Dancing Spools – Time To Vote

I’ve got a new pattern in development and a new workshop to go with it. Trouble is I’m stalled. I need just a little kick in the rear to move into high gear and I’m counting on you to give it to me.

When I get an idea in my head for a new design I am laser sharp and totally focused. That lasts until I start cutting fabric. Then I go into “what if” mode. What if I turned it this way? What if I used this instead of that? What if it were bigger? Smaller? Brighter? Quieter? This? That? The other thing?!

The maiden voyage of Dancing Spools is on April 14th, just 2 months away! I’m done percolating and I’m chomping at the bit to make some quilts already. All the answers are set in my head except one: Closer together? Or, farther apart? I think I know which I like, but with all the second guessing, I’m putting it to a vote. That’s where you come in.  One, two, three….VOTE!

Which do you like better?
Use the comment section on the blog. Click the word COMMENT below. If you get this in an email do NOT hit reply. Click the word COMMENT instead.

Closer together? Farther apart? If you can’t tell the difference or I’m too foolish to care, let me know that too. I just have to stop obsessing and move on. Make quilting history! Vote! Tell your friends!

Thank you!

Get my blog delivered to you via email, or read it online.
(By the way, I Twitter too.
And I friend all quilters on Facebook!)

1,039 thoughts on “Dancing Spools – Time To Vote

  1. Om my gosh – I wanted to see what the others said, and it’s almost even each way.

    Closer seems more traditional – I like it.
    Farther apart is a little out of ‘normal’ – I like it.

    Sorry, I’m just wishy-washy! 8-)))

    Like

  2. How about splitting the difference and making them just a little further apart than your closer together version . . . or a little closer together than your farther apart one?

    It’s crazy talk, I know . . . but that’s my vote ;-)

    Like

  3. How big is the quilt? If this is all the blocks, I like them closer together. But if it’s going to be a big quilt, that feels like it would be overwhelming, and farther apart would be better.

    Like

  4. My first impression was closer together was better, but there’s so much more movement in further apart- keeps your eyes jumping around, and I like that. Soooo… my vote is for further apart.

    Like

  5. Further apart. For reasons, I can’t explain, it just feels more right that way.

    (Actually, it would be really cool if the center ones were closer and the outer ones further to create a look of emanating from the center – but that would be WAY too much math for me!)

    Like

  6. Farther apart! I’ve made similar quilts, and the design gets lost, to me at least, when the spools are so close together. I want your design for the spread apart ones, please!

    Like

  7. I am loving this pattern either way. If it were mine I am thinking about all the wonderful quilting in between spools on the “farther apart” quilt. thinking about different colored threads to match the spools making it look like the threads are loose and intertwined together to make a quilted pattern.

    Like

  8. I think the spools are more clear as “spools” when they are placed further apart. If your primary goal is to focus on the spools in dancing with spools than further apart is the way to go. If you goal is to focus on the fabric and the design, with the “ah-ha” moment being when one stumbles upon the spools then closer is better.

    Like

  9. I go with Sophie’s (23) comment – split the difference.
    The farther apart seems be moving and more lively, vibrant – is the quilt to be lively? But then I like closer too, as it might be a good background for applique if done in different colors.

    Like

  10. Farther apart–closer seems obvious–and I like it farther apart. And in the spirit of being wishy-washy it will definitely be great either way.

    Like

  11. Wow, I think you are going to be sorry you asked looking at all the opinions. There is no doubt in my mind that I like farther apart, shows off better and looks a little quirkier that way to me.

    Like

  12. Farther apart is my choice! I can’t wait to see which you decide now! Are you doing a class on it? …in Colorado again someday?

    Like

  13. wow…. 2 fabulous looks!.
    closer together would make a nice quick smaller piece, table runner wall hanging… while further apart really makes the fabrics used stand out.
    if i had to pick one… further apart!
    kath

    Like

  14. Closer together!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! They show more unity and placement had thought.

    But, remember this is from someone who doesn’t show her work.

