Tuesday, May 15, 2018

More Improv Quilting

Several months ago I was playing with pattern repeats using some Spiderman fabric.  I happened to notice that the blue fabric with squares in the other improv blocks had the same colors and similar values and tones.  So the test pieces became the beginnings for some more improv blocks.
By adding strips of the same fabrics in the other improv blocks, it was easy to make the blocks all work together.
This one is still a little bit undersized, but I really like where this is going at this point.  The other one still needs several rounds of strips to get to size.  But I am still playing with the fabrics.


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Saturday, May 12, 2018

Improv Quilt Blocks

Improvisational quilting is a very old idea.  Still there are several fairly new books on the subject. I have read a couple of those books.  I have also taken a week-long class with the Gee's Bend quilters.   What I have learned from it all is that you need to trust your instincts and have fun playing with your fabrics.

I took two blocks that were in my orphan pile and decided to "re-imagine" them.  I started with a simple nine patch. Sorry, I forgot to take a before photo of this one.  I then cut a couple of  strips and crossed it in both directions.

You can see that this makes the edges get a little wonky.  So it needed trimmed.  I trimmed it to 9 1/2" square.
At this point I am not loving it, but I will let it sit a bit and work on the next one.
For this one I started with a big half square triangle block.
By itself it is not anything special. So I took some scrap strips and sewed across the corners -trimmed off the corners and sewed them to the outside edge of the strips and squared this one up to a 10 1/2" block.
Hmmmm... now I have two blocks that don't go together colorwise - and are different sizes.  More scraps of the yellow strip and the blue fabric with squares to the rescue.  I did more sub-cutting and adding strips.  Two inside the block one direction and then two were added to the edges in the other direction.
9-Patch: Take Two
The blocks are now the same size and because I repeated fabrics from the other block - they don't look so bad together.
When these are added to a quilt top with lots of different fabrics they will play very nicely together. . Seriously, I know with just the two blocks it isn't great.  I really need to see if I have more of the light pink from the 9-patch to make an applique shape for the other block.

The art concept of repetition with variation is what makes this work The idea is that you repeat elements (in this case fabrics) but in different sizes (or shapes) so that the subconscious connects them and the viewer's eye follows through the design.


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Thursday, May 10, 2018

Paint surprise

The run off from the painting that I liked best did this:
Yes, it formed cells. Yes, it is far more interesting than the canvas.  I am hoping that it will stay and dry in this form. You see, acrylic paint on a smooth surface will become a plastic film that can be peeled up and used in collage.  I am thinking that I could collage this right onto the painting that it dripped from and make it better. 
Sadly, when I went back after typing this, it had all shifted and run together into a muddy mess.

The other small cups of paint were still liquid so I poured more paint over the piece that I didn't like.  I still did not get cells, but I did try.   I wonder if I will be able to develop this into something interesting.  Right now it is more "Massacre at the O. No Corral."   ha ha.

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Wednesday, May 09, 2018

Playing with Paint

“Failure is success in progress”― Albert Einstein
Since I am not yet sure what sewing project I will work on next, I decided to go back to my roots and play with paint.  One thing that is very popular now is an acrylic pour - sometimes known as a dirty pour.
After mixing up some paints according to the videos I have watched, I made two small pours on 6" by 6"  canvases.   Neither of them did like the videos I have seen with multicolored cells and a dramatic effect. 
Here is the one I like best.
At this point they have to remain flat to dry (for possibly days!)  This one shows some small cells although they are not at all dramatic.

The other one is less successful I think.
I didn't see any cells in this one except the small ones at the top of the photo.  It really looks like the aftermath when a dog has eaten crayons and got an upset tummy. (sigh!)
I like the upper left corner of this one but the rest of it - yuck.
Right now,  they will sit until dry.

There is still a possibility that these may change as they dry.  There is also a possibility that I will paint over them completely at some point in time. Or maybe I will change my paints and additives and try pouring over them.

Experimentation sometimes leads to discoveries.  And sometimes, it just makes a mess. But if you are paying attention, the mess can be a lesson in what doesn't work.

"The important thing is to not stop questioning. Curiosity has its own reason for existing."  Albert Einstein
“I have not failed. I've just found 10,000 ways that won't work.” —Thomas Edison.

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Sunday, May 06, 2018

Creative Stirrings

After recuperating from the sickness, which was probably flu, I spent a few days just resting and letting the body recover some strength.  Honestly, I still didn't feel like doing much.  But, since I had a nice new warp on the loom - and not just any warp, but one that had been dyed - I decided to weave a bit on it.
Dyed Warp
The warp started out in a multicolor design.  We used a dye that not only dyes, but also has a reducing agent that removes some color from the original. So there are lots of gradations of color in the warp.
Using colors in the warp, I did some weaving.
The first part was woven with purple, then I switched to green.  I had looked at a pattern weaving done on a rigid heddle loom with pick up sticks and thought - I want to try that on my loom.  Let me show you a couple of close-ups.
A couple of float patterns woven.

Another more subtle float pattern woven.
The second one is very subtle and you may have to look to find it.  It forms a wide "V" shape.
I am enjoying the interesting color variations on this dyed warp.

The episode of The Quilt Show that premiered today has Katie Pasquini Masopust as the visiting artist.   She did a demo of using grids for quilt design.  I was inspired to grab a clipboard, paper, ruler and pen to play for a bit.  While I don't think I will be following the same path that she used with it, I did design a grid for a possible art quilt.
There are a lot of possibilities here. I love the dimensional effect that I achieved with just straight lines on paper.  Only time will tell which direction this may go - or if it will go in the "un-used idea" storage bin.

