Wednesday, June 13, 2007

A Man A Plan A Canal Panama

A man a plan a canal Panama.

This was in my head as I puzzled out the title for this post. I've been studying what's working and what's not in the blanket squares, along with help from a colleague who quilts with batik fabrics and unusual color choices. Her quilts are not symmetrical, yet there's an order and a rhythm that is very satisfying to the eye. First she brought her quilts in to show me. We laid them out on the carpet in our sitting area and analyzed the designs, the movement of the colors across the quilts, the subtle patterns in the background fabrics that created texture without interfering with the dominant patterns. Then I brought my squares in. Same process: laying them out on the carpet and investigating. A whole new way to see them. Until now, each square has been autonomous, beautiful on its own. But massed together, a completely different experience.

Here's a square that we liked:

Here's a square that doesn't work:
The color's way off here: it's a vibrant orange and blood red, with beige and lavender that are close to the real thing. But the contrast rings true to what the square looks like in person.


Here are four squares together that work:



Here are three orphan squares that don't work:


Any ideas about what the rules are for the squares that we like? Or what's off about the squares that are struggling? And why did I choose A Man A Plan A Canal Panama as the title? (Hint: it's more of an inspiration than it is a definite rule for the squares that we like.)

And though I didn't watch the finale of The Sopranos, I predict, based on what little I know of the last few minutes, that the episode will become an icon for unsatisfactory endings. So let me tell you that if you're hanging onto the edge of your chair waiting for the revelation of the rules behind the good squares, that answers will appear tomorrow, accompanied by illustrations that use diagrams and letters and maybe even arrows, if I get fancy, to explain. More likely, though, you're heading to the kitchen for ice cream or a beer.

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