    Ruthie

    Like

  15. I like them farther apart, and bright colors! Like spools of the designer variegated threads ie., King Tut by Superior.

    here’s a what if…..the background was darker and the spool ends lighter, keep the stripes bright? Like light wood? Love using stripes for the threads.Or a gradated background, lighter near the top, getting darker toward the bottom. The beige background seems so “predictable”.
    My two cents! :-)

    Like

  16. Farther apart. The spools appear more 3-dimensional that way. Closer together makes me think Cathedral Windows … nothing wrong with that but is that the effect you want?

    Like

  17. closer together – more cohesive, more dynamic, more dramatic, looks harder to make, looks more balanced – is wonderful that you are soliciting opinions – great idea!

    On the other hand – if you do a block with them closer together, it could work to have a lot of “blank” space around them to draw attention to them and give the eye a place to rest. So large “blank border” around the closer together spacing would bring the drama I’d reach for…

    Like

  18. Further apart, with instructions that the spools must be of a striped fabric, not a fabric that reads as a solid. That really gives the spool look, not just an interesting design. Hmm, thinking of ways that needles (very tall, thin wedges) could be incorporated into the border or quilting….

    Like

  19. At first impression, I liked closer together — but after looking at them for a few minutes, I changed my mind. Definitely farther apart. The closer together group becomes just that –a group. The farther apart spools allow my eyes to travel from spool to spool, enjoying the fabric and design in each one.

    Like

  20. When I looked at them from about 6 feet away, I really liked them farther apart. My impression was that closer together was too busy.

    Like

  21. Not so simple as this or that,,,it’s gray Feb. so I’m drawn to the lighter colors (apart), but how the blocks would look in a multi block arrangement may be a different choice depending upon the overall pattern created.and of course the color choice. Ami, you have all of the pieces, so really you are the only one in the position to make a design. A lot of help I’ve been :-)

    Like

  22. My eyes tell me farther apart is more interesting, makes the eye travel around the design. Closer together makes the eye take it in all at one glance, not so interesting to view.

    Like

  23. Closer together, but that’s just me. :>) I’m never a fan of wide borders/sashes/empty spaces. I like busy. The exception, of course, is if you plan on doing a lot of fancy quilting in those spaces. I, too, was wondering about the size. If it’s a small wall quilt, definitely closer together, maybe with a wide border for any fancy quilting? But if it’s a huge bed quilt to be used horizontally, then maybe wider would be the way to go. (Didn’t help much, did it)?

    Like

  24. Like the tortilla commercial, why not both? Is it that much more difficult to include a version of the square if someone wants them further apart? I prefer them closer together, to see the colors of the “threads” play against each other. (I’d do a black background or pure white). But I could imagine being in a workshop where some of us did one version and some the other. Vive la difference!

    Like

  25. At first I liked the farther apart ones because it looked as if there was a three dimensional effect with each spool sitting on a raised area. Then noticed that the different values of the fabric used for the background were really random, not organized, and the 3D effect is in some parts of both arrangements (at least as I see it). I still like the farther apart one best.

    I think that is really cool thread on the spools wherever they end up. :)

    Like

  26. Why not just include both options in the pattern and let each quilter make his/her own choice? I can see times that I would prefer both. Pretty pattern.

    Like

  27. Closer. But, will this make a difference in how you teach the workshop? And, which would be the easiest for your students to learn and finish in the class time alloted?

    Love your fabric choices!

    Like

  28. I prefer the further apart. BTW I find myself doing the same “what if’s” when I design. My other problem is usually the name. At least you have a great name for this & I can’t think of a better one.

    Like

  29. I swear I commented before, but I can’t find it now.

    Further apart is awesome!

    My favorite choice would be close together in the center and further apart on the outside, but that’s easy for me to say since I wouldn’t be the one doing the math!!! :-)

    Like

  30. What seems important to my eye is not the distance apart of the spools but the fabric choice for those pieces. The more contrast between the spool and the background, the more interesting the piece becomes.

    Like

  31. I like the ones closer together-I like the closer ones-more united. Maybe an option for both could be included int he pattern-they both look great but the closer one hits me a bit better-looking forward to seeing the pattern.

