triangles to small dark value triangles

large medium value triangles to small light value triangles
large medium value triangles to small medium value triangles (needed the most of these)
large medium value triangles to small dark value triangles

large dark value triangles to small light value triangles
large dark value triangles to small medium value triangles
large dark value triangles to small dark value triangles (needed the fewest of these)

Once your Flying Geese blocks are made you can start to assemble the quilt on a design wall. You can start with any color combination and work from there. I chose to go from light to dark but the inverse is also possible, or start with medium and work your way out. It’s really what appeals to you. There is no right or wrong way – do what makes you happy!

Because the geese are made by grouping color/value you *should* be able to easily transition from one block or set of blocks to the next. Don’t be afraid to put some weird color combinations together – they might just blend! For my quilt, the medium value to medium value blocks made up a significant portion of the quilt but it might be different for your quilt if you want to highlight lighter fabrics.

When you put geese on your design wall (floor, bed, ironing board, etc) be sure to put up some blocks then stand back to see the layout. You will see blocks you don’t like more easily from afar. Taking photos and converting them to black and white can also help with color placement, especially when the quilt highlights value. I used a lot of the smaller geese blocks for transitions and to fill any wonky spaces.

Of note, I used quilting cotton, linen, and cotton lawn in this quilt. Focus more on color than a particular pattern. I have Kaffe Fassett, 30s reproduction fabrics, Liberty of London lawn, batik, etc. but they all work because the colors play nicely. There are a few analogous (colors on the color wheel that are next to each other) fabrics in here, too (I see you, purple!). I have a purple and white polka dot, but there’s purple in some of the Kaffe and other fabrics in here so I can easily blend as I move from light to dark and back. When you use as many fabrics as are in here the design on the fabric is a little less important as long as the color story works. 

Oh, and the name? I posted the image of my quilt on one of my social media platforms and received feedback from friends asking if the name was this or that. It wasn’t ANY of those names but did get me thinking about what I would name the quilt. Anyhow, one day I was listening to Taylor Swifts Pandora station and jamming out to Pink’s song, Just Like a Pill. As I was dancing around (with my iron, probably not smart), I glanced down at the album name when I hit rewind and boom! That’s how my quilt was named Misunderstood. 

Unrelated to the quilt but I want to take a moment to note this for posterity or something, MANY years ago, an Atlanta magazine had a HUGE event at the Fox Theatre. I was lucky enough to be invited and yes, I thought I was a complete rockstar (not literally, my sewing is FAR better than my singing and I firmly believe we ALL have talents). Anyhow, that evening, I received a copy of Pink’s debut album (well, her cd that was, unfortunately, stolen when someone decided they needed to take the cd player from my car). Anyhow, I listened to the cd and instantly fell in love! She’s legit one of my favorite artists so it gave me great joy to name a quilt after her album.

Published by Patty Murphy

Designer. Quilter. Fabric Hoarder.

3 thoughts on “Misunderstood Quilt

  1. Your work is beautiful! I was inspired by the dancing around while designing to the music that hits with you. I am a past cake decorator. I remember my husband at the time telling me I was dancing while listening to my favorite music at the time while placing sugar flowers on a large wedding cake. So your dancing made me smile. This is (I think) when we are really connecting with our creativity deep inside us. (78 now ) and don’t do cakes anymore, but did receive national recognition which is nice to think back on, but the fun of doing these things is much more important. I also call this whatever floats your boat! Beautiful boat going there Patty! And just think of the work you going on and on and enjoyed by many!

  2. please feel ok about correcting my grammar in the last sentence! work you are doing going on and on and enjoyed by so many! And now teaching other quilters to make theirs as beautiful!

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