Saturday, January 11, 2014

The Value of Viewing a Quilt in Semi-Darkness Aha! Tip #2

Note:  I've been without my laptop for 2.5 days, so I did this post on my iPad and it worked out great except for inserting the pictures!  One picture was no longer on my iPad, as I'd downloaded into my iPhoto, and the others I could only have gotten if they were uploaded into Flickr, which they weren't.

If you haven't heard of a Ruby Beholder, then check out that link. They are great. I got my first one back in that Shady Corner Watercolour class I mentioned last post. It removes the colour so all you see are the value changes in the quilt. This will show you blobs of dark or light areas that you might not notice until your quilt is hanging on a wall or lying on a bed, and suddenly a massive blob that detracts from the overall beauty of your quilt appears....and drives you to distraction, and possibly to hating your quilt...but I exaggerate.

Another great trick I learned in that class is to view your quilt in the semi-darkness, as this will yield virtually the same, if not better result, since you can see your whole quilt, full-size, without squinting. The one disadvantage to the Ruby Beholder is that it doesn't read red, since it is red, so this method avoids that problem. Since my Turning Twenty quilt is similar to a watercolour quilt in that I want a colourwash feel, I did this a couple of evenings ago before I sewed all twenty blocks together. Here is the picture I took. It is dark, but remember I want the value, not the colour to show.

Here is half of the Turning Twenty quilt, on the design wall (Fons and Porter portable one - just great, but only 60" wide, available at Jo-Ann's Fabrics) assembled with the Book It method. The black 'box' at the bottom of these pics is my stereo with my iPhone docked in it.  I know my sister will probaby ask!

And, here is the entire centre, ready for borders. Sorry for the streak of sunshine. Three days now with virtually no sun is unusual here on the southwest suncoast of Florida, but wouldn't you know it, the sun came out right when I took this! It is already too big for my design wall so I had to lay it on the floor.  I can't decide if I am going to put the 6.5" final borders on.  They are optional.  It's the same fabric as the block centres, so it will pull it all together, but I don't want it to be too brown.  Think I'll lay it out and see if it "talks" to me as to yay or nay.  That will make it 82.5X98.5".

Do you get the pun in the title of this post now? ;-)

Stay tuned for more Aha! tips coming up very soon.


  1. Never mind the black 'box', are those CHOCOLATES stashed behind the speaker? If so, what kind?? LOL!
    That streak of sunshine looks FANTASTIC in that pic!! Forget semi-gloom and darkness sister lol!
    Not having quilting lingo as part of my daily vocabulary, (gasp!), I did indeed follow your Ruby Beholder link, which left me in the dark. So to speak LOL. Googling the term "value" in a quilting context informed me that this really means whether colours contrast or not (I believe). I thought the naked eye determined that? Huh!

  2. LOLOL!! Trust you oh observant sister of mine, to find something bizarre, and of paramount interest, in a picture! Yup They are Belgian truffles, won in a Yankee Christmas exchange at our condo Christmas party. To DIE for. I haven't had any since a student gave me some for a Christmas present and I savoured them over an entire year!
    Yes, the colours disappear when viewed through the red plexiglass(?) so you see the shading from light to dark. A red piece of acetate will work too. If you have one laying about, ha.

  3. I totally get it!!! Not only I get the pun in the title, I am familiar with that technique. It happened by accident. One morning, I got up and walked into the room with my design wall. The design wall had the Plus Quilt blocks on it. Before I turned on the light, my eyes fell on the design wall. I realized that I could see very well all plus blocks save one. It was low value - too pale. I took that block apart and changed the fabric to darker, brighter one. I learned the value of viewing things in semi-darkness.
    Thank you for the long comment on my Plus Quilt! Loved it. Hugs to you!!!


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