Tuesday, April 24, 2018

Modified En Provence

En Provence: Tweaked

Bonnie Hunter is a favorite of mine. I love her books, her blog, and when her En Provence quilt along came around a year ago, I convinced a friend to join me. It was a mystery quilt along, too. Ooo-o-o! Exciting! So off we went collecting our fabrics. I did not choose the suggested palette, but used what I had the most of in my stash and scraps. Lots and lots of warm colored pinks, oranges, and violets, low volume background in a wide range, and navy-like blue. We sewed our little hearts out each week with the new clue, and it was fun to feel the camaraderie of the big group. When the big reveal came out, I thought, "Meh. My values are completely reversed." A little broken hearted at that point, I packed my thousands of pieces away, and said I would figure it out another day. (I'm lying. It just felt like a thousand, but there were a lot of pieces!)

What I Learned from That Lesson

1. I don't like Mystery Quilts. Value is a big deal to me, and I need more control if I'm putting the energy and money in a big quilt.

2. There is never a great time for an intensive quilt along. I get frustrated falling behind.

Pulled from the PUPs Stack:
Pile of Unloved Projects 

Another day came the minute my design wall was empty, and I reached for the enormous box in my PUPs. Pile of Unloved Projects. Everything was still neatly sorted, and I still didn't know how I would make it into a quilt.

I started laying out the pink and blue pieces, and pulled stack after stack of fabric to find a color to make it work. Zilch. Finally I pinned this rainbow of yardage up, and eyeballed colors from it. It needed a green, but a warm green. 

The view from across the room always looks different.

Other Posts You Will Enjoy on 
En Provence Progress

My daughter and I stood there for the longest time swaying between, "It kind of works," and, "That's just awful." But quite honestly, I was out of ideas, and I just wanted this done.

I also added the QST pieces of violet, pink, and white to fill in the remaining holes. I looked it over a dozen times for any mistakes as each block is a 3.5" square, labelled with my number system, and chain pieced it in a long afternoon. 

Ready to sew!

 Did You See It Before Now?
I Did Not.

Done and on the wall for a last shot, I saw it for the first time. The rogue HST, and it was even hot pink! How did I miss that, and why would it even matter? Well, the whole thing was growing on me by this point. This was not the most endearing quilt I had ever constructed, but I remembered the fun of each new clue, and talking about it with my friends. The low volume fabrics still looked a bit off color with the range of neutral tones, but that drew attention to the background. I had never used that technique before. And working with a strong secondary pattern is really a dance with your colors and values, and I had learned a great deal about making it work. Making this quilt taught me what a book could not.

Remember the 1,000 pieces comment?

The finished top is 52" square. I have plenty of the original pieces left for another this size, and there may still be a good many at the end. I'm pushing on through the backlog of old projects, and keep nudging my ending date ahead. Honestly, it may be 2019 at this pace, but I'm okay with that. How is your year of digging out of PUPs/UFO's/WIP's going? 

Come on, Doxie girls.
We have a HST to tear out today.


Sherrill said...

I'm with you..don't like mystery quilts. I got lucky with the one and only Bonnie mystery I participated in..Easy Street!! Used her colors so it was good. Generally when I see a quilt I love, I want to make it pretty much exactly like the one I saw. I don't usually pick my own colors; just not good at that. Took me a few min. to find the culprit! LOL

Barb Neiwert said...

I don't like Mystery Quilts either! I did finish one last year, Summer Solstice with Pat Sloan. Queen sized, no less! I enjoyed making the blocks, but I don't like the colors I chose, and how they flow together. So that's my last! Too darn much work when you don't know the outcome. Too funny about that pink stray in your quilt. I think the elves put it in there.....

Alycia~Quiltygirl said...

I think it turned out really great. The black makes those colors just brighter - I hope you enjoy using it!!

Unknown said...

I love this stubborn pink HST.

Rebecca Grace said...

You know, when I looked at your first photo before reading your post, I was immediately struck by how masterfully you achieved impactful value and color placement with a variety of print fabrics, and how much I LOVED the slight "shimmer" I'm getting from your mostly-neutral background prints. And I don't mind the rogue pink HST either. It's the Emperor's New Clothes, girlfriend -- we fools don't notice a thing. ;-) I agree with your conclusions about mystery quilts. I'd rather eat mystery meatloaf in a school cafeteria!

Home Sewn By Us said...

Hi Julie,
I have found that I do not enjoy mystery quilts either. I want to like them - but alas, not for me. I saw your first picture and it drew me in. I think it turned out great on its own merit. Who cares if it doesn't resemble Bonnie's? The values may be different from what she designed, but no biggie. I had to giggle about that ONE stray hot pink HST. How that was missed is a mystery but it is a cute little signature block. I hope you haven't removed it!
~smile~ Roseanne

Judy Hansen said...

