Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Design Challenge; Week #5 Results

This week's challenge was to design a quilt that illustrates company coming to visit, in honor of an upcoming visit from a friend whom I don't get to see very often.

I skipped the sketch book this week, and went straight to Word to "sketch."  Several ideas emerged, and some are more promising than others, as always.  More might come to mind in the future, but here's what has come forth so far.

The first is more a statement about my housekeeping skills that about the company, but it is honest that my house tends be a bit...shall we say, not quite kempt, unless company is coming, at which point I straighten things up and make them more orderly.  Not perfectly orderly, because I couldn't be a perfect, or even really good, housekeeper no matter how hard I try.  Then, when the company leaves, the house adjusts to its normal state of pleasant disarray.

That is kind of fun and might make a quilt that is not half bad, at least in its meaning to me.  The next idea has the company coming into the house, mingling and conversing, then leaving again at the end of the stay.   They are each a little different, some know each other and others do not.  .  It is more of a party sort of atmosphere and the design is appropriately busy.  In fact, it may be a bit chaotic.  :-)

So, more in the spirit of one friend coming to visit for a few days, the design is modified.  The spiral in the house represents the fun and joy of friends visiting and talking.   I like this one very much, though I think I might make some changes in color scheme.

I gave some thought to using flowers to represent the flowering of friendship, using petals joining in the home to flower.

I didn't like that very much and switched to my every-favorite circles to represent the friends as they come into flower.  I like this better but I think if I were to make a quilt it would be more traditional, with a pieced pattern of solid or prints that read solid, on either side of the "house," which would be a large floral fabric that included all the colors of the solid pieces. 

I know which is my favorite; which one do you like best?  How might you change any of the designs?

One more week of the challenge, I think, and then I'll take a survey to see which of the six you think I should work on first, to make an actual quilt.  (The challenge will probably continue but I'd like to make a start on some of these designs this summer.)

Monday, May 26, 2014

Design Challenge, Week #5

This week my sister, Mary Kay, contributed the challenge.  A dear friend is coming to visit this weekend, and Mary Kay suggested a quilt about having company in your home.   It's an intriguing and appropriate challenge for this week; we'll see what it might bring!

If you have an idea that you'd like to contribute to the challenge, please add it in the comments.  I don't have a time frame for the challenge and it could go on for some time. (I do have an admittedly vague time frame for when I will start the actual quilt-making, but I will do a survey  as to which design should be the first to be made.)

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Design Challenge Week #4 Results

It's been a busy week but an idea or two have been percolating in my head for a few days.  Two general concepts kept coming to the fore.  While I like both concepts, I seem to have a preference for one of them.

The sketchbook has sketchy ideas laid out.


I'm a beginning weaver who has wanted to weave for all of her life, so I wanted to like the woven ideas more.  I started with the idea of the threads weaving back and forth. (In a quilt the "threads" would be woven rather than sitting on top of each other).  Friendships sometimes wax and wane, moving away then coming back.  Different colors would represent different friendships and, in a quilt, the threads would likely be different widths.  But I didn't like it.  I didn't like it at all.  (Perhaps I would like it more with the varied thread thicknesses, and having them woven in and out but I doubt it would help much.)

I tried it with a more traditional straight threads in a weaving idea.  I actually like this one a great deal and it might find its way, in some form, into a quilt.   But it didn't really fit what was floating around in my head.

So, back to more fluid lines.  Again, varied widths and colors, along with proper interweaving, would improve the design and make it better fit the concept.  I like it, sort of, and it, too, might make it into a quilt one day.  But not this one.  :-)

The other idea, which I didn't want to like as much as the woven concept, uses different shapes and colors to represent different types of friendships and friends.  (Yes, there are bars and circles.  I can't help it!)  Some are heavily connected for a long time, some touch our lives for a very short time.  Some loom large in our lives, others are brief and limited but still a part of who we are, and important to our lives.

At first the idea involved only rectangular shapes, as illustrated in the sketch, but my brain liked different shapes.  Because some friendships are more intense than others, some shapes would have more intense colors. 

In order to represent friendships that wane or are "dormant" for a time, but are still connected to us, I decided to add some threads of connection.   As I'm a spinner (er, Spinster) I could use some handspun yarn.   And I would probably have to add some beads for embellishment, just because.

No doubt the end quilt would look different than this, with shapes moved, resized, and recolored. I might even use fewer shapes, so it's closer to the previous image.  But I like the concept. 

How about you?  What would you add or change, to represent your friendships?

Monday, May 19, 2014

Design Challenge, Week #4

This week I had not idea what I was going to pose for a challenge.  I had had something in mind but all the design ideas that sprang to mind had bars and circles and, while not a big surprise, I wanted something that might spark some different ideas.  I like bars and circles, mind you, and I don't mind have some of those designs in the hopper but this week let's go for something else.

And it came to me this morning, as I was remembering a lovely visit yesterday with some old friends that I hadn't seen in quite awhile.    This week the design will be about friendships, how they weave in and out, with friends near and far, always in touch or touching our lives now and then.

I think this one may take a little longer--friendship is a rich and complex idea.  I don't know if I can begin to do it justice but that's what a challenge is all about.

Happy designing; I'll see you back here later this week with some of your ideas--and I hope you'll share yours, too!

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Design Challenge, Week 3 Results

How would you represent rain in a quilt?   That was this week's challenge to myself (and to you, if you accepted it!)    The night before I threw down this particular challenge we had a storm that was typical of the Midwest U.S.--thunder, lightning, torrential downpours, drizzles between strong cells.