    Thanks for your enthusiasm, experience, stories and encouragement.

    Like

  32. First and last impression: Closer together.

    Then again, why not print the pattern with option of closer together or farther apart? I know not an option because of cost to print.

    Like

  33. I prefer the closer together — think it gives more of a “dancing” feel. I think it’s fun to be able to get a sneak peek at your new patterns.

    Like

  34. Close together seems more appropriate for a wall hanging or a lap quilt, while further apart seems to better fit a bed quilt size.

    Like

  35. I like the Spools – Farther apart – but, the first three comments I saw they said the opposite.

    I still like Farther Apart…

    Like

  36. Further apart. When they are closer together I have a more difficult time seeing the “spools”. I like the definition when they are further apart and LOVE the shape!

    Like

  37. I prefer the closer together.
    However, I like the colors of the further apart. Having the same colors of spools would have helped make a more decisive suggestion.
    The further apart pattern would lend itself to a signature quilt.

    Like

  38. I like the one on the left Ami – except it has something in the tan fabric just below the center and a little to the right that makes the center and right look connected instead of like the other spools. Sort of hard to describe, but like a shadow. Really cute pattern., I can imagine using a lot of cute scraps from this OR a fabric line itself for this pattern. History in the making!

    Like

  39. I wanted to like the ones closer together but my eyes kept going to the ones farther apart. So my vote is for the farther so my eyes can rest.

    Like

  40. It will be a COOL quilt either way, but…
    Farther apart the spools stand out more.

    (I realized afterwards that my lovely stack-and-whack squares were too crowded unless one is really close.)

    Like

  41. Closer together makes it more interesting. I would use all the colors in the spools to make a border and then bind with the dark brown.

    Like

  42. Closer….I like how they become a design unit that way.

    First thing I thought of was a quilt with lots of spools…a great way to use up my many boxes of bits and pieces/leftover fabrics and make a bright colorful quilt.

    Can’t wait to see what you do!

    Like

  43. If you are going for “Dancing Spools of Thread”, I vote for farther apart. They look more like individaul spools of thread that way. You could have them connected by appliqueing(?) loose threads from spool to spool or just have threads from some floating off doing their own thing. I like the pattern. Good luck with it & your workshops. You are a great teacher. It was very nice to meet you at the Delaware workshop after reading your newsletter for years.

    Like

  44. Further apart, the secondary pattern is more obvious and each spool stands on it own – IMHO – closer is more of a colour splodge.

    Will be interested to see the results.

    Like

  45. Here’s a little tough love for you. You admit to a preference, so choose it, already, and get going. It will be beautiful either way. I love your use of striped fabric for the thread, and am looking forward to seeing your completed quilt.

    Like

  46. Closer together. Being a painter also, I tend to “set things down” with a shadow. The one that is further apart looks like the spools are floating in the air.

    Like

  47. You can’t go wrong with either but I like the farther apart ones. It keeps my eyes moving all over the quilt so I look at it longer. I am also probably influenced by liking the somewhat more colorful fabrics as well.

    Like

  48. Father apart – I hand quilt and that way there is more space to enjoy…why not do both – futher apart in the center and closer on the outside….

    Like

  49. Its real close in my brain… I like them both almost equally… however.. I lean towards FURTHER APART, but just barely. Its also possible that whether they arer FURTHER or CLOSER might have a different look if the background was not white or off white… like black, red, tan, light grey, dark grey, turquoise or aqua… bright yellow…. hot pink……??? Is there room in the pattern directions to put side-comments for the “other” layout along with whatever you choose first ?
    Side question, can’t see it well enuf to tell if there are Y seams… are there ?

    Like

  50. Farther apart. Closer together looks like they’re jumbled together in a sewing box, whereas farther apart makes them look like they’re dancing (as if tossed into the air and dancing around). I’d stick with all lighter fabrics between the spools, too, for the same reason. I love the pattern and would make my quilt this way.

    Like

  51. Farther apart, which allows the eye/s to concentrate on idividual spools. When they are closer together it appears more of a hodge podge. I like the extra room for a neat quilting design too. My vote might be influenced by the tread colors as well. The closer together spools appear dull while the farther apart sparkle.

