It was only relatively recently that I heard about Pantone’s Colour of the Year thingie, when I saw a blog post with a quilt made in 2014’s colour, Radiant Orchid. Intrigued by the idea of a challenge to make a quilt in a colour I might not usually choose, I decided to keep an eye out for this year’s colour, which turned out to be….
Marsala. Hmmm. Pantone says:
A naturally robust and earthy wine red, Marsala enriches our minds, bodies and souls.
Ummm, I’m not sure I’d go that far, but ok.
From what I’ve seen, Marsala has not met with overwhelming joy and excitement (there’s at least one blog post floating around with some hilarious alternative names for it). To encourage enthusiasm for this year’s colour, On The Windy Side and play crafts are jointly running the 2015 Pantone Quilt Challenge, and I decided I couldn’t resist starting another project! In fairness, the colour is growing on me, assisted by the fact that Pantone has helpfully provided several palettes based around Marsala here.
I love the warm spicy look of these colours with the bright coral to liven everything up. As far as a quilt design goes, I was attracted to the idea of the mysterious East, Islamic motifs and exotic souks (because I am endlessly fascinated by Islamic tile designs). By chance, I happened to spot a tile design in a magazine that would, I thought, be perfect for this challenge – interesting enough without being horrendous to piece. Grabbing some graph paper and MS Paint, I doodled about to see if it was something I could successfully translate into my chosen colour scheme and into fabric.
This is an initial mock-up of my design in Paint, and I like it a lot. Yay! Although I showed it to mum and she said, “Oooo, that’s nice! Does it have to be those colours?” After I explained about the Pantone thing, she commented that Marsala looks like the colour a person with cyanosis goes, so I guess this quilt won’t be for her, then! After fiddling about considerably with my graph paper, I’ve come up with three possible versions of the basic block for this design, which I need to mock up before I start cutting up fabric in earnest (not least because one version is HUGE and I need to be quite sure I want the scale that large before I start).
My next task was to buy the fabric, since I have none of those colours in my stash (certainly not in any significant quantity). Luckily(!) we’d planned a Quilt Club outing on Thursday to the local fabric shop, where I was overjoyed to discover that 1) I was *not* the only person to have heard of the Pantone Colour of the Year thing and 2) there was a good selection of all the colours I was looking for, including several candidates for Marsala itself. Phew! These are the fabrics I settled on finally (the two golden colours got chosen almost instantly, as did the coral, the marsala shades took a little longer):
There was also a bit of a challenge in explaining exactly what I had in mind to everyone else, given that I’d run out of the door that morning without bothering to pick up any of my sketches of the design. Handwaving apparently did a very poor job of explaining what I wanted to do and I ended up scrawling a rough outline on a paper napkin, which wasn’t much better! And there was also a problem with the fact that, since I still haven’t trialled my block sizes or done any manner of yardage calculation or considered how big to make the quilt, I haven’t really got a clue how much fabric I needed. (Sometimes I plan EVERYthing meticulously, other times I screw my eyes shut and run screaming head-first into an idea; guess which this is?) As a result, I’ve probably overbought at least some of them, but I can always find something to do with extra fabric! After all, it’ll need backing, possibly a border too.
If anyone is interested, I also tried the tile design in different suggested Pantone palettes. Some work better than others; my favourite is still the first one I tried!
It’s really interesting to see how the same design changes depending on colour choice and placement.
My plan for now is to run up small and large test blocks to get a feel for the construction and how I like the scale (I have a feeling I’ll prefer the larger version, but you never know), then figure out how big a quilt I want/can make with what I’ve bought. Watch this space for more Marsala Spice!