Big Ocean Sew Along Week 4: Designing the Foreground
August 29, 2023
Welcome to Week 4 of the Big Ocean Sew Along! This week we’ll be designing our quilt. Over the last week, I have finished sewing most of my foreground HSTs. There were some colors that I removed for now since I never really reached for those colors. If you edit any colors out, set them aside in case you decide to add them back in later.
Before you start designing, make piles of blocks with similar color combinations if you want to go with a "color theme" for each block. You might have blocks with variations of aqua and pink, or purple with purple, or various shades of orange with blue. There are so many possibilities depending on what fabrics you have chosen. Once you get these up on the design wall, you might change the design completely to be more random, or to reflect different color themes, but these piles are a good place to start. For my baby quilt for my niece, I'm going with a more random color placement, because this will only have 4 Big Ocean blocks total.
Start putting blocks on the design wall and create your first foreground block, this lozenge shape. You might get a sense of what background color you want based on what you see once you start designing. You can move certain colors to that block edge to see if any color jumps out at you as a great background color. I have a feeling my background will be dark purple, but I don’t know yet. It’s all best guess as we go.
This design step is a great time to use the cut triangles you have, if you have any. They allow for great flexibility, since you can put them into an empty spot, or put them over an existing triangle to find new color combinations that you might like. As you design your quilt, you’ll find what works for you. Maybe you want to do each lozenge with a theme, or maybe you prefer to do a more random layout. You can mix themes or do a two color quilt…. There are so many options.
Stand back and take in what you have. Sometimes putting some distance between you and your quilt gives you a new perspective on your design. Take a picture of your quilt, and change it to black and white to see your value distribution. These steps help you get a different view of your quilt, which can make all the difference. Check out my on demand class, Value Creates The Design, for more on how to effectively use value in your Big Ocean foreground design.
Designs change, and you don’t know where you’re going until you start going there. Be in the moment and let it evolve. Move your blocks around and build the spots where one color bleeds into the next to help your design take shape. Once you’re happy with your foreground design, get ready to design your background next week! Take a look at my Big Ocean on-demand class if you’d like to get lots more content for every step of the process of making your quilt.