    Like

  52. farther apart…I like the space in bewteen (as the quilter)..and bigger pieces would make it easier for the piecer as well.

    It just looks less cluttered….

    Like

  53. My preference is closer together, but I would leave a little space between the larger blocks (what you are showing on the screen) so that you have a group of blocks a little closer together, then a little space and then another group of blocks closer together.

    Also, some of the beiges (at least on my screen) look a little too dark for where you have placed them. You may want to stick to the lighter beiges or put the darker beiges on the outside where they have some space to breathe. Right now the one in the middle next to the two darker (teal??) spools looks shadowy.

    Like the pattern. Nice work!

    Like

  54. Closer together! Yes, that does look “busier” – but I like “busy.” They look so much friendlier and happier all close together – like they’re vying for the quilter’s attention – “Pick me, pick me . . . for your next project.” Closer looks like the jumble that is my thread box! But, Ami, it’s your pattern – for heaven’s sake, do it your way!

    Like

  55. I prefer further apart – looks ‘cleaner’, and I can tell what I’m looking at – it also makes my eyes move around the quilt, picking up the various colors, textures, spools, etc.
    Thanks!

    Like

  56. Farther apart otherwise they look cluttered and you can’t really see the spools.. A lady in our guild had a similar quilt in the block exchange and after all was said and done they looked better further apart. What did Madison say?

    Like

  57. It is really tough! I actually like them both ways, but if I had to say just one really quick it would be……farther apart! Ta da!

    Like

  58. Looks to me like the background fabric used is the element causing the ambivalence. With that particular fabric, I would say that farther apart is better.

    Like

  59. i’ve seen similar patterns closer together…farther is more unique and makes the spools seem like they are floating…my vote is farther! ( :

    Like

  60. I like farther apart so the colors of the spools show up better but you could put both options into your pattern so the quilter can choose which version they like.

    Like

  61. I prefer them further apart – they seem too cluttered closer and too busy. A quilt should be peaceful and calming. Then too, I like to see the quilting stitches between the spools.

    Like

  62. There’s something to be said for both. I think people who want to make it should be shown the two options. If I absolutely HAD to decide though I guess I’d go for the “close,” it has more movement, more of a dynamic feel to it. The ones that are further apart are very classy looking though. Do the eeny meeny miney moe thing.

    Like

  63. I’m saying farther apart but actually I had to look very closely to see that they were father apart in the “farther apart” pic. Pretty design.

    Like

  64. Closer would be my choice. Great ideas for setting the finished squares pop into my head. Single row of spools around quilt on border would finish it off nicely.

    Like

  65. closer together, it stands out more. But in the closer together sample you are using darker colors in the middle compared to the farther apart sample and that might make a difference.

    Like

  66. Im finding the background fabric distracting in the further apart spools. If it were more uniform, I would like further apart better than closer together.

    Like

  67. Farther apart. If my only option was making this with the spools closer together, I would not make this pattern. Seeing the spools farther apart, I’d definitely make this pattern! But with the option of closer would be great for those “closer” fans of yours!

    Like

  68. Closer together – that way, the emphasis is on the spools. When there’s more space, the accent is on the background. IMHO, of course

    Like

  69. I would probably do something crazy like have them start out one way and move towards the other as you move from the center to the outside of the quilt – close in the center and farther apart as you move outward or vice versa. Of course that is probably not any help whatsoever…..

    Like

  70. I like them both. I would like the option of choosing at the time. Can you put both instructions in the book – choose farther apart one with wonderful quilting in between for the main – then give the instructions for the option of closer together. Can’t wait to buy the book.

    Like

  71. Personally I think farther apart is better. But, every quilter is going to have a different idea on this. How about 2 patterns? Than you will satisfy everybody. Just a thought. Luv u

    Like

  72. I vote for farther apart. They can be distinguished as spools of thread and may be imagined to be spinning and that is what thread spools do, unwind and spin away while on the
    sewing machine.

