I spent a happy afternoon on Sunday working on the Flying Geese Exchange quilt and the Red Improv Donation Top. The latter has exploded in size from the small piece it was when I last wrote about it to about 30 inches now.
I am thrilled to say that I am seeing the bottom of the red scrap drawer, too!
I used this project as leaders and enders for the Flying Geese Exchange. I wanted to concentrate on that one, but can’t work on it without leaders and enders.
Well, I did it. After what seemed like a lot of trauma, I finished the top last Wednesday in a couple of hours of free time after I finished my chores and work.
I thought I would just sew more chunks together, but it turned out that the quiltmaking goddess smiled on me and all my seams were straight and there was no (or minimal) ripping required.
Now we can really see the gradation and I make no bones about how hard I worked at it this time. It is interesting to see some areas that appear lighter IRL appear darker in the photo (check on the blues next to the bird in the middle of the quilt). I do like the way it looks like the columns are fading in and out. It also has that skyline effect, which is great.
I buckled down and made the back, binding and sleeve on Sunday. Yep! Even the sleeve. I feel quite virtuous.
This is a really hard exercise and I challenge you to do something similar.
There are a lot of pieces to sew for FOTY 2017, but I have, slowly, but surely, been making progress. I thought I could finish the top this past weekend. Even if I hadn’t worked with DH to replace our horrendous jerry-rigged, 20+ year old living room curtain rod, I wouldn’t have had enough time. There are just too many seams.
I am not being super precious about placement this time. I would never have started if I held myself to that standard this time around. I do still tweak placement as I go along, for better or for worse.
I am really looking forward to the whole thing being together as I want to see if it looks like a skyline.
I made quite a bit of progress during the last little while using this piece as leaders and enders for the FOTY 2017. I started out with some largish chunks and grew it.
I am not a huge fan of improv piecing, as you have heard a million times. I have to admit, however, it is fairly mindless and a good way to use up random scraps.
When I come across a larger piece, I am cutting it up into some of the shapes I am Hunting and Gathering for other projects. I especially need to beef up my collection of 2″ cool colors after the En Provence quilt.
So I am still beavering away to make something large enough for a baby quilt. The pieces are much more square, but I still have work to do.
I have been tired all week, but FOTY 2017 is progressing. I am sewing so I can arrange further. As per usual, the design wall is too small, though I think DH is happy otherwise I might make a quilt as large as the house. 😉
The piece shrinks a lot due to some trimming and also the seam allowances.
Yes, I started to sew. Yes, I started to sew even though not all of the patches are on the design wall. I don’t have the space and am letting go of a little bit of the control.
I am fairly pleased with the overall layout. I think the colors are pretty much in the right place except for the light blue/blue-green. The gradation seems ok at the bottom, but might not work towards the top. I still have time.
I do end up having to trim blocks. It is fine as I will do it a little at a time. I am still figuring out the math on this one – what size to cut, so I don’t ruin anything.
I rearranged all of the patches for FOTY 2017 and am feeling much better about the layout. I still have some design problems, but I feel like I am finally making good progress and am not feeling so much design despair.
The white and light patches will fill in the top of the piece to make it square.
Yes, colors need to be rearranged a bit and I need to slip in a column of turquoise, but otherwise I think this is basically the layout I will use. It is much better than my previous idea.
I know Angela loved the subway tile layout, but as a design concept, it wasn’t working. I may try that layout with smaller patches.
Again, my design wall cannot contain this series of quilts. I can’t tell you how frustrating this is. I have to figure out how to add 3 more columns to this piece without design wall support.
This might be the beginning of FOTY 2019. The pieces are the same size as FOTY 2018 as I have the Ellsworth Kelly idea and I might want to do one with black squares and one with slate squares. I could also combine the two and do a FOTY 2018/19. I am getting behind now that FOTY 2017 is not jelling. I could probably skip FOTY 2017 and get to FOTY 2018, but that seems wrong to me.
I resorted the patches and have started to arrange FOTY 2017 on the design wall. It isn’t going well.
Why? I don’t know. It just isn’t working.
I did some math and am thinking I need to make the piece 18 rows by 18 columns to make it square, though that does not use all of the patches. I could make it a little off square and make it 19 rows by 18 columns, but that would use more patches, which is my goal.
Sonja gave a short presentation on Composition at the CQFA meeting on Feb. 2. Sonja is a really good artist and works very hard to get better. In 15-20 minutes, I learned so much about composition that my head was reeling. I talked about it with a number of people that I know. I was really excited.
First she talked about 8 Common Armatures. I had no idea what this means, but she showed us examples of the different armatures, which are arrangements of art on a page. The 8 are:
She also told us to work with intention. I took that to mean don’t just slap anything up on the quilt. She said to identify a center of interest and emphasize it, then she told us how.
Most of the class was taken up with Value. This started out to be a problem for me. For some time I have been irritated when people have said “Value does all the work and color gets all the glory.” Mostly, this saying has irritated me because nobody who said it could tell me why. I have ignored that saying since the first time I heard it.