In the first two weeks of the challenge you may have noticed that I'm something of a bars/strips phase, which is not intentional or planned.  In fact, as I look back at some things I've designed in the past few months, it's been resident for some time now.  This week seems to be no exception.  And there's the whole circle thing, too!   (Maybe it's the modern bent that my designs have acquired lately.)

Here's the Rain page in my sketchbook.  It's pretty sketchy, all right.


As I looked out my front window on my way to the basement (it really was quite a storm) after the power went out, I could just make out the rain coming down quite vertically, quite steadily.   It really did look like lines/bars/strips but I knew there were some drops there, which I chose to represent as circles, rather than traditional raindrop shapes.  Because I'm into circles.  :-)

From what I could make out in the dark, the "lines" of rain did look quite regular--though perhaps not quite THAT regular.  I do like the design all right, and it might work but it's no fun to go with the first try at any design.

So, what if the rainlines were less regular, and the drops intermixed?  Or what if there weren't any drops in the mix at all?

Again, I like it well enough (the one on the left, anyway) but there are one or two more avenues to explore.    Though there were periods of high winds that night (and some tornadoes not far from here) it was not an instance of straight-line winds and, therefore, straight-line rain.   There were times when the rain was coming down somewhere between vertically and horizontally. (I suppose that at some point the horizontal rain has to drop down vertically but that's a physics problem, not a design problem.  Sorry, Mike; artist's license!)

It's more interesting than vertical lines (or horizontal, I suspect) but needs a little something more, don't you think?   Yep, circles, or drops.

That's better, to my eye.  I think I like the variety of lengths of lines and different sizes of drops.  If I wanted to be reasonably true to the original design idea I would do it with this sort of color scheme:  dark gray background for the dark, clouded sky, and a light color for the rain, as a contrast.   Hmm.  Might be interesting to do them in an organdy sort of fabric.  

Then I decided to try adding a stylized puddle to the design.   I like it quite a bit, but it looks more like shooting stars across a planet.

I like the diagonal rain, both with and without the puddle and one day I will decide which I want to make first.   I think I might explore the non-puddle design in a different sort of color scheme, perhaps with multiple colors on a lighter background, or bright colors on a black background.

What do you think? Which is YOUR favorite?

Monday, May 12, 2014

Design Challenge: Week #3

This week I had in mind a design challenge, but it will wait until another week.  Last night we were pounded with rain (very little hail, thankfully) so that is on my mind this soggy, gray morning.  Rain is going to be the focus this week:  Design a quilt around rain or a thunderstorm.   We'll see what transpires; what ideas do you have?

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Design Challenge, Week 2 Results

It was fun to play with designs for this week's challenge; I could probably do more with the ideas, but I was able to come up with at least one that I would be happy to actually make.

The challenge was to design a quilt about what I had for breakfast:  Cheerios.   Here are the ideas from my sketch book:

The first is just a rough representation of the cereal pouring out of the box, and I could probably work with it more and like it better, but it isn't my favorite. 

   I also played with the idea of the Os floating around in a bowl of milk (almond milk, in my case) but it was too regular to suit my mood that day.  It might be interesting, though, to do a quilting pattern on the white in a sort of "splash" or "splat" design.

The idea that I labeled "Rebel" gave me a bit of a giggle, and I still like rather like it.  Perhaps someday I'll do a small Rebel, but I didn't give it more attention at the moment.

Next, I turned to some narrow, vertical bars nestled among (semi)randomly placed Os.  (I seem to have a bit of an obsession with strips right now, don't I?)   I like it quite a bit and, now that I type "vertical" I'm thinking that it might be interesting to place a few horizontal bars, too.   Hmmm.  Maybe I'll give that a try some day.   It's always good to have lots of ideas tucked away for the future and any creative dry spells.

My favorite, and the one I chose to work with for the challenge, featured Os in boxes.  Cereal boxes, in fact.  :-)  It started out with just single boxes, but doubling the size of some of them made it more interesting. 

I like the scattered look, and it's fine this way but I'm looking for something more intriguing than "fine."   I tried changing the size of the boxes and the Os, using different colors, and just generally fussing around with them.  In the end, the design combined all of those.    I'm not certain yet if I might like to scatter the boxes all over the surface of the quilt, or just in a vertical bar--there's that bar obsession again; that will require some more futzing around.

I try not to think about how I'd actually put a quilt together when I'm designing, for fear it will limit the creative flow.  But today I've been thinking about how I might actually put the quilt together.  I know how I'll do the Os in the boxes, but there are several options for putting the boxes on the surface.  I could piece them, but that would mean a great many background strips and I think that would be distracting, even when quilted.  I could hand applique them, which might result in corners that are not perfectly crisp--and we like cereal to be crispy in the box, don't we?  I do like applique, so that's a possibility; I would just have to be very careful and precise at the corners.   I could do a machine/raw edge applique, which would be less crisp but might add some interesting texture to it.   That's a consideration for another day, when I sit down to make the quilt.

What do you think?  Do you think some of the other ideas are worth pursuing?  What ideas do you have for any of them?

Monday, May 5, 2014

Design Challenge, Week #2

One week down, second one starting--we're on a roll, eh?

This week's challenge:  Make a quilt about what you had for breakfast this morning--eggs, toast, bagel, cereal, green smoothie, whatever it may have been.

I had cereal, and I'm sketching a few ideas in my sketchbook, to expand later.  I'll expand some--there are a couple that seemed better in my head than they do on paper!

What will your breakfast quilt feature?

Check back for my design ideas, and share yours.