    Like

  73. Farther apart………..

    Having them too close makes it feel too “compacted” and I tend to lose sight of the individual spools….. especially with a scrappy use of fabric.

    Too close makes the dance floor too crowded and I wouldn’t feel comfortable dancing on a packed floor! Ha! Give me a little room!

    Like

  74. Further apart and images of Italian church floors come to mind. Closer together and it’s a bit more watercolor ish.

    I think it depends on the final product. Wall hanging? Closer together. Bed quilt? Further apart.

    Like

  75. Wow! What a dilemma… I think I like them closer together. The negative space works better to set off the colors of the “thread”

    Like

  76. Ami, how can I chose, I like them both!!!!!!!!! Okay, if I can only chose one, I go for the one with out the sashing between the spools. Whe the pattern is ready for selling, please tell us so I can order one.

    Like

  77. Further apart allows you to see the beautiful colored fabric in the thread areas…I like it. I too am stumped on a quilt for my youngest grandson. Need to send you a pic so you can help me get over the hump…

    Like

  78. Neat twist on a classic pattern, like the closer together if the spools are on the small side, if larger they might need some space. What fun!

    Like

  79. I prefer farther apart… it is more peaceful.

    Closer together is more busy.

    Guess it depends on one’s mood at the time, It looks like the vote might be close!

    Like

  80. I didn’t read through all the comments, but it looks like both versions are getting their share of votes. Personally, I prefer them further apart — but I like it either way. I just prefer the more open look, and with scrappy background fabrics, it’s another element of interest to be able to see all the different background fabrics better.

    Like

  81. Hi Ami, I vote for farther apart for a bed quilt as it makes your eyes move around and could have a secondary pattern to compliment the spinning spools in the quilting design choice.

    I would like the closer version for table toppers, table runners, and/or smaller wall hanging versions.

    Like

  82. Farther apart; I think the colors and design show up much better than “squeezed” together. But would be interested in the overall size of each block/unit.

    Like

  83. I prefer farther apart “more room to dance” version. BUT, I agree with an earlier comment that the size of the quilt plays a big part. The closer together scale is needed for a small quilt (lap, wall hanging, miniature) but the dancing effect might get lost if the closer together version is done as a bed size quilt. Also important to the size/scale issue are your borders and how you are going to quilt it. But you know all that.

    Like

  84. I love them both, but if I had to make a choice I would choose farther apart, because when I viewed them individually, the dance floor looked too croweded on the ones more closely set.

    Like

  85. Closer, please. The far apart ones seem to be talking to me,…”Let me into the group”! If you really can’t decide, how about close in the center of the quilt, moving on out to farther apart, as though they too are trying to move on into the friendly group…

    Like

  86. Definitely closer together-the other seems lost in space, just floating. Close is strong, a united front, and, I think, the eyes flow over it easier.

    Like

  87. I actually like both, with a slight preference for the ones that are farther apart.

    Would it make sense to include directions and the picture for both in the pattern? Then everyone could make the version that s/he likes best.

    Like

  88. I like farther because the individual spool colours pop more andit looks like they are dancing. The closer ones look as if they are stuck in formation and therefore can’t dance as much.

    Like

  89. farther apart

    1. I think it’s too busy looking with them closer together
    2. It’s easier for me to tell taht they’re spools farther apart

    Like

  90. I’m a fan of breathing space: farther apart.

    Do you really read all these notes? In the time it takes you to do that, the quilt top could have been put together …

    Pretty design, by the way.

    Like

  91. Definitely farther apart! That setting allows your eyes to move between the spools and creates movement. They look like they could dance, while the other spools are clearly wallflowers.

    The spools in the farther apart setting are design items on their own, but also a part of the whole. I can’t wait to see the pattern!

    Like

  92. I like them farther apart better; in that setting the background “fades away” and the focus is more on the spools themselves.

    Like

  93. Farther apart looks more like they are dancing! ( Oh, how funny. I had not read the last comment #385. Looks like we are on the same wavelength!)

