QOTD: What do you see?

jennifer_in_vaOctober 5, 2013

When you see a quilt for the first time, either at a show, shop, friend's, etc., what do you 'see' first?

Do you see the colors first?
Do you see the quilting?
Do you see the points/intersections (matching or otherwise)?
Do you see the block pattern(s)?

I just saw a picture come through FB from somewhere, and I think it's point was to show the quilting (which was very nice), but what I noticed first was that the triangle points were cut off in the binding.

I do tend to critique more than I think I should, but I'm not sure that's always what I see first... I do like color, but because I'm a little OCD, I see things that could be improved...

So what about you??

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I think the first thing I see is not what I see, but what I 'feel' of the overall finished piece and then I go about dissecting why it plunks those magic twangers. I say this because I can seldom look at a quilt without it hitting me at some sort of visceral, sub- conscious level somehow comprised of like/dislike for all the various pieces of the whole. No one thing, in and of itself, influences me much if the total of it somehow balances out the positives with the negatives. If I had to actually say what influences me the most it would be the interplay between the pattern and the palette and how one works or doesn't work with the other. It can be the most skillfully done quilt in the world, but if those two are not in harmony with each other, I have a hard time seeing past it.

    Bookmark   October 5, 2013 at 12:12PM
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First: the overall visual impact of the quilt, the main design, or the most prominent color; identifying traditional quilt patterns if there is one; noting applique or pieced blocks or both

Second: the movement of the design through the boundaries of the quilt, also the flow (if any) of the blocks

Third: the secondary patterns and the junctions of the elements, and then the individual blocks (including intersections and those pesky cut off points)

Fourth: the quilting designs, how they enhance the blocks or other design elements - this is when I get up close and personal to marvel over those very intricately quilted pieces.


    Bookmark   October 5, 2013 at 3:34PM
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Calliope has pretty much said it perfectly for me, too. I just get a gut feeling immediately whether it's a wow or a butt-ugly and if it's in between I'll start looking at different aspects of it for something I like or dislike. I must say that overall I look for the design and the color palette before I look at the quilting. As for expertness in technique, that is probably low on the list, since I've seen both brilliant quilts with little expertness in techniques and on the other end uninteresting quilts with expert techniques that I would never even try to attempt. One thing that will REALLY turn me off immediately is anything designed purposefully wonky or some kind of visual illusion trick. Oh, yeah, and Sunbonnet Sue.

    Bookmark   October 5, 2013 at 3:42PM
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I'm a simple person. When I see a quilt for the first time, I see it as a whole and I either like it, don't like it or it's just ok. But, if it's in a show or displayed in a shop, it better be precise! I will pick it apart, look at every point, check every intersection and critique by my personal standards. Even though I make scrappy blocks/quilts, I like to see some kind of order. When my DH worked in quality control and told a person his welding was off, the guy said, "I'd like to see you do it better." Clay said, "I can't do it better, but I know what a good weld looks like and that isn't!" I feel like that sometimes. I know when a quilt comes together for me and is a 'good' quilt.


    Bookmark   October 5, 2013 at 6:14PM
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Thank you Sharon, you said it for me. Love some, like some, but I cant always tell you why. Colors are always first, though!

    Bookmark   October 5, 2013 at 7:30PM
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2. secondary patterns and applique
3. primary block designs and any crystal embellishment
4. quilting, trapunto work
5. seam intersections and points
6. binding

    Bookmark   October 5, 2013 at 7:56PM
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It is difficult to say one thing but balance strikes me first. Whether it's color, fabric, or design I am not sure and it most likely is the particular quilt. eg. Color must work with the design and the same goes for the fabric choices. It has to all balance out for me. I am interested in the technical quality but that isn't the first punch.

    Bookmark   October 5, 2013 at 8:41PM
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I've been thinking about this question and even went back to my photo stash to see which quilts I've taken pictures of at shows. Initially I would have said COLOR, but not necessarily any particular color. I think for me it's really more about an intense visual impact. That could be DESIGN or COLOR or the MOVEMENT of pattern across the quilt.

I love color combinations that I would not have thought of, but that work beautifully.

I'm not immediately drawn to quilts with repeating blocks unless there's something else visually compelling about them. But then the intricacy of the pattern, or the quality of the work, or just the pleasing balance of it all can win me over.

Although I don't use them often, quilts with white or black background fabric really appeal to me. Maybe because they make the colors so much more intense.

Once I get close enough to check out points and intersections, the quality becomes the focus. And really well done applique still amazes me because I know how hard it is. Especially in a show, I expect points and intersections to match perfectly. Yes, I'm a point snob (even though mine aren't always perfect)!

    Bookmark   October 6, 2013 at 9:14AM
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Saw this posting yesterday and had to ponder it abit...but I find I am drawn in by color and balance and overall design.

I was thinking of the quilts which appealed to me at various shows, and I have to say that overall design does seem to hit me first, as long as the colors speak to me. I lean towards brights and vivid colors, otherwise, I can walk away. I recall a best in show quilt, gold thread throughout in the quilting, complicated points repeated throughout..and it generally did not appeal. The colors were bland and the design was expected...but those that used striking, complimentary color well balance in the design are those I remember. This doesn't mean those more monochromatic aren't appealing, if the design is unexpected and captures me.
I love to examine the free motion quilting and am drawn in when it fit's the overall design theme of the quilt, but it is secondary; if it doesn't fit my sense, I can walk away. Yet, I still feel so new to this world, that I general marvel at the skill level of the quilting designs I've seen.

    Bookmark   October 6, 2013 at 12:37PM
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Beauty. That is what draws me to a quilt. So I guess that would break down to color and pattern. When I see a beautiful quilt, then I start to study it and I usually find that I don't particularly like some of the colors were used, but when they are joined with other colors they yield an amazing result. I also like to see a pattern used in a creative way.

    Bookmark   October 8, 2013 at 9:18AM
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I think color is first, followed by quilting. I really love looking at quilts where the quilting is an important part of the design, not just a means of holding the top to the batting and backing.

This is an interesting post to read. I don't pay as much attention to the points (unless they are really bad), and I've certainly never given much thought to the binding - maybe I should, starting with my own quilts! LOL

    Bookmark   October 8, 2013 at 9:49AM
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