The Skinner Blend, for those of you not familiar with polymer clay techniques, is a popular method for color-mixing, that results in a sheet of clay that has a perfectly smooth gradation from one color to another. I use Skinner Blends extensively in my cane-making, although by the time I’m done manipulating them, what you actually see are woven raffia ribbons, flower petals, and tiny triangles, among other things. Skinner blends give depth and realism to canework.
Why am I telling you this? I’m not really sure, since technically it’s not possible to Skinner Blend fabric, in the true sense of the phrase. I guess I just wanted you to know where the inspiration came from.
I suddenly decided on Sunday, that we needed a beach blanket, and that it should feature blues and greens, like the ocean. I dug through my stash, pulling out some Denyse Schmidt, a handful of Heather Bailey, a couple of Joel Dewberry prints, a little bit of American Jane, and a whole lot of thrifted or swapped sheets and pillowcases. As I sat on the floor setting out my potential quilt blocks, I realized I could make a blend – blue in one corner, green in the other, and aqua in between.
I decided that 5×5 wasn’t going to be big enough, and also that I needed some solid colors to break up all of that busy-ness, so I headed to the thrift shop and bought a small pile of pillowcases to finish the job.
Arranging everything by color proved to be more difficult than I initially imagined. When you are putting together a diverse group of patterns, not only do you have to deal with hue changes, but you also have to take into account varying degrees of brightness. I decided that in addition to the blue corner and the green corner, I’d also have a light corner and a dark corner, which helped to guide my placement decisions. I also made up my mind not to study it too, too hard, because there were always going to be changes I could make. The arrangement isn’t perfect, but I’m not sure it’s really possible to make it blend perfectly, in the confines of a 6×6 square.
For the back of the quilt, I used a solid light aqua thrifted sheet. It was just a bit too narrow, though, and so I used some of the scraps from the front of the quilt to make a strip that I could attach to the sheet to widen it.
From that point on, I turned to Erin’s instructions for her rock pocket blanket and finished sewing it up.
To tie the quilt at the center of each block, I decided to stick with my blending theme and use six different colors of embroidery floss, starting with the purpley blue in the blue corner, and ending with the yellowey green in the green corner.
It was a pain in the neck, but I love the way it turned out.
I really worked hard on this quilt. I have a tendency to cut corners and work quickly, when it comes to things that I am making for myself and for my family, but this was different. I was overcome with a desire to do this well. Why should I save all of my best work for strangers? So I measured where before I might have eyeballed, and I ripped out mistakes that before I may have just put up with, until I ended up with something I can be really proud of.
There’s just one problem. I think it’s too nice for the beach 😀
22 thoughts on “My Skinner Blend Quilt”
wow!!! I love it so much. And I would definitely still use it at the beach – it;s too beautiful to not use.
See what Sarah Jackson has been blogging about: the honest truth about my Mother’s Day
Thanks! I’m so enamored with it, I may just put it on my bed until we need it for the beach!
This is fantastic! I just found your blog through the photo in the Flickr pool ‘Fabrics, Patchwork, and Quilting’, and I am 1-thrilled w/ reading about & seeing your progress on this blanket, 2- so happy that a blog that I clicked through to from a photo *actually* had all the backstory I crave when I see a great project on Flickr. I’ll be spending some more time here looking around, I’m sure.
I know what you mean about craving back story! I am the same way, when I see an appealing photo on flickr. Glad you clicked through – welcome!
Wow Lisa, fabulous. I have been collecting fabric for a quilt for some time but not ready just yet. I love that your simple design is so visually appealing. I love the idea of the Skinner blend. I’ll keep collecting my fabrics and soon hopefully…
See what Emma has been blogging about: Big Button Challenge Vote
Thanks! I was so lucky to have so many of those fabrics in my stash already. A great number of them were from a swap that I participated in last year, and they were the perfect size.
love it! i have the same issues on my own quality for my own self. funny, it might be contagious between all us sewers. i am a firm believer in using the quilts….but it is definitly hard to break them in. hate that.
See what becky has been blogging about: Wilma and Walter Whoo Owl Pattern
Lisa, this is phenomenal! Don’t take it to the beach! 🙂
See what Robyn has been blogging about: Weekender Bag – Off to Maine!
I just love watching as you venture further into the realm of quilting! You’ve got a great eye for color, obviously, and I love the idea of reusing pillow cases and sheets. I wish I hadn’t gotten rid of some of my old ones! I think I need to hit the thrift store…
See what Ellen has been blogging about: Chicago
Fabulous job, Lisa! I love your Skinner blend colorway, so fresh and summery!
See what Karen has been blogging about: Happy Mother’s Day!
I say take it to the beach. It is stunning, but I find it so much more rewarding to see something I’ve made with love being used by my family. It’s a beautiful quilt, but will be so much more when its wrapped up in memories.
See what Kim D. has been blogging about: Seeking your Support
[…] everyone for all of the quilt love yesterday. I can’t wait to spread it out on the sand, kick back with some new reading […]
Lovely work! I’m with you on not giving my best work away- ripping out and measuring really does make a difference. 🙂
See what chicago sarah has been blogging about: 200th post
wow, it looks so good.
See what amy ( sew~amy) has been blogging about: stitchery and pin cushion
[…] all of the work I put into our special beach blanket (Neil says I cursed us by making a quilt that required good weather), I hated to see it languish in […]
It’s been such a long time since I have sewn anything, but all of the sudden, I have the urge to do it. I was looking for simple skirts to make and ended up with a bonus blanket idea. I always take a flannel blanket that is too small and too warm and to red and green plaid. Something fresh is in my future! Ahhh, sweet inspiration!
See what Meg has been blogging about: Organizing
[…] and precisely-measured pieces to sew together. The biggest patchwork success I have had is my beach quilt, which I love, and for which I painstakingly measured and cut thirty-six perfect squares, and sewed […]
[…] me something to strive towards, really. Her Picnic Blanket with Rock Pockets heavily influenced my own beach quilt. And let’s not get into the unhealthy obsession that was triggered by her Rose Hill […]
[…] The finished quilt Image by lisaclarke plus the miscellany that is my family room. http://www.lisaclarke.net/2009/05/13/my-skinner-blend-quilt/ […]
[…] favorites, what has been on my mind. Beach quilts, anyone? I’m getting in the mood to unfurl my own beach quilt on the sand. […]
[…] this weeknight visit to Ocean Grove, I envisioned sitting on my favorite beach blanket in the early evening, with my camera and my telephoto lens, zooming in on all of the action around […]
[…] replace it with a new one. I made this patchwork strap from scraps that were leftover when I made my beach blanket last year. (I have a feeling I will still be using those leftover strips five years from […]