    Like

  94. Why don’t you pass on your indecision to those who will be making the qult and let them decide whether they want them closer together or further apart? I’m undecided, too. Actually I think it might make a difference depending on if this is to be a wall hanging or a full bed quilt. Wall hanging, I’d go for closer together. Bed quilt, I’d probably go for farther apart.

    Like

  95. I think they really show up farther apart, like they are dancing the night away!!!Will you have a book,f or those of us who can’t come to class??Hope so, :-)

    Like

  96. I vote for farther apart. They look more like they’re ‘dancing’ when they’re farther. Bright, fun colors would work great (kinda like you already have).

    Like

  97. Closer together. I was all ready to vote for farther apart, but then realized that I was being influenced by the colors in the sample photos (the closer together photo has lots of darks together, and the farther apart photo is brighter).

    Like

  98. Give your students the option! Offer both templates. Mak your large sample the way you prefer and a smaller sample the other way and let the student choose. Make everyone happy!

    Like

  99. M of MandN says With a background in advertising, I learned that more white space makes the eyes focus on the subject better. So put me down for the further apart layout.
    N of MandN says I like the closer layout. The eyes can take it all in better.
    When It is finished, we’ll take which ever version is made!
    What is Madison’s choice? Maggie says either one would be comfortable to sleep on.

    Like

  100. If the quilt is a wall hanging, I like the closer together; if it is going to be a bed-size quilt, I would prefer the farther apart. It all depends on the size of the quilt…would be too overwhelming if closer together in a large quilt.

    Like

  101. closer together gets my vote.I like not having a lot of blank spaces between the spools, I don’t like to use a lot os quilting “fill in” between the dinamic elements.

    Like

  102. Farther apart – give the eye room to move from spool to spool. I also really like the brighter colors, but then I’m a color kind of gal.

    Like

  103. OMG! what a wonderful problem. I like lots of color, so I’d go for bigger spools closer together. But, why not just make it an option, more space, bigger quilt, less space, smaller quilt.

    Like

  104. I like both versions for different things. I like the one that is farther apart because you get to see the spools better and I can see using that in a wall quilt for my sewing room.

    Like

  105. I like them closer together but I think that you should just get started. Without them right next to each other we wouldn’t know the difference!

    Like

  106. Closer together this seems to make a secondary pattern with the background. Great idea well done Ami. I love it.
    Cheers Helen

    Like

  107. farther apart for me :) and may I say – 534 comments! Wowza. Oh my oh my. That has to be a blogging record.

    hmmm….maybe there’s a polling function in WP?

    Like

  108. I like farther apart. The color choices seem to
    make it “shimmer”.
    When quilted, you would probably want to densely
    quilt the background so the spools pouf up and give
    lots of depth contrast.

    Like

  109. I think you just made more work for yourself–counting replies and making two designs. I’m with those who like them both, depending upon where the quilt would be used.

    Like

  110. I prefer the farther apart because there is enough action with the spools tipping this way and that. The presentation of the secondary pattern is also attractive. This will also mean fewer fabric decisions as I make the quilt, not a bad thing considering the trouble I have now. ;^)

    Please give Madison a scratch behind his ears from Aunt Sheron.

    Like

  111. Truth be told, they don’t look like they’re dancing either way. They look like they’re lined up like soldiers. Dancing should be freer.

    Like

  112. Allow me to jump in here again. Would it be feasable to include an option for both sizes? This will be great for the stripes I ‘ve been collecting for 20 years. I’m already planning pillows, sewing machine cover, a valance for my studio and……..

    Like

  113. Farther apart features the fabrics more. Closer together is better for scrappy or fabrics that go together like layer cakes of one fabric line.

    Why not let your students choose?

    Like

  114. I remember making spools in the first quilting class I ever took.
    They are fun to make, and I vote for the Farther Apart.

    Like

  115. farther apart if the spool colors are so scrappy; it allows the eye to appreciate each color, before moving on to the next. But then again, as I say when I’m teaching, if you absolutely, positively cannot decide, then it probably doesn’t matter!

    Like

  116. Farther apart! It’s not entirely a fair test, though, because the one that’s farther apart has more light colours distributed throughout it, making the spools seem to dance more.

    Like