Hi Julie,

I've come to the same conclusion as you have with mystery quilts. Now I copy the clues, and wait to see if I like the quilt before I begin. The fun of doing it with so many others is lost, but the agony of trying to make it work when I am finishing it up is completely gone. You have made it work out, and I like the results.

TYhanks for linking with Design Wall Monday, I appreciate you.

I think there is an error in your link-up though.....it doesn't link back to Small Quilts and Doll Quilts. Thanks in advance for fixing it. Judy

Anja @ Anja Quilts said...

I think it looks great. And the rogue HST just gives it some personality. ☺ I'm not moving as quickly through my list, but I have a detailed list of all projects in my sewing room and what needs to be done. I'm sure it will be well into 2019 before I get close to the end. And that's if I stop starting new stuff. ha ha ha

PaulaB quilts said...

I gave up on En Provence partway through making the 60/20's. No more mysteries for me either. I should have looked at Bonnie's other Quilts before starting. Her style is way too busy for me. However, yours has great contrast, including the warm and cool darks. The size you made is just right and the neutral border gives it rest. A lovely finish, including the HST.

mangozz said...

I really love the way your quilt came out! The colors are beautiful together and the background neutrals look great too. I didn't even notice that pink HST until you mentioned an error and then it took me awhile to find it. Maybe it was meant to be there after all that happened with this quilt, unless you're like me and your eyes will always be drawn to it. I never made a mystery quilt before Bonnie's Allietare, 3 years ago. Then I did En Provence, my favorite, and On Ringo Lake which I still haven't assembled due to not having a design wall (no space). I'm not crazy about the idea of not knowing how the colors will be arranged until the end, and I did change the colors to suit myself and my stash. But they are a lot of fun and if I hadn't kept up with the clues and sewn along with everyone else, I never would have attempted to make one. Sew many tiny pieces! And since I pretty much just used my stash, I didn't feel like I was wasting fabric. It wasn't being used anyways.

Cynthia Brunz Designs said...

Great job turning lemons into lemonade. Your new layout looks fantastic. Thanks for sharing with Oh Scrap!

KaHolly said...

Another brilliant post, Julie! You go a long way in building up my confidence as a Quilter with your honesty and insights. I belong to the 'I don’t like mystery quilts club', too, and have never done one. It’s difficult enough to keep up with BOMs when I know from the very beginning what the quilt will look like! I’ve enjoyed reading through all the comments, too. And this finish? It’s brilliant, my dear!

Linda Swanekamp said...

I had the experience with one of Bonnie's mystery quilts a number of years ago. Got all the units on the wall and to my horror, it looked like food processing blades coming at me. Instead of the smart thing you did and reconfigured it, I mailed all the pieces to Sarah Craig for her quilt ministry and someone reconfigured it into a couple of quilts. No more mysteries for me. Your design looks great.

audrey said...

I really, really like how this looks! The green seems to be a perfect choice. I love that mental process of 'Ughh' to 'this is the best choice' and then it all sort of grows on us till it's the ONLY choice! lol I haven't made any of Bonnie's quilts, but this sort of value problem has happened to me many, many times through the years. Makes me so frustrated and convinced that I'm a total moron. The funny thing is, some of those quilts have later turned out to be my favorites as I've finally addressed the problem and turned things around. Didn't look anything like what I wanted it to originally, but maybe, even better? hehe Love the quilting process so much, ups and downs, warts and magical moments.:)

Kate said...

Oooh, pretty. The palette is very different from Bonnie's, but it works so well. I do mysteries to use up older stash fabrics. Yes I have a few disaster quilts from a couple of the mysteries, but we all need quilts we don't mind if the kids use them to sit on the floor with popcorn and chocolate. One thing I have learned about Bonnie's mysteries, is that getting behind isn't a bad thing. It gives you a chance to decide at the reveal if you really like where your project is going or if you want to go in a different direction. Then you don't end up with all those parts and pieces to figure out what to do with. Congrats on getting another older project off your to do list.

Connie Kresin Campbell said...

Your quilt is beautiful! I have made several mystery quilts but have to admit they aren't my favorite. I can't tell you how many times I have done just what you did......ending up with a square the wrong way. Have fun with the rest of your quilting

Christine Slaughter said...

I'm not a fan of mystery quilts either; I really do like to know up front how things are going to look before I start cutting. On the other hand, I'm always intrigued by the mystery quilts and have a desire to start one every year anyway. It's a strange struggle within myself! I really do love how yours turned out though! And I didn't see that rogue square until you mentioned it! Funny too, you'd think it would catch your eye with that pop of pink.

Sandy Panagos said...

I don't like mystery quilts either. You sure did a great job of making it your own. That's what I like to do.