Because I Can

You know the questions that are always asked at the end of “Inside the Actor’s Studio?” One of them is, “What turns you on?”

My answer to that would be: “Color.”

I get a thrill out of playing with color. With watching how colors affect each other, how one color can be a light color and then a dark color, depending on the other colors you put with it. And how the characteristics of that color can change as its neighboring colors change.

My absolute favorite color is probably orange. That and lime green are the colors I seem to gravitate towards when I’m making quilts…. To the point that Jerry started making fun of my lust for brights by naming all of my quilts with some sort of mocking title (“Again With the Orange,” “Not Enough Orange,” and “Oh! My Eyes are Bleeding!” are some of his titles)… My favorite colors to wear are orange (which I wear Because I Can — those of us that can actually wear orange are apparently rare, but it’s one of my best colors) and lime green, too. I probably have about 4-5 orange shirts and at least that many lime green ones. It’s a disease.

This past week, I’ve been working on a quilt that will be a 40th birthday present for a friend. There are 16 fabrics in the quilt, arranged roughly according to value (lightness/darkness). She chose 6 of the fabrics based on the colors in her home (she chose fabrics 2, 4, 7, 8, 10, and 12 in the run shown below), and I supplemented with the other 10. The oranges were my contribution, of course, because I felt that the fabrics needed a shock of color to make the quilt interesting, and what better way to do that than with my trademark color?

color run

Once I put the blocks together, I started playing with them on the design wall. What was fun to me was seeing how the same exact blocks could provide such different results, just based on placement. (Ignore the quilt in the background — my “design wall” is simply a chunk of extra batting pinned to another quilt that’s hanging in our living room — the blocks stay up just using friction, which is great when you’re experimenting with different design possibilities.)

gradient in frame

And then….

simple gradient with spillover

I liked how the shards of orange found their way elsewhere in the quilt, making it seem like light is hitting ridges and spilling over into corners, making the quilt “sing.” This kind of stuff makes me happy. (And yes — colors have sound… taste… feeling… it’s not just visual for me. Never has been)

Of course, I had helpers. Alice and Helen both like to get involved when I play on the design wall, which can be very frustrating when I’m planning a complex design or colorwash. But we all had fun anyway.

Alice on the Design Wall

Girls on Design Wall

The final design decision was made (and I’m not telling you which it was, either), and the quilt top is all sewn together now. So now I just need to make the back (or buy yardage for the back) and move to the next step.

And I have a feeling I’ll be doing another one of these quilts very soon. Maybe in all yellows and oranges. With a splash of lime green.

One thought on “Because I Can”

  1. Can I put my order in for a quilt for my 40th? I really LOVE your work, E, always have! Your ability to put colors together and have them work and look good is truly a gift!

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