Friday, March 22, 2013

Knitting and I Need to Quit Stalling

I have been working on cleaning up my yarn stash and making decisions on old projects - should they be finished or "frogged". And I need to find a new project for a 2 week vacation. Criteria is one yarn, who wants to manage multiple balls of yarn for color work, and reasonably easy pattern for car knitting. This is turning out to be a challenge. I have made several swatches and nothing has risen to the top.

So what have I really been doing - making dish cloths. I found an overflowing box of small balls of cotton yarn. My goal was to make the dishcloths until the top would fit on the box. Well 8 dishcloths later.........  I even used some yarn from 2 dresses that I made for my granddaughter. They were too worn out to lengthend (I made new ones) but I could not just throw out usable yarn. So they went into the mix.

Now I need to get back to my yarn search. I have a week to make a decision.

Sunday, March 3, 2013

It's Finally Done!!!!

And it is huge!!! I could not even find a place to take a full picture, so here is is, wrinkles and all. This is large enough for a king bed with a very generous overhang.

This was quite the process. My idea and first execution was not what I wanted, so many blocks needed to be remade. I still am not really happy with the size of the white lines. But another thing I learned is that small pieces and narrow lines result in a quilt where at least 1/3 of the fabric is in the seam allowances. Something to keep in mind for large quilts.

I struggled with the final arrangement of the blocks. And asked on Ravelry and Facebook for opinions. Overwhelming the vote was for the alternating vertical/horizontal arrangement. Funny,  this was my least favorite arrangement. But I started playing with the blocks and came up with this. Vertical/horizontal but offset. I did the offset partly because I didn't like the formal block arrangement and thinking that it would make it easier to sew at the corners where the 4 blocks would meet.

Close up of block arrangement

Another problem was figuring out the actual block placement. This quilt is almost 10 feet wide!! My design wall is only 4 feet wide. I don't have a king bed, no indoor floor space, and the deck is covered in snow. I found out real quick that value could be a problem and the yellow blocks needed to be replaced with a dark gold. (Quick shopping trip needed!)  I finally gave up agonizing about the color arrangement and pretty much randomly lined them up.

So it is what it is and is now on it's way to the long arm quilter. I think the quilting will really unify all the different colors.

What will I do next? I want to do more on the mosaic theme. I have a lot of scraps left over and will work on something which fits on my design wall.
AND the white will be lines and not shapes.

Now I need to clean up the fabric piles and knitting sounds really good. I need to work on some Comfort Bears for the local police department.

Sunday, February 24, 2013

I Need Your Opinion...............

and New Ideas are Welcome.

This is my mosaic quilt for a king size bed. The pictures are only 1/4 of the quilt but I hope enough to give visual of the finished product which will be 7 x 6 blocks.

 But which layout should I use. I think the quilting will be an all over design, probably with a variegated thread.

View 1. All the small blocks are vertical.

View  2. Alternate vertical/horizontal

View 3. Vertical but the blocks are off set.

Thanks for your help.

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Shapes are not Lines.

After my frustration with my performance in the Nancy Crow class I just had a "light bulb moment".  In class we did a black and white exercise with lines (less than 1 inch) and shapes, everything larger. I had a problem with lines that were too fat. This makes for a boring composition. Well , I am a slow learner and after making 30 blocks for a new quilt, and spending the afternoon redoing them,  I now understand the difference.

This is the start of  a quilt for my son and daughter-in-law's new house. 16 inch blocks of earth tone mosaics. The bottom blocks are what happens when the lines are the size of the color shapes. Boring and no color impact. The upper blocks are what they look like when neutrals are "lines". Still some of the lines could be smaller, but this is what I got by partially taking apart  and remaking the old blocks. New blocks will definitely have skinny lines. Also need some more variation in the size of the shapes.

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Product vs Process

I love the process of design, fabric selection, challenge of putting it together. Even the process of ripping out and redoing.

But then I also like to have a finished product. For my art work this means I finish pieces that should not be finished. I will take an idea gone bad and keep working to make a charity quilt. Not great art but still a comfy quilt.

Here are some of my latest finished products.  The best is the Robot Quilt for a special grandson. Then there is Spider Man for the same grandson. He has a birthday in March so this will be his present.  

(Grandson #2 is getting left out here, but there is a Dr Seuss panel to be put together soon.)