Actually, I haven’t, but I was doing it intuitively and just using contrast. Contrast has a lot more to it than only value. You can review it in the design series episode on contrast.
First, we have to define value and contrast:
Definition of Value: Graduations of light and dark. All colors have an inherent value.
The difference is a mind bender, but there is a difference.
Now we can get on to my epiphany.
In this presentation she talked about value patterns. She showed a diagram of 14 different examples of values in a composition. Each diagram shows 3 rectangles on a larger rectangular surface (presumably the paper or canvas or quilt). Each rectangle is either black, medium gray, light gray or white. In show different arrangements of these rectangles. Sonja showed us a page in Strengthen Your Paintings with Dynamic Composition. You can see what I am talking about a little bit in the arrangement of rectangles in the example on Jacob Bromeo’s site. You can see how the darker rectangles come forward.
There is a lot more I could say about this class. I have some books from the Library. I have some articles to read. I have some blogs posts to update.
Sonja recommended the following books. I got some of them from the library and am powering my way through them.
Sonja does watercolors as well as make quilts. The above list is from her watercolor class, so there are things you have to ignore. The material on composition and value cross over from watercolor to quilts and are relevant.
More imagery from my Disney trip. This was a new image that I had never seen before and it really appealed. The detail is fabulous. In hunting around for an image for today, I thought of this. It didn’t turn out to be great for color, but I think some of the palettes are interesting.
Of course the default palette is neutral heavy! Still there is that Sea Glass (great name, don’t you think?) fabric that lightens up the piece. Also some of the other colors have blue and purple twinges (undertones?), which makes the palette look at little less dark and depressing.
The first palette I made is a little all over the place. It isn’t very cohesive. Of course, I like the Lake and Niagra fabrics. It is interesting that the color names are related to water, though perhaps not surprising. I am not a fan of the Rose. It looks sick to me.
I went straight to monochromatic, which was marginally successful. I ended up with two of the same fabrics. C’est la vie. I do like the blues. I think my favorite is the Azure, but the Robin’s Egg is nice, too.
Palette n.3 is all over the place as well, though not a mess, I think. I don’t remember seeing Natural before. I have done a lot of palettes, so I could just not be remembering. The Wasabi looks like sunshine yellow on the bottom, which I like. It has more a green tinge on the side. The Garnet does not have enough red to look Garnet to me. I think it looks more plummy.
N.4 might be my favorite. It isn’t quite monochromatic, but stays well in the cool shades realm. I like the way Surf looks more purple on the bottom. I think it adds to the palette even though I think one of the websites used to create this might be off. I think the lights look really good.
Finally, I decided to get out of my comfort zone and create something with more gold. Palette n.5 heads into the neutrals pretty quickly. I am not a very big fan of this particular palette, but it is different and it does remind me of Mrs. K’s gold Spiky 16 Patch.
I got back from a trip with my SILs and nieces to Disneyland and California Adventure on Sunday. As usual, I was overwhelmed by visual stimulation. I have previously written in couple of places about the colors and motifs I see at the parks.
I do think I posted a photo of this mosaic/tile before, but I can’t find it, so we are doing it again with PlayCrafts, though we will just be using a small piece as I may need to use another piece in the future.
I will call the piece we are using the ‘Grapefruit Experience’.
The default, surprisingly, was not all neutrals and included some quite lovely blues.
The first palette was created with just a few tweaks to the default palette. I like the Kona Marine and Caribbean combination. I am not very fond of the other colors, though Bright Idea is interesting.
In palette n.2, I tried to go for a light palette without being a neutral palette. In the end I kept the Hyacinth and Coal. I like both of those hues, which look like tones of purple to me.
The green I added to palette n.3 was inspired by the #GirlScoutHearts project on Instagram. I am not much of a green fan, but this palette might be a favorite. I like the Turquoise, the Royal and the Lavender, especially. I think the whole palette hangs together well.
With a little tweaking, I got a nice golden yellow. It goes well with the Kona Jamaica, which is one of my favorite tones.
This image had just the right amount of opportunity for playing with color.
I really, REALLY wish Kona had less ravely greige goods. some of their blues are fantastic, even adjusting for computer differences. N.5 is the monochromatic effort.
I realized I would be able to create a yellow palette as well.
I also tried on a neutral palette. I could resist.
I really should have been packing for two trips I was taking, but instead I cut fabric. Now I have a completely empty ironing board and a lot more pieces to add to my various boxes. Future projects: here I come!
I finally got enough squares to make an interesting post for you. The last time I posted was in August, so not horrific, but long enough. I am not cutting up fabric and the pace I should be. I keep just piecing.
You’ll notice the MetroScape fabrics mostly missing. I am waiting to finish the top before I cut up many squares, because I’d rather have those fabrics missing from FOTY 2018 than not be able to finish the MetroScape quilt. I think I’ll have plenty.