Comfort Zones

I have been slowly cleaning up my studio and finishing quilts that have been in the UFO pile for longer than I care to admit. When I first started quilting years ago, I was a member of a quilt guild close to the DC area. This guild was always bringing in national quilters/authors/teachers to not only speak but teach. One of the authors mentioned that as quilters we got tended to stay within our comfort range colorwise and that we sometimes needed to expand our boundaries. I honestly can’t remember who it was but I am thinking that it might have been Jinny Beyer. She was and still is one of the queens of color theory for quilters.

I have never been a fan of browns and yellows or anything in those color families. I have always been funny about what shades of green I liked and would work with as a result. At the time, I tended to work mostly in jewel tones. After hearing this talk and reading one of Jinny Beyer color theory books, I started to experiment with the colors that I worked with. I figured what did I have to lose. If I didn’t like it, I coudl always find some one who did. And since brown was one of those colors I did not like to work with, I made a brown quilt. And I didn’t go small either. The quilt was rather large. I liked the final result but the quilt was never quilted.

I recently pulled that particular quilt out of the pile and decided that it was going to be the next quilt quilted. I bought what I thought would be enough fabric to back what I thought was a queen size quilt. It wasn’t. But I decided that I could trim the borders and maybe make the fabric fit. Well, it turned out the quilt was actually king size. I ended up trimming almost 14 inches off two sides of the quilt and about 10 from the other two sides. The quilt now fits a queen size bed with a generous hang over. I still need to buy another strip of fabric to go with the bright pink I bought. (I am thinking bright lime green or something else that will clash.)

A window on old slave quarters in Frederick

A window on old slave quarters in Frederick

I am not planning on keeping this quilt after it is quilted. Although I like the quilt and the way the colors came out, it is not me. It would end up in the bottom of the blanket chest and never get used. And there are already two quilts in the bottom of that chest that rarely see the light of day uinless it is really freezing outside and I need extra quilts on the bed.

When I look at this quilt top, one name comes to mind every time I see it – Priscilla! She loves browns in all shades. And I know that she can use a nice warm quilt for her bed. And her husband is the reason I picked the bright pink backing fabric. Pink is one of his favorite colors. Strange but that is Mac. And since she already knows that this will be her Christmas present, I can blog about it.

Working on this particular quilt led me to break out of my comfort zone in all areas. Okay, except for clothes that I wear. Certain colors just don’t look good on me. I do this with knitting and quilting all the time now. I don’t have anything that is all yellow or solid brown in any of my stashes. But those colors do show up in variegated yarns.

I am curious as to how many knitters are stuck in their color comfort zone. Have you ever gone through your stash recently and realized that you tend to have lots of the same color just in different tones? I know that I have plenty of greens in my sock yarn stash right now. But that is only because I have pulled out about 6 different skeins to use next. And green is not one of my comfort zone colors. Have you challenged yourself lately? Just curious.


Filed under Project Spectrum, quilt

5 responses to “Comfort Zones

  1. I absolutely LOVE the brown quilt!!
    It is a cool pattern as well as a gorgeous mix of brown fabrics.

    I think I often stay in my yarn comfort zones – can you say BLUE – but the current quilt is much brighter than I would usually choose for a quilt, particularly for my own bed, and I am loving it!

  2. Who me…. Stay in my comfort zone… what makes you think that?
    I am wearing brown shorts, a maize yellow tank, and a taupe v-neck silk sweater. Oh and I had pumpkin orange sandels on when I went out.

    There are a few things in my stash that are out of my comfort zone. Though if left to my own I probably wouldn’t steer away much from it. Though with a husband that will only wear white sweaters and whose favorite colour hot pink, red, orange and bright yellow I have had to loosen up.

    My first apartment was all black lacquered art deco furniture with a camel hair couch. I had a 17th century woven tapestry in burgundy, brown, taupe, and yellow on the wall. A collection of flapper hats that ran across the ceiling in the place of molding. Oh and black wood and brick shelves which lined the room. That was truly me. Warm subfusque colours and antiques.

    Now I live in a world of birch, hot pink, yellow, and steel gray couches, chrome, glass, and hot pink crock plastic dinning room chairs.

    So I definately will steer away from comfort, but browns, oranges, greens, and blacks are my comfort zone.

    I absolutely love my Christmas gift. 🙂 Christmas has moved…. didn’t you hear…. Sept 25 or Oct 25 or Nov 25 (evil Grin) all are acceptable for Christmas

  3. It’s just beautiful! The contrast of colors and prints is wonderful. P is very lucky!

    I know about those color comfort zones — I have oodles of blue yarn. I always know I’ll like it, and it looks good on me. However, I have branched out a bit lately. My last two projects have actually involved browns! And in the past couple years I’ve really grown to love pumpkiny oranges. Not traffic cone orange, but a nice autumnal shade. I even like pairing it with light or dark blue! They’re opposites on the color wheel, so perhaps that’s the appeal of that combo.

  4. i feel the same aboout browns and yellows. i don’t like them, or wear them much, and would never think to make a quilt or clothing item, sewn or knitted, for myself. but, i really loved your brown quilt. it’s lovely. and i hate that you’re not keeping it. pink or green will be a great contrast to brown. also like aqua or tangerine with brown, too.

    surprisingly, my yarn and fabric stashes are fairly well spread across the color spectrum. but when it comes to planning and finishing projects i have to consciously make myself not produce so much green–my fav. color.

  5. I always find it interesting that so many of my colors around me are also in my closet, the reds, blues, purples all around my house and that I usually work with are what I wear. When I go outside my box, I am usually not quite as happy with the results. That brown quilt is really nice though!