100 Days of Dice Compositions: Week 7 - Mod Blues + Orange U's

There was definitely an arc achieved while creating this week's Dice Composition. Read on to learn more about some of these design highs and lows while creating a Modular layout...

43/100: Dice Roll and Initial Fabric Pull

It was fun to pull out bits of blue to be used in a Modular Layout for this week's Dice Composition. Oh the design potential with this palette!

44/100: Sunprinting and Fusing Fabrics

Most of my mark-making fabrics are 10" square, so a larger piece was needed for the background of this week's modular composition. 

Thankfully today's sunny San Jose, CA forecast was perfect for sunprinting. You can watch several short video reveals here, here, and here.

These fun prints were created using ProChem ProSilk & Fabric Paints and the following items:
  • Top Row: pressed vinyl placemat, plastic needlepoint canvas, pressed vinyl placemat
  • Bottom Row: circular plastic needlepoint canvases, pressed vinyl placemat, bathmat
I especially loved the square grid created by the plastic needlepoint canvas and plan to use that for my background. All the smaller fabrics were backed with Pellon 805 fusible.

45/100: Explore Modular Layouts

I have not failed. I've just found 10,000 ways that won't work."
-Thomas A. Edison, American Inventor

It certainly felt like I played with close to 10,000 different modular layouts this evening! Over the course of nearly 2 hours, I kept adding, cutting, and moving different design elements, only to discover they weren't working for me. Will revisit again tomorrow with a fresh perspective...

46/100: Initial Layout

Tonight began by cutting out a trio of arches. More arches in a variety of sizes soon followed. I was especially excited to incorporate the Happy! text from the floral print.

It was fun to rotate, mix, and match them to create all new designs. My biggest challenge was to edit out a few of my favorite mark-making fabrics that just weren't working. The lack of process photos is a testament to how focused I was on exploring the many design possibilities that emerged over the course of the evening. 

Looking forward to adding some fun stitched details tomorrow!!
"All experience is an arch, to build upon." --Henry Adams, American Historian

47/100: Rework Layout + Free Motion Quilting

Received several bits of helpful feedback to last night's layout:
1. The Peace sign fabrics weren't working in the layout. I absolutely loved those fabrics and was desperately trying to find a way to include them, but I agree: they weren't working. So they thankfully peeled up easily and were replaced with a few newly cut arches.

2. There were several comments referencing McDonald's Arches...which surprised me at first as my arches were different shape, different color, and were used in sets of 3 or more. It certainly speaks to the power of McDonald's logo that is recognized world-wide. So I added several more yellow/orange arches to replace the peace signs. Ba da ba ba ba...now I'm lovin' it!

Rounded out the evening by outline stitching each piece, including a few decorative FMQing fills for fun! Ready to add hand-embroidered accents tomorrow!

48/100: Add Hand-Embroidered Stitching

Spent the afternoon and evening adding hand embroidered details to my arches...

Initially navy blue colonial dots were stitched inside every other circle, then every circle. Nearly 2 arches were filled in before I realized that they detracted from the simple blue rings. So I stitched the final arch with white colonial knots which I liked much better. So all 40+ navy colonial knots were cut out and replaced with white knots. Luckily I enjoy stitching colonial knots!

Other than this small detour, I greatly enjoyed the hand-stitching Zen and WOW! It was fun layering stitches within the background grid!

49/100: More Hand Embroidery, Finishing, and Blogging

Once again, coming up with a quilt title proves to be one of the more challenging steps of creating a weekly composition! I procrastinated a bit by adding a few more hand-stitched accents.

Here are all the threads that were used to create this piece...both machine quilting as well as hand-embroidery.

I had planned to add some more free-motion quilting to the blue background. I found the perfect thread, loaded a bobbin before fusing on the backing. And then I proceeded to trim the piece down and totally forgot about my plan to quilt. It wasn't really needed and I wasn't convinced it would have added much design value. So I didn't stress over this brief lapse in my planning process and simply got to work facing the quilt.

When it came time to create a label to finish my quilt, I once again drew a total blank on quilt titles. I first enlisted my partner Doug to help brainstorm quilt titles. Here are some of the ideas that emerged from our brainstorming session: Orange Is the New Quilt, Orange County (which is where I grew up in NY), McGrid, Happy Arcs, Happy Meal, Bridges & Boats, and my personal favorite: Cheeto Fingers! And so I reached out to Instagram for quilt title suggestions. Many thanks to everyone who answered my request (and/or sympathized with my struggle to name quilts). Here are some of the suggestions that were submitted via Instagram: Orange Gates Bridges, Building Bridges, Happy Humps, Tic Tac Ohhhs, Three Shoes Under a Bed. 

Many thanks to @lindaschiffer for her suggestion of Up with U as I really wanted to celebrate the arched shapes. I had brainstormed bumps, arcs, but had never considered the letter U. 

Here is the finished composition!
Mod Blues + Orange U's, Finishes 12" x 12"

Personal Critique:

This week's composition certainly presented a few design challenges, but also some successful use of the elements or art and design principles including:
  • Color: A complementary color scheme of blue and orange is used with white highlights. The orange shapes definitely draw focus while the blue serves as a background and small accents.
  • Shapes: Arch shapes are grouped to create unity within this Dice Composition. Variety is introduced through the size, repeat shapes, complete vs. outlines, and fabrics.
  • Texture: A variety of textures are packed throughout this design through the use of textured fabrics (grids, stripes, flowers), as well as stitched (zig zags, grid, Xs, pairs of lines, colonial knots, arcs, and waves)
  • Movement & Rhythm: Movement is introduced through the orientation and groupings of clusters, as well as the wavy grid. Repeat shapes grouped in a linear fashion create rhythm.
I confess that modular layouts do not come easily to me and I am not convinced I really captured a modular design (as compared to several of the quilts examples contained within Deborah Boschert's book). The design guides are meant to serve as inspiration and jumping off points to kickstart your creativity. And with that spirit in mind, I will endeavor to revisit modular layouts in a future composition week!


  1. This is interesting to read. I have lots to learn about creating a modular quilt and love how you explained your steps. Now to get started with weekly challenges like you.

    1. Thanks Ann. I have a lot to learn about creating modular quilts as mine is very different than the examples in Deborah's book! I look forward to seeing what kind of weekly challenge you might create for yourself...it's certainly been a fun journey for me.


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