December 24, 2013

Playing with shape and color-2

The second project I'm working on between stints on the art quilts is a version of a  pattern by Bill Kerr and Weeks Ringle, "Plain Spoken," published in their book Modern Quilt Workshop.

I've had my eye on this pattern for a long while.  A couple of months ago I was looking at the many extra 2" x 3.5" rectangles I had left over from this shot cotton quilt.  Much as I love that quilt, I decided not to make it again, but to try something new, so I looked around for other patterns for which that size rectangle would work, and Plain Spoken came to mind.  I cut some of the rectangles I had in half, to get the narrower strips.  Each of my two-piece units finish at 2 x 3", while the Plain Spoken pattern has units that finish at 4.25 x 7.5."  So, the proportion is a little different as well as the size, but I think it still works out fine.  I'm piecing nine of the two-piece units into a block.  I need 158 of these blocks for a queen-size quilt.

Here are all the colors I had to work with.  I eliminated the white (top left corner), but used all the rest.

In this project, the shape was pre-determined by the rectangles I had on hand and by the pattern.  But lots of color to play with!  Here's an example of how I worked up the units.  I took a pile of larger rectangles all in one color, and then paired them up with a variety of colors in the narrower piece.

Then I made piles of units according to the color of the larger rectangle and sorted also by value.  

I would browse the piles to come up with nine units that I thought would work together.  Here are some stacks of nine units, waiting to be made into blocks.

And this photo shows all 158 blocks.  The pile on the left has been trimmed up so all are the same size.  The larger pile is yet to be trimmed--not the most fun part of making a quilt. . .

Once the trimming is done comes another interesting part--putting all the blocks up on the design wall and deciding on final placement of each block.  I composed each nine-unit block to have a variety of hue and value.  Will I be able to avoid awkward adjacencies when I put them all together?  I made about 10 extra blocks beyond the 158, so that adds flexibility.

For those of you who aren't familiar with shot cotton, here's a close up.  The warp and weft are usually done with two different colors, creating a lovely complexity in this "solid" fabric.

December 23, 2013

Playing with shape and color-1

I'm in the middle of working on two large art quilts right now, "Regret," which I've posted about before, and another that I started recently, a self-portrait made with words.  These pieces are challenging to work on, and I like to have something easier that I can turn to when I need a break.  This post and the next are about two such projects.

This first project I intended as a table-runner, but I decided I liked it enough that I wanted to see it more frequently, so it is now hanging on my bedroom door.  This piece is a follow-up to the work I did in an improv quilting class I took with Sherri Wood at QuiltCon in February; that work is described here.  Below is a photo that shows one of the pieces that from the workshop next to the larger hanging that I recently finished.  I discovered that it was more challenging to work on the larger scale--each gesture is bigger and so has more consequence.  The small piece was done quickly, working intuitively.  When I scaled it up, the work was slower, and involved more self-conscious planning.

Except for the bit of rusty red in the upper left corner.  I had intended the side pieces to be entirely shades of green, but I miscalculated and one side was too short.  I could have pieced in more green, but decided to try other colors as well.  Turns out the red piece really livens it up!

A detail of the quilting--I think the loose grid worked out nicely.