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Saturday, April 28, 2018

We have a Man Down

Several of you may have been missing my posts for the last week or so. 
Puzzling the Past
 So here is the scoop. Besides being busy and not overly productive - I got a nasty little stomach bug that laid me low.  The first day I just wasn't hungry - not like me at all!  I woke up in the middle of the night and did my "Linda Blair in the Exorcist" impersonation.  (I won't get graphic and explain that description)   Then I ran a fever and that was difficult to bring down.  I wasn't sure if this was the flu or a case of "stomach flu" (properly called gastroenteritis.)   However, the treatment for both is rest and lots of fluids to avoid dehydration. 

For now, I am still resting but I did want to post a little something for those who were wondering.  I hope you are all well and happy. 

Now back to my resting state. 
Okay, so no hammock, no lake but still resting.
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Saturday, April 21, 2018

Random Acts of Dyeing

Here is some fabric that I randomly dyed this week.
Of course as soon as I went out to take photos, the wind kicked up.









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Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Weekend Playtime

This past weekend, I went to visit  friends and fellow weavers in Georgia.  We had a day of weaving on Saturday.  It was a lovely day and we sat in the studio patio weaving in the fresh air.  I pulled the fabric off of my loom yesterday and wet finished it this morning.
What you are seeing is both ends of this piece at the bottom.  This warp had been pulled from the loom partially woven (easy to do with a Saori loom) and stored for probably a year.  I had not looked at the beginning (left side of photo) before I worked on the newer part.  I have greens near either end that are similar and play well together.  I think when you "weave your heart" that it just works out.

I love this cloth!  

Here is a photo of some of us in the patio area weaving.
I am approximately center of the photo weaving away. The two guys in the corner are working on a computer aided design program for wood working while their spouses are weaving.

The next day we dyed warps for our looms in a small class. I dyed two of mine.  As I had to bring them home wet, I hung them out in the sun today to finish drying.
We used creative resist methods to preserve the colors of the original warps in some areas.  One of my warps was dyed in a pot of purple dye and the other in a pot of red dye. The variations in color should make for a lovely weaving when it goes on the loom.   
I hope you had as much fun this past weekend as I did. 

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Tuesday, April 10, 2018

Sweaty Creatives - the You-est You

This is a little "side-step." I think it is needed from time to time.  While we spend hours working -and sweating - over our creations,  how often do we listen to the critics who say "you can't do that." and believe them? 
For years I wouldn't sing in front of people because a critic told me "you can't sing."  Are you terrified to get up in front of a crowd to perform? Most performers -the good ones - do too.  I now sing in public and even have recorded myself and posted it online.  Yes that is a scary thing.

I read and watch a lot of things about creativity.  The following video is a speech that was made to a group of creatives.  There is so much good information here...but I loved this line: "These are the creatives. These are the people no one sat with in high school and then everybody wants to be when they grow up."  Those words bring up a lot of memories for me.  While it wasn't "no one" that sat with me, it was the other "weird kids" and "brains" at my table.  But you know, that which doesn't kill us, makes us stronger.




Get out in the arena, be courageous. Get out in the arena, create from the "you"-est  you there is.

Once I get some photos taken, I will show the denim quilt finish and a couple of other little projects.  Meanwhile, I will see you in the arena.
Go Create!
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Friday, April 06, 2018

Getting there!

The denim and twill quilt is coming right along.  Did you forget about this one? 
At this point all the rows are sewn together and sewn to the backing.  Each row was joined into a long strip then I sewed the rows together onto the backing in a Quilt As You Go manner.  You may notice that the points don't match up every time.   There are a few lessons I learned making this quilt.

Lessons Learned:
1. Denim is bulky!  So seams should be offset or pressed open. Personally I hate pressing seams open. I pressed these to one side thinking that would allow me to nest seams. 
2.  Denim stretches a bit.  I realized that one reason jeans are so comfy is that the weave structure adds a bit of give along with the added strength it gives.  This  makes it harder to ease in the extra and make the points match.
3.  It is even more difficult to match points when you are also manipulating layers of fabric.
4.  It gets heavy fast!  this also causes drag to add to the other issues.

Next time:  cut a few of the blocks in half and offset the rows.

Here is another photo of it across the bed.
The scattered embroideries make me happy. 
I am binding this with the backing fabric to make life easier (I hope.)
You can see the binding that I did after sewing down the first two rows.  I am sure that was the easy part.  Now I have to do the other three sides while managing the weight of the entire quilt.

Wish me luck!
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Saturday, March 31, 2018

Playing with Repeats

Many of you probably know that printed fabric has repeats. Some of them are far more obvious than others. They are definitely more obvious on larger prints.  I saw blurb from CT Publishing about easy stacked four patch blocks.  Knowing the basic principle behind it, I decided to grab some fabrics and play.  Hmm.... I don't have a lot of fabrics that work well for this - I tend to like solids and blenders best.  Still, I found two and started cutting.

First I did a block using some Spider-man fabric (where on earth did I get that??? and why???)

Okay, I like the center but not the surrounding area.  Hmm, let me try the roses.
Originally the pieces were cut five inches square, but I couldn't find a pretty layout. So, I cut them into 2 1/2" pieces and pieced those.  I like them even though my cutting was slightly imperfect.  The designs still play well.  I trimmed them down to 4 inches.
Now, what to do with Spider-man?  I trimmed out a 4 inch block from the center.
I think that one is fun.  But there are some chunks left - what to do with them?
First I just put two together:
Not bad, but it isn't what I am doing so I didn't sew it. 
Then I saw this possibility so I laid it out for consideration.
I don't  have it exactly lined up- but I see that it will work.

Perhaps you want to see the original fabrics?  Here they are.

Have you ever played with repeats like this?  The first time I saw the concept was in a stack and whack kaleidoscope quilt at the first quilt show I ever attended.  This is a lot easier, I think.


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