Tag Archives: Stretching Art

“Leaving” Is Finished

I just finished the last stitch, and I do mean last–attaching the label.

Stretching Art 19 finished

I have some quilting photos from before the facing was attached.

 

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And the whole

a stretching art quited

Once again I had to depart from nature. Plan A had been to follow the side veins. But designwise, it seemed better to alternate directions.

Ironically, of the two due in mid February, this finished one is the one with the date extension, and the one that is still only a sketch had its date shifted to Feb. 6.  At least it is only the top that is due, and I think I can get that accomplished.

Now to get it ready to mail.

Quilt history

Begun

Designed

Top FinishedThis is the post where I talk about design decisions, for those who are interested.

Sometimes quilt history is shorter than others, and of less duration.Deadlines can do that.  Stretching Art information here with photos from last year.

Linking with Connie’s Freemotion by the River.

I’ll be linking with the TGIFF and Nina Marie’s Off the Wall (button in sidebar).

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“Stretching Art”* Top Finished

Once I stopped dithering, sewing went relatively quickly, so now the top is finished.

a stretching art 19 top

Because I have several small projects ahead, I’ve set up my portable (52 x 52) design wall. I’d thought I’d be using it for this project too, but since I was following a paper diagram, I had to lay the pieces flat until now when they are attached. You may notice a couple small changes from the preferred arrangement of a couple days ago.

I got several design suggestions, but only one before I’d done a fair amount of sewing.  Kate suggested the bottom left “vein” that had been in the first rejected layout. It took me a while to remember why I had dropped it. At the time I was thinking of the way the veins really angled in the photo of the leaf. But when abstracting from reality, such things as realistic angles don’t matter. and I agreed with Kate that the design needed it.

In case you are wondering, No, the angle variations are not a mistake. I wanted the traditional blocks to be at a traditional on-point angle, and the leaf “veins” to have no right angles and not to parallel the blocks, more like the casual placement of modern improv, and the two “grids” to be in tension. I don’t think this tension between the two is what MQG means by their category “Modern Traditional,” but I might submit it to QuiltCon next year anyway.

I am still not sure if the design has a focus.  My eye tends to fall at the spot where the two veins almost meet above the autumn tree block. Not sure if that qualifies it as a focus.

Now to plan quilting–I have two tentative ideas. Tune in again next [whenever].

*For those interested in details of the Stretching Art Challenge, here is the link.

Meanwhile, while piecing the top I finished off 11 more sets of 5 squares for the Irish Star quilt, the relaxed schedule QAL, relaxed because many of us are making the chain blocks as leaders and enders. (Link here if you are interested in the tutorial.)

Irish Star progress

Whereas most people are making blocks as they go, I am making columns.Why do something easy if you can make it more difficult? Before I realized that each star’s background involved 4 of the chain blocks as well as the star block itself, I’d decided I wanted to use left over background fabric and not have the backgrounds match. I won’t have enough variety to make each of 17 unique, but there will be variety.  That means I have to know where the stars are going to be placed before knowing where to put the background square in each of the four surrounding sets of 25 patch blocks. (If this doesn’t make sense, go look at the tutorial.) I need 68 pairs of 2 1/2-inch squares, so it will take a quilt or two before I have them ready.  I also need to cut more pieces for around a dozen star blocks. To do that, I need to do some scrap control, i.e. cut more 2 1/2-inch squares. My color selection is getting very limited as well as there not being 136 usable squares.

I plan to link with Moving it Forward Monday (ETA link here) and Oh Scrap! (link in the sidebar.

 

 

 

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Mental and Visual Planning

I have thought on the various options I left off with and finally decided to cut strips to see how the veins would look.  “Make visual decisions visually” is advice I’d gotten somewhere; perhaps in the Masterclass with Elizabeth Barton a couple years ago. In the Masterclass, I’d been faulted for laying out strips including the seam allowance.  Trim or press it; it’s only fabric . . . But pressing seam allowances on narrow strips seemed too much handling. And of course I was always sure I’d end up just that one or two inches short. So on to viewing the plan with strips.

attempt 1

Besides trying strips in the correct size, I auditioned two possible fabrics for the possible varying of the background. I did not like the three colors of veins nearly as well IRL as in my head. And my first thought for the background variation was to add some color to the rather bland winter block. Not thrilled with that either. Moving on

attempt 2

This one seemed too dark.

attempt 3

I tried the varied background in different places.  The bottom fabric drew too much attention to itself for a background. It would maybe have worked had I stayed with Plan A to replicate the leaf segment, more or less.

To view more than one segment of the less bright color I needed to cut fabric. Since I had only a fat quarter, I had to be sure I had enough. So I went ahead and drew the “map” of the plan and the tissue paper templates. (Yes, I decided on templates instead of improv, mostly because I had to end up with a specific size.) There was enough fabric, so I laid it out.

attempt 4

And I switched out a couple leaