18 February 2010

The Quiet Quilt

I love a good snowfall.
I love how it blankets everything, quieting it down and smoothing it out.
It calms me.

This little stinker loves snow, too.

But for different reasons.

Rock on, Buzz!

As this snow fell last week, I looked out my window and said to myself, "I've got to finish the binding on the Quiet Quilt, it will look perfect if I photograph it out in this snow."
And so I did.

I present to you, the Quiet Quilt:

The design is mine.  The choice in fabrics was inspired by Malka Dubrawsky's "low volume" work (which I have mentioned before and you can read about here).

I paid a local long arm quilter to do the quilting for me.  Lovely work, no? 

So tell, me, what do you think of the lack of balance in this quilt?

"Balance" is one of the traditional quilting obsessions that I sometimes wonder about.  I mean, why does everything have to be balanced? 

I see people talking about balancing geometric patchwork with curvy quilting.

I see people struggling to balance the distribution of hue and saturation as they arrange fabrics within a block and blocks within a quilt top.

There is the continual reliance on symmetry, another type of balance.

When I was laying out the Quiet Quilt and I landed on this configuration, I could immediately see that it wasn't balanced.  But I really liked it.  So I made no attempt to balance it.  Not it terms of color distribution, not in terms of value, not even in terms of where a particular print popped up.  All of these elements are clumpily, lumpily, unevenly distributed.  And the design is not symmetrical.  So so wrong.  And yet, to me, right.
Is the drive for balance something modern quilters might be willing to question?  Next time you are playing around with a quilt, will you give some unbalanced arrangements a go?


  1. *LOVE* this! Seriously, you're inspiring me to go dig in my stash for similar soothing fabrics. Mmm, I love a quiet snowfall - hard to come by here in NYC!

  2. This is really beautiful! I love the soft colors and the 'imbalance' :) Beautiful quilting as well!

  3. I absolutely love it - the colors are so beautiful and the quilting - wow! I think it's balanced quite nicely :-)

  4. First of all, this is a really lovely quilt. Second of all, I was just talking to my husband about the idea of balance, and about how many of the quilts I like best are UNbalanced. So often, I get obsessed with making something "symmetrically random", when that is actually not very interesting to look at. The best modern quilts have motion to them, have places that pull the eye and colors that draw the attention more than others. It is something I struggle with in my own, still beginning, quiltmaking, but something that fascinates me. So I am definitely trying to give "unbalanced arrangements" a try! Thanks for the inspiration.

  5. Lovely. Nice job.
    I am working on an "Unbalanced Border" too unbalanced and its a mess ... not unbalanced enough and its boring.
    I think people go for balance and symmetry because its "easy and pleasant" and that's what they want.

    Me? I want my quilt to sing like Patti Smith... its a goal or aspiration, not a reality at this point. :) but I am working on it.

  6. thanks all!

    2ndAve: Patti Smith, huh? I wonder who this quilt is...something to think about. : )

  7. I understand exactly what you mean, but sometimes groupings in decorating look better in odd numbers rather than even. And sometimes asymmetry in design can be quite pleasing. I like a quilt with a surprise, an unexpected design element.... Hmmm. You've got me thinking.... Anyway, I love your quiet quilt and the quiet snow is the perfect place to photograph it.

  8. this is gorgeous! I think the soft color palette helps to off set the imbalance of the blocks.

  9. First, I love your quilt. Second, you bring up such a good point about modern quilting. I think my favorite thing about this whole genre (for lack of a better word) is the lack of rules. I find that lately, I'm really drawn to assymetrical designs. But I think more than that, I am drawn to quilt designs that look easy, unforced, and organic in their design.... much like yours. And the more I try, the more I realize that is actually really hard to do. Maybe that's where the artistry comes in?

  10. I tried unbalanced ... in my totally random patchwork (http://shinersview.blogspot.com/2010/01/totally-random-patchwork.html) ... I like your unbalanced better ... maybe because there's more variation in the colors ... I'm not sure, but until I saw yours ... I was off the "unbalanced" kick ;-). Maybe I'll try again sometime.

  11. I do think balance is somewhat subjective. I used to be a purely symmetrical person, but I've totally gone off that. But my notion of balance is different than the next. I'll admit that when you asked the question about balance I had to look again, and again, to see what you meant. The design feels right to me.

    I'm working on a low volume project myself. (And happy that I heard the forecast for snow tomorrow!)

  12. I love this quilt! I think the unbalanced nature gives it a softness and fluidity that is often not there in rigid balanced quilts. It is natural looking and appealing.


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