Posts Tagged ‘design choices’

Going Blank

May 17, 2017

Last week I discussed the quilt top my husband and I are designing together. We started with two collections of hand-dyed solids, which I am showing you now because I’ve never shown you the beginnings before.

Here’s what we bought at the quilt show

We managed to get to the last border before our concepts diverged. I found some other fabrics this week and put this draft up on the design wall.

A double border, dark blue and yellow then light blue and beige

He likes it, I like it – but here it sits. Why, you ask? Because now we have to decide exactly where those stair-stepped borders will actually step. I said he could have final approval, but then the weather got nice and the chores in the garden called him, and deadlines for my latest volunteer position piled up on me, and we have yet to sit ourselves in the sewing room and decide about this last (insert naughty word of your choice here) border.

In the meantime, I would like to begin another project but my mind has gone absolutely blank about what that project should be. Oh, there are stacks and stacks of potential candidates waiting for me, but it seems my brain is stuck spinning its wheels until we make a decision on that border. So now I’m hoping for rain over the weekend just to get him out of the garden so I can get this quilt top finished, at which point we start all over again to design the quilting pattern. Argh.

Luck and wisdom!

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A Reminder About Favorite Fabrics

May 10, 2017

The universe took note of my efforts to finish projects quickly and decided to remind me of a few things. The project that I’ve been documenting on Instagram is a collaborative effort. My husband and I saw the hand-dyed solids at the Amador Valley Quilters recent quilt show and thought we could come up with a design together. I actually had the beginnings of a design, and he agreed it could work, but I consulted with him on each round just in case.

Design for us, and for Challenge Project “Deconstructing Stars”

Things went as I planned until the very end. We had decided on a concept for the final border, but not the fabric we would use. I chose to start this way.

This was when I discovered we had different visions of the perfect border

He still liked the concept, but the quilt was getting too dark for him. He suggested a very light – almost white – print. It didn’t work for me. I wouldn’t even take a picture of it, that’s how much I disliked the effect.

Then I remembered what Mary Ellen Hopkins said: “If your quilt isn’t working, take out your favorite fabric.” I also remembered that this quilt was intended to be a collaborative effort, and sometimes collaboration means you start again.

We’ll start again from here

We’ll be auditioning more borders over the next few days, or weeks, or however long it takes to get it right – which is always more satisfying than getting a quilt done quickly.

Luck and wisdom!

The No-Longer-Loved-Fabric Project

May 3, 2017

The Instagram experiment is showing success, and just when I need it. This month the Progressive Party begins The No Longer Loved Fabric Project, where we pooled our abandoned, no-longer-loved fabric and each chose three pieces. I posted a picture of a panel I colored in Betty Busby’s class at Art Quilt Santa Fe on Instagram, and in so doing realized I could combine this panel:

with this collection.

I made one round of auditions.

The panel inspired me to use black and yellow strips (black for structure, yellow for glow), and scatter the challenge fabrics over the surface. This is what I will give to the Progressives:

By photographing the piece over a period of days – and then looking at those pictures when I posted them on Instagram – I was forced to think about design elements in a deeper way. I also thought about what I was trying to say with these challenge fabrics, as well as what the fabrics were trying to say to me. Some of the fabrics from the first audition are still yammering at me. The cow tried really hard to fit into the start of the project, but didn’t make the cut. However, she and some fabric with other cows will go in the bag. Perhaps she’ll appear in one of the additions to the top.

Luck and wisdom!

An Inordinate Fondness For Beetles

March 15, 2017

Apparently biologist J.B.S. Haldane said this, and apparently he really was fond of beetles. I’m not fond of the actual critters, but I do like seeing pictures of them, especially the more colorful ones. I’ve even bought some beetle fabric, although in black and white.

While I was pulling out my lobster fabric, I found a small bag with the beetle fabric. Then I found my collection of animal totems.

“Self,” I said, “these are all black, white and red. You’ve got black and red lobster fabric, and black and red space fabric. What does that suggest?”

You’re probably thinking it suggests a little artistic intervention and counseling for me – no such luck. What did happen is I thought of labyrinths. Wouldn’t it be fun to make a labyrinth quilt from this collection?

Not so much, as it happens. I really don’t want to piece all the little sections that the design in my head requires. The work-in-progress is resting on my design wall, and I am considering quilting designs to enhance the labyrinth motif. Perhaps some sashiko would work. Suggestions?

Luck and wisdom!

Circles and Design Choices

February 22, 2017

This week’s design assignment focused on shape and placement of motifs. I couldn’t get a handle on what I was supposed to do until I unearthed some great banana fabric and decided to use that as my design inspiration. A piece of black fabric on the sewing table caught my attention, as did a piece of yellow in the scrap basket and a couple of rectangles of green on the design wall (sometimes I leave interesting squares up just in case I need a little surprise in my quilt). Here’s what happened.

Lani Longshore banana top

I had intended to fussy cut banana bunches and have them cascade down like wisteria clusters. After re-arranging the patches for the fifth time, reality set in. “Self,” I said, “keep a couple of bunches, but find a different shape for the rest. How about circles?”

Once I figured out that circles of bananas were the way to go, I decided to expand the motif. That is why the polka-dot fabric is cut into the shape of a banana (you can see it if you squint).

I learned my go-to technique for applique from The Chicago School of Fusing, but I knew eventually I’d be embroidering or beading all over the top. Yes, there are some lovely light-weight fusibles available, but I didn’t want to deal with even a trace of adhesive gumming up my needle. Nor did I want the extra bulk of a turned edge, no matter how scant the seam allowance. Instead, I choose raw edge applique with a hand-stitched zig zag.

Lani Longshore detail

My stitches on the first circles were less than stellar, but nothing a row of beads can’t hide. I got better with practice.

Lani Longshore another detail

This is another piece that might have to marinate for a bit. The fabric hasn’t told me what embellishments it wants just yet. I can wait.

Luck and wisdom!