Interview with Marge Frost: Red Made All the Difference

Red Made Difference

Marge’s quilt in the East Cobb Quilt Guild show caught my eye because of the title: Red Made All the Difference. She had obviously thought quite carefully about the colors she included in this quilt, and I wanted to interview Marge about the experience she had making this quilt. Enjoy!

Q: Tell us your background as a quilter. How did you get started?

A: I began in 1993, thinking I would just make a vest or two, maybe an apron. Little did I know!

Q: Do you consider yourself a traditional quilter, contemporary, or both?

A: Most of my quilts are traditional, but I enjoy branching into contemporary designs and methods.

Q: What is your favorite part of the quilting process? Your least favorite?

A: I love to piece! My scraps are my treasures…I love them more than my yardage! Basting and pinning the sandwich is low on my list, along with marking.

Q: What is your biggest challenge when it comes to selecting colors for a quilt?

A: At first I tried to make everything match, so there was no sparkle. Finding the right balance of very light, very dark and a variety of scale in the fabrics is always key to a successful project.

Q: How did you select the design for Red Made All the Difference? Is it a pattern or is it original?

A: I had been making little candle mats for gifts, and the idea of making enough blocks for a quilt occured to me. I save everything, and have a large supply of strips, so I just kept on making blocks. I varied the red centers, and just cut new strips when I needed a particular scale or color not in my scrap basket. I did not use a pattern, but can hardly lay claim to the Log Cabin design. I thought I would use a denim/chambray-like blue for the sashing and border, but settled on the pebbly grey. When I laid it all out, I thought it lacked punch, so that was when the red outer strips came into play. The red truly did make the difference.

red made difference close up

Q: Please share with us the process you used to select the colors for your quilt.

A: I truly just started by picking up a strip and stitching it on. I try to have contrast in both value and pattern on adjacent pieces, but do not worry much about whether the fabrics “go” together. In this particular quilt, the strips are the same on opposite sides of the blcok, but I don’t think it was crucial to do that…a totally random selection would work just as well. Just no adjacent same colors.

Q: What worked and what didn’t? Why?

A: One has to be careful with yellow…it can jump out of the design and look out of place. Also watch out for a print with lots of white background. (Maria’s note: Yellow and white are both bright fabrics that can demand attention, overwhelming the quilt. The key to using them successfully is to use them in darker values. )

Q: How did you audition fabric?

A: I’m afraid there wasn’t a great deal of auditioning until I got to choosing the sashing/border fabric, and of course, the red for the outer strips. I used various reds that I had on hand.

Q: When selecting colors, what was most important: color, value, or intensity (bright vs. dull)?
A: I think value is the most important– with careful placement of intense color .

Q: How did you finally decide on red making all the difference?

A: I spread the blocks out on the gray fabric and just wasn’t enthused….they looked dull and without spark. I guess the red was inspired by the block centers, and when I tried it, I knew at once that red outer strips would be right.

Q: What is your next quilt going to be?

A: I have been trying to finish up all my UFO’s. I started a cross stitch quilt top in the 1960’s (!) that I hope to finish within a year. I am also working on a log cabin quilt done with Amish type solids, which I am quilting with big stitch. I hop from project to project as I can’t stay interested in just one quilt at a time.

Thanks Marge. Marge’s color selections were based mostly on value, but the intensity of the red fabrics gave the quilt strong visual interest and really did make all the difference.