Saturday, January 8, 2011

I can take it....

Good morning, experts.

I come to you asking for your opinions and suggestions.  I always make a practice block before starting a big project and if Lollypops isn't a big project, I don't know what is.  It was particularly important to make a sample or two to see if I even remembered how to applique since I've only done a few quilt labels in the last few years.

The bottom sample came first and is the fabric I bought for LPs.  I wanted some color and no directional print.   I like it OK but kept thinking and decided to try black after seeing some of the recent posts which blew me away.

The top sample is a Marcus Brothers deep, deep black with ginkgo leaves (can you see them).  I fell in love with it when I saw it and bought the entire bolt.  I simply had to have it all!!!!  I love the contrast with the black (altho it certainly attracts lint!).  What I don't love is the show through on the pieces.  The bodies of the LPs still have freezer paper in them -- the heads don't.  I've cut away the background on the orange one on the left and you can see the shadows.  The others still have the background intact and you can see the seam allowances which I fear will be more pronounced with a lite batting. 

So -- I'm stumped. I can always keep searching for the perfect background (I certainly need to keep practicing my circles when I look at these up close) or I'm open to your suggestions.  This will be a work in progress for a long time and I would hate to be 1/2 through and decide I've made a big boo-boo.  In the end, I'll choose one or the other (or another) and get started but decided to bare my blocks to you all for any suggestions.  One of the things I admire about you all is that you provide constructive feedback and don't just say "it's lovely" and nothing else.  So -- I can take it.  Thanks a bundle.



  1. I happen to REALLY like the color POP on the black ginkgo background. Any shadowing you see is too subtle for me to notice. Honest.

    You are right though, that black background collects lint, pet hair, fuzz and such like a magnet. My RA panel has quite a collection of its own. ; )

    I don't know if you are aware that may batts are available in black or dark grey. That might solve your concern over a dark background and light batt. I look forward to your choices and reading comments from others. Thanks, Jan!

  2. I have to say the dark background really grabs my attention! It seems to make the colors look more intense? I like the subtle Ginko print too.
    I can faintly see the shadowing through on some pieces, but it's not very noticeable or off-putting to me. In fact, I didn't notice it until you pointed it out and I looked for it. If you go with the black I think you'll find that some fabrics are thicker or different weave and there won't be any shadow and on others if it's real noticeable, just trim the back away?
    I love the dark, so if it were me, I'd go forward with it. Quilting around your shapes will make them lift away from the top a bit too, reducing the shadow effect?
    Your applique looks nice to me..and by the time you're done you'll be an expert at the circles. ;)

  3. I agree...go with the black. I have several projects that I've done with black backgrounds and love the outcome (just ignore the lint/fur until you're done). I would suggest sticking with the light colored batting if you are cutting away backing of light colored shapes. The dark color increases the emphasis on the turn line. Speaking of which...don't worry about the shadows...they just add some shading to the shape and frankly are only noticeable when you are arm length away. Once it's made up, everyone (including you) will only notice the overall design.

  4. I agree the black is wonderful. I wouldn't cut out the back, just let the shadows add to the interest.

  5. I love that black Gingko fabric, Jan! And it definitely makes the colors pop. I don't think the photo shows the shadowing as much as it might show in person. And I myself don't really like shadowing in my own work. I did some green leaves where the darker fabric shadowed under the lighter fabric. The Applique Club I belong to did not see that as an issue and thought it added interest. But they did offer some ideas about inserting a lining with an additional layer of fabric (such as muslin) before completing the stitching on any questionable piece. I don't know that I would want to do that for every appliqued piece and what if the lining fabric slipped later?, but it's a thought. Have you looked closely at anyone else's black backgrounds to see if there's shadowing? As for the lint, pet hair, etc., that wouldn't worry me enough not to use it.

  6. I'm not a member of this blog (can't do pictures!) but love it anyway. I like the black, too. When I applique a light-colored fabric onto a dark one, sometimes I, too, use a piece of muslin behind the applique piece. I usually just baste the muslin down with a long hand stitch (only takes a few minutes), and that way it won't slip. Obviously wouldn't want to do every applique piece that way - it would take too long - so don't worry too much about it. Good luck - it looks great to me!
    Kathy Webb

  7. Loooove the dark background!

    I’m not a member of this blog either. I will start working on my Lollypops quilt within a month. Today I bought a very dark grey marbled kind of solid, because I was inspired by the lovely pictures on this blog.

  8. Another vote for the black. The drama of it can't be denied.
    But Jan--what's going to make YOU happy? Which version makes you excited when you look at it? Like you said (and we're all in agreement here) it's a huge project. But it's YOUR project. So go with whatever is going to give you the most pleasure.
    And here's another thing just to throw out there:
    Who says the background has to be the same fabric for all of the blocks? Anyone?

  9. I love the black, too. I made a "folk" quilt with Matroyshka (did I completely murder that spelling?)dolls and never gave the shadowing a thought.Now that you point it out, I see what you are saying, but when I looked at the photo I thought it was camera angle otherwise I would not have noticed it. But again, as Linda said, what will make YOU happy? Will you forever and always look at it and wish you had done something different? My hubby once told me "do what you want just don't in the end say 'this is what I wanted but this is what I got'." You decide what you want this project to look like and if you can put shadowing out of your mind then do it. If not, then do the muslim underlay on lighter pieces. Good luck and can't wait to see it as it progresses!

  10. Stay with the black and use a black batting. If you're worried about shadowing, you can place a piece of interfacing behind the applique.
    Your colors really pop!

  11. I love the Ginko fabric a lot and it sounds like you really want to use it so I say do it. I enlarged the photo and I really can't see any shadowing at all. I wouldn't bother cutting out the back, it'll just accentuate the seam allowance.

  12. Well, I would definitely go with the black fabric. You have to think out of the box with this design. Allow yourself to be as creative and you can be.....

  13. The black is definitely the best choice. But I am afraid the only solution is lining all the appliqué parts that will likely shine through. A lot of extra work, but I think worth it!

  14. The black is a lovely design. I've never worked on anything that dark, but I have lined a few pieces that were on darker pieces with a very lightweight muslin to prevent the show through. Best of luck with your decision!

  15. Jan,

    I also like the way that the block fabric pops the colors; and the pattern on the black gives enough interest to make it very attractive as a background. I enlarged the photo you provided and I didn't see any of the shadowing that you see in person. I vote for the black (as it sounds the consensus does) however, it might be worth while to think about using the dark print fabrics in your applique. The top second from the right blends in enough that you loose the round-ness of it and that is the charm of this pattern. My two cents worth. Can't wait to see your first block!