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You have to know what makes an award winning quilt an award winning quilt and gain that experience. We might not ever make it as big as some (and then again maybe we will), but the award winning advice on building an award winning quilt is a great place to begin gaining experience as a quilter. Quilts that win awards are quilts that are put together the right way. Depending on you style of quilting (piecing, appliqué’, etc.), the more you sew the better you get. In this article, we discuss the 7 Simple Steps to get closer to winning awards with our quilting.

Steps (Advice) From Award Winners

I ran across an article over at The Seasoned Homemaker website that covers 7 steps or advice from Linda Neal on what judges are really looking for in an award winning quilt, and I still have not closed the article in my browser! I am all about goals, and I come to the conclusion that while most of us navigate quilt making around “who should I make a quilt for next,” we could have goals maybe to gain the experience of award winning quilters. Of course, we do not necessarily have to set our sites on winning awards, but the advice we receive from those who do win awards helps us know what is expected in a good quality quilt!

The seven steps to an award winning quilt are: (1) Create contrast, (2) Piecing perfection, (3) Workmanship (quality), (4) Binding and Edge Treatments, (5) Quilt Backs, (6) Quilt Show Readiness, and (7) stand out elements. Over the course of this year, I will dabble into each of these topics so that I can become better acquainted with them, and I will share what I am learning with my readers, so if you want to follow along make sure to subscribe to my newsletter. Each week, we will learn as much as we can about the each of these points as well as the latest tools and techniques that will help us achieve this marksmanship in our quilting regimen!

Contrast? What does contrast in Quilting Mean?

For example, creating contrast in our quilting means we are on top of our design choices when it comes to many things in our quilts. From color, to shapes, and even free motion quilt design – there must be contrast. Contrast helps attract the eye and keep our viewers interested and awed throughout the entire piece! Contrast can mean color such as black and white, shapes as in square or circle, or size like large or small.

I remember when I first begin to get back into quilting after going to college, I wanted to create a quilt from each traditional design (log cabin, Dresden plate, and so on…), but there were so many different varieties of traditional blocks I almost lost interest because I did not know where to start. Remember, no matter how many different styles of quilts exist, there are some basic principles that most follow inspiring individual creativity.

These lemons are all the same except one which is different in color. Here we have contrast in color!

I finally decided to begin with the earliest log cabin pattern. What I learned about contrast in color will benefit me for a long time. For example, we can create contrast with color by integrating tones, shades, true, and tints. When we talk about color in general, we could get lost. If you think about all the colors of the rainbow and how those colors can vary from light to dark, you may begin to feel frustrated. Just remember that there are four main values of color: (1) shades which are true value of a color mixed with black such as, navy blue, or deep red, (2) tones are the true value of a color mixed with a percentage of grey, (3) true value of a color is for example true blue, true red, or true yellow, etc., (4) tints are the true value of a color with a mixture of white such as light blue, light red (pink), light yellow, etc.

You can do percentages of each value in your quilt. For example, you can do 30% tones, 30% shades, with 30% tints. Or you can do 60% shade with 40% true values. No perfect percentage exists, just experiment with each of the variations. You can also think about using contrast by integrating different color varieties: (1) Complementary which are colors opposite each other on the color wheel, (2) Secondary color is two primary color (yellow, blue, red) mixtures such as orange (yellow/red), purple (blue/red), or green (yellow, blue), (3) Intermediate/Tertiary colors which are primary and secondary mixtures (green/yellow). So, you could use 30% complimentary tones with 70% tertiary true value colors. You can also distinguish between cool and warm colors.

I do not think that if you seen one Log Cabin quilt you seen them all. Now, I appreciate the variety of log cabin quilt designs, because I am reminded to think outside the box. As the weeks follow, we will take a deeper look into how we can create contrast in our quilt design whether we change the traditional style of the quilt or not!

That is all for today’s article, but I hope you will check back often to see what new techniques and projects we are working with here at Third Generation Sewing!


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