Wednesday, September 19, 2018

Hurdy Gurdy QAL Part One - Fabric Selection and Accordion Practice

So you've decided to join us for the Hurdy Gurdy QAL! That's because you are a seeker of fun and an owner of fine taste in quilt patterns. As I am a purveyor of both fun and quilt patterns, I feel like maybe we were meant for each other. Yay us!

Part one of part one - Dive into those fabrics!

I know most of you likely are all set to go with the book, and that is great! If you don't yet have the book, and if you can't find it in your LQS (many have it! Ask them first!) or you may buy it right from my site. If all else fails, it is available on Amazon. It's all up to you!

Because the book is required for the QAL, I will not be referring to any sizes or amounts of any fabrics to be cut, as you will have that information already. I definitely will be referring to various pages and sections, so you'll need it handy!

As with any project, color and fabric selection is generally the first big hurdle. Especially when it comes to scrappy quilts, quilters can tend to be overwhelmed. Some of us feel like we are really pretty good at choosing color combos and fabrics that sing together like the Vienna boys choir, and others of us feel like we sometimes end up with fabrics that sing more like a group of cats in the dumpster behind the pizza joint while there is a full moon.  The keys to the city of Vienna is a really awesome combination of just a few colors, IMO.
I got 99 fabrics and only matched one...or thirteen.

"Hurdy Gurdy" as seen in the book was my first attempt at a teal and red quilt. Those who know my style and color loves know that you've likely never seen me use red. I'm just not a fan. It's never done it for me. The whole teal/red fad of several years ago in more modern quilting passed me by, and I didn't even care. But for some reason I was all about giving it a shot this time around, and I kind of loved it! It's all about the contrast of a warm color with a cool color that makes the teal/red combo really work. Think about other cool/warm combos - purple/orange might look like a sunset, green/red is obviously Christmas, green/pink is every sorority girl's favorite, and maroon/yellow is fall in a quilt. I know you'll think of more.

Once I've chosen my color scheme, when choosing my actual fabrics I go with my philosophy of "consistency in the chaos," which can be described as "choose a few, use a slew." Choose a few colors - in the case of Hurdy Gurdy, Color One and Color Two - and then grab every single fabric you own that is of those colors. Every. Single. One. You can pare down later, but having more to choose from at the beginning means you might actually use more in the blocks, because you're going to discover fabrics you forgot you even had. I'm a huge fan of using a different fabric for every "chevron" shape in each block, and that's a lot of different fabrics. We can be real - I did reuse reds and teals in multiple blocks, but each block of my quilt does have all unique reds and teals. I encourage it. We are being scrappy here! Your consistency will come from the color theme, and I promise it's going to look amazing!

It's possible I've never loved a photo backdrop more.
As you'll see in the cutting charts on pages 51 and 56, you'll also need a background fabric and a contrast popper. I went with a light silvery grey for background and a navy for the popper, once again just because I was looking for high contrast in value. My tester/sample makers made completely different color choices, both from myself and from each other, and I love that! You can see both Linda's and Barbara's quilts on page 56 as well. So many more options to think about!

I've mentioned I'll be going with a table runner size as I too participate in the QAL, because I am my own biggest fan. Because I like to mix it up, I'm going with less contrast in my fabric and color value selections.  This time around I've opted for reds and oranges as my Color One and Color Two, which one might argue are really just two ends of the same spectrum. In my case, for this project, that's totally the point, because I'm going for making these blocks look like autumn leaves turning. I know, go ahead and laugh at me trying to be all artsy. But I have a vision, and by gosh, I'm going to go with that vision no matter what!

While I don't need you to cut your fabrics until the next tutorial, I'm showing you mine cut because I can get them all in one photo that way. I'm all about efficiency. I'm liking how they are definitely red and orange, but also kind of blendy. It's going to be a different look, but I think it's going to work. It's also going to be perfect for a thought I have about switching up the accordion order (OMG! Can she DO that? Yep. My pattern, my quilt, my rules!) so we will see if all these visions in my head work into reality like I hope.

For the contrast color, I decided to go with deep purple, which to me is for sure an autumn color. I found a gorgeous rich purple in my scrap bin, but even eyeballing I knew it wasn't going to be QUITE enough for all of the contrast squares I was going to need. Enter the "consistency in the chaos" philosophy as related to value. I found another deep purple which had enough to get me to the magic number, and it could not have been more perfectly matched in value. Just a little different print. NO ONE WILL CARE. If I am wrong about this, I'm certain I'm right about the fact that I am not going to care if they do care. Because once again, in my world, scrappy means lots and lots of fabrics.

Want to know a secret? All those navys in my original Hurdy Gurdy quilt? There are seven different fabrics represented. You'd never have known, though, would you? I give you a close up that you can zoom in on if you need to see a few of them.

You might even notice I did the same thing with my background fabrics. Several beiges, all pretty much the same tone and value but different prints. Totally legal! Uses up scraps!

So again, no need to cut yet, but I hope some of these thoughts help you look at your fabric with fresh eyes as you are contemplating your quilts!

Part two of Part One - Practice makes semi-perfect!

I dare to dream that since you purchased "Oompah!" you've done nothing but accordion sew your little faces off. But this may not be true, because you may have been too busy just living your lives without me and my ideas at the centers of them. So now is the time. I always recommend that before you start your first official ordered accordion project, which you are doing by making Hurdy Gurdy, you have a basic understanding and skill level making any sort of accordion at all. You'll be happier, I'll be happier for you, and you're going to get hooked, so it's a huge win for all of us.

I definitely recommend reading the entire introduction section of the book if you haven't already. If nothing else, it is delightfully snarky while being incredibly informative, much like this blog. You might well learn something new, even if you've accordioned with me before accordioning was cool. Starting on page 7, though, are the true get down to business directions for making a basic accordion.

Practice fabrics don't have to be to your taste!
I love using charm packs or random scrappy charm squares I never did anything with for practice (or in my case, for teaching the method in classes). It's a great way to use up stuff you really didn't know how you were going to ever use, and they are already cut for you. I was recently gifted a fat ton of charm squares that must have been from some kind of swap, and I am pretty much set for life on precut squares. If you aren't so lucky, just cut like ten and follow the step by step directions - watch the videos, too! Links on page 7! - and you'll be accordioning like a champ! 

I recommend making one accordion, in any order, about 10-15 fabrics long to practice. Obviously, between the book and videos you are going to be perfect, but page 11's chart about troubleshooting is there in the off chance that you mess up. Make sure you practice cutting it all apart, too! 

 Ok, so that's pretty much it for the first lesson. We are easing in and I can't wait to see what you come up with. If you haven't joined the Quilting Along with EPQD group on FB, I'd love to have you check it out. It's new, but I'm hoping this QAL will kick it off in style. It's meant to be a place where anyone can share anything about this or any of my other QALs or mysteries (more of those coming very soon because holy! I have so enjoyed doing them!) and post photos directly. I really hope you'll post some of your color combos and practice accordion photos before our next lesson next week!

I also have the hastag #hurdygurdyqal for IG, so please hashtag away!

Enjoy, and I'll see you next on 9/26!

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