RJR Fabrics What Shade Are You? Blog Hop

Hi all,

I wanted to share that today I am participating in the RJR Fabrics “What Shade Are You” Blog Hop. Every week RJR Fabrics invites a quilter to present a project using their Cotton Supreme Solids fabric line. I got to choose any colors I wanted! My post will be up on their blog (http://quiltwithlove.com/) and will be featured on their Instagram (@rjrfabrics) Check out their instagram feed as well as mine for a special giveaway: a bundle of fat quarters of each of the colors I used in my design!

Here’s my blog entry:

Hi everyone! I’m Kari Anderson and today I get to share my quilt for RJR Fabrics’s “What Shade Are You?” Blog Hop. Glad you are here!

A little about me: I currently live in Los Angeles with my husband and daughter. I’m on instagram and online at @andersondesignworks and andersondesignworks.com. I’ve been making quilts for about five years, however my background is in architecture. My career path has been non-traditional: I worked for others for a short time doing mostly experimental design and furniture scale projects. I then taught architectural design studios for many years, mostly in the first undergrad year. While designing and making quilts has taken over as my creative outlet, my process and interests in design derive from my experiences in architecture. My “go to” design strategy is “repetition and variation.” The repetition always helps me organize the design, the variation brings interest and can provide movement or shifting focus.


I was really excited to be asked to participate in the What Shade Are You Blog. I like to see every new quilt project as an opportunity and a challenge. I always like to explore new things while working within the framework of my ongoing interests. In this case, the opportunity to choose from such a wide range of colors pushed me to work with more colors than I am used to – I usually develop the pattern first and second figure out the color. (Or I just go for black and white!) Since I was given this chance, I decided that color need to be the beginning idea of the design, not an afterthought.


My projects sometimes start as sketches, but they always go into the computer before I start the cutting and sewing. (Ok, not always. I did make one improv quilt!) This quilt started with a sketch – unusually for me, with colored pencils! It was fun and freeing because I was exploring colors first rather than creating a repeating pattern. I debated whether or not to show the original sketch here, but decided that even though the finished quilt doesn’t look like the sketch, it’s good to share the process. My sketches began with a simple idea of shifting colors from one to another. I love love love bright lemon-lime yellow and my daughter happened to have a perfect colored pencil, so I began there, playing with moving it into green and blue.

The sketch helped me choose the colors from the RJR Cotton Supreme color card. (Citron 337, Tourmaline 103, Harlequin 358, Peridot 342, Neon 348, Pistachio 404, Spring 405, Lucky Green 406, Grove 407, Toy Boat 366, Spearmint 389, Emerald City 329, Teal 401, Robin’s Egg 391, Riviera 274, Turks & Caicos 292, Atlantica 374, Lake 427, Royal Blue 126, Electric Blue 296, Denim 106, Navy 30, Medianoche 430)


At the same time I was curious about making big moves with the design. I had the thought of playing with a large and mirrored negative space and infilling it with a repeated unit. My idea was to create the color shift by randomly varying the colors from lightish to darkish. I drew up a pattern in the computer and made simple chipboard templates, as I tend to do.


As always happens in the design process, things didn’t go as planned. The “here-and-there” placement of the colors wasn’t working for me. But the fun part was that through playing around with the fabric pieces, I was noticing exciting interactions of color. This led me to establish repeating rows of paired colors and then I played with the overall order. It no longer transitioned simply from yellow to blue.


And since I can’t leave a repetitive pattern completely alone, I swapped in a few subtle color variations in some of the rows. This may not be immediately obvious but necessitates a closer look – and I hope it adds some depth and intrigue to the overall design.


The last big move that happened somewhere in the process…I turned the whole design upside down. It just works better. It now feels like something bursting up and out. It has movement that it just didn’t have the other way. Sometimes big changes need to happen!


In the end, designs don’t always need an explanation of their development -with all the things-that-didn’t-work and the changes-of-mind that got to the final product, but I think sometimes it is good to share that stuff. As a design teacher, something I tried to communicate to my students was that design takes work, it develops over time, it goes through options and changes, and it most definitely doesn’t spring, perfectly formed, from the heads of a lucky few. Also, everything you make adds to your experience.


Making this quilt and working with color in a deeper way than I have previously has been a fun experience for me. Thanks RJR Fabrics! And now I need to come up with a title.




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