Snowball’s Chance – a color love story

Purple and citrus yellow - yummy!
Purple and citrus yellow – yummy!

There are quilts I made “before” and quilts I made “after.”

Before and after what you ask? The explosion of colored fabric into my life.

Doll Quilt, by Alethea Ballard
Before: Doll Quilt, by Alethea Ballard

My earliest quilts are white, light blue and pink.

Bear Paw Quilt, by Alethea Ballard; 1995
Before: Bear Paw Quilt, by Alethea Ballard; 1995

Then there was a plain white with blue quilt!

Once fabric companies started making large-scale prints in quilting-weight fabrics my quilting really changed. It seemed as though I couldn’t get prints bright enough or large enough!

I love to play with COLOR! When I look at my body of work as a whole, I see bright, bold color. Lots of it!

Cut Flowers, by Stitchin' Post Staff, 2011
Cut Flowers, by Stitchin’ Post Staff, 2011

On my Sisters, Oregon trip this summer, I saw this snowball quilt on the wall at the Stitchin’ Post fabric store. (A Snowball block is a square with triangles on the corners.) The label states that it is the “Cut Flowers” quilt pattern from the Fall/Winter 2011 Quilt Sampler MagazineThis version was made by the Stitchin’ Post staff and was quilted by Terri. It looks like it’s made from 5″ or 6″ charm squares and each color-collection block has similar solid-color triangles surrounding it. It includes a bright raspberry-red shashing, green posts between the blocks, and a single fabric border. And it’s altogether quite smashing in person!

I was really drawn to the concentrated color use in the blocks.

It's sunny with a Chance of Snowballs in progress
It’s sunny with a Chance of Snowballs in progress

When I got home from the trip, my dear friend Ashley came to visit and we set out to make our own version of the quilt. We decided to skip the sashing and make the color intensity even brighter!

We absolutely had a ball pulling out every fabric I own so that each and every block (almost) is made from a different fabric. We chose to use medium or small scale prints on the corners.

Purple and citrus block
Purple and citrus block

We kept the colors as bright and clear as possible and matched up each hue with a contrasting or complementary color. We made piles for 11 of the blocks and chose the last color (coral) when all of the other blocks were assembled. That gave us the opportunity to add JUST the right color to finish off the palette. In the end we left out red. Hmmm…

Snowball's Chance, upper right corner, Lime & Teal
Snowball’s Chance, upper right corner, Lime & Teal

I created strips for the border that were the length of the blocks and squares for the corners, so I could just sew the quilt blocks once, border and all, and be done! I call it border-as-you-go. I really like when I can do this, as I HATE adding borders more than just about anything!

I used more large-scale florals and moved the color around the edges to complement the blocks.

One of these things is not like the other...
One of these things is not like the other…

As soon at the binding was on, I shlepped it down to the In Between Stitches preview party! It looked a little odd in a room full of fall-colored quilts. I do worry when my quilts don’t look like any one else’s.

I’m teaching the quilt as a class in LIvermore on September 30 & October 21! Contact In Between Stitches to sign up for this fun two-session class.

I am in LOVE with the  finished quilt!

Snowball's Chance, by Alethea Ballard; 2012
Snowball’s Chance, by Alethea Ballard; 2012

Aren’t you? Write and tell me about your color passion!