Hello Kitty for the special granddaughter. No finished pictures, but here is the pile of fabric. I need to get better on the finished pictures

For son and daughter-in-law who just moved into a new house there is a work in progress. Making a king sized bed quilt is a lot of work. This is a set of 42, 16"  blocks, each with a specific monochromatic color scheme which will be assembled into the new bed quilt. In this picture there is too much of the neutral background. More recent blocks have larger color strips.

So this looks like a lot of product and not much in the process of creating that great quilt composition. But from the large king quilt there are a lot of finished scrap pieces that I can't wait to play with for a wall quilt.  But first I have about 14 more of the blocks to finish!

Thanks for reading this, Irene

Friday, January 11, 2013

What is Good Composition?

Never mind that I haven't written anything since last summer. I started this blog as a way to document my quilting and knitting and hopefully get some feedback along the way. But I have to write something first. So here goes....

I recently took a class from a true quilt artist, Nancy Crow, titled Lines, Curves, Circles & Figure-Ground Composition. The class was intense, and I have to admit that I did not preform to my greatest potential. This was the 4th class I have taken so it was not that I didn't know what to expect. It just didn't seem to work out. A class with Nancy is hard work!  5 days of 8-10 hours of designing and sewing is really hard!  She gives an assignment, and a time to complete it. There are usually detailed exercises which are to be assembled into a composition. And here is where I get stuck. It's hard, and probably takes practice, to walk into a room and turn on your creativity 100%. I just did not have the practice and experiences to do this effectively. But I did learn a lot and will redo my notes and probably try and redo the exercises.

But my greatest question is " What is good Composition?" I know about line, shape, curves, positive/negative space, warm/cool colors, color hue, tint and value. But what exactly is a good composition? What is a bad composition? and Why?  My biggest criticism of a Nancy Crow class is that composition is   never clearly demonstrated. Maybe this is the scientist in me,  but at this point it is not intuitive, so I really need the "evidence" to understand the concepts. The classes are taught in a "student exploration" style and if you go down the wrong tunnel, you can get frustrated really fast. When I got home I spent a long time on the Internet searching for examples and there are really none. Just more on space, color, shape, etc. Maybe I can find a class at our local community college that will get me going down the "right tunnel".

Here are the pieces I worked on, and some of the class evaluation comments.

 Exercise 1. Lines in black and white. . First my lines are too fat. They are supposed to be less than 3/4" . Composition eval - "Don't bother to finish". Not much excitement.
 Exercise 2.  Shapes - Bright colors on a pastel ground. The top left corner is not finished. Shapes just placed so they don't get lost. This got a good review and I was encouraged to finish it. Looks very rough in the picture, but I like it and I will definitely finish it.

Exercise 3. BIG and BOLD. Each of the circles are about 40" across. This composition challenge was to work BIG.  At this point I was pretty tired. I just could not find the energy to come up with a good composition for all 4 circles. I had about 5 sketches in my notebook but none of them excited me enough to work on the entire piece. So I just did 2 of the ideas. I like the first one, but not sure how to integrate into the 4 circles. The second one was a "confetti" look. I like it as a single circle, but again not sure how to integrate into a large composition. I like this idea and will continue to collect ideas for the large work.


So still exploring the original question - What is good Composition? 

Sunday, June 17, 2012

It's been a long time...............

..........since I posted any knitting content. I have been knitting but not much finishing.

So far, a wool cotton long sleeved sweater that I hope I have enough yarn for (no picture yet) . A Noro cotton summer sweater, back almost done (again, no picture), a dress  (Oriental Lilly) for my granddaughter that I hope is long enough but it can be lengthened, and a shawl. This my first knitted shawl (aranami-shawl) and it was supposed to be a "knit in public" project because it doesn't require a lot of thinking, but it has consumed my knitting at home time. 

I have been working on a quilt project, almost every day when it is too hot to be outside.  This is a color challenge project from the 15 Minutes of Play blog.

A scrap basket to replace the cardboard box I had been using and few other quilting projects in the "what if" stage that I should be able to post pictures of next time.

And I just finished this tote bag using selvage edges. Used about 1/2 of my collection so I imagine I'll make another one and use it for a yet to be determined recipient gift.

Thanks for sticking with this random collection of projects to the end. Hopefully I will be a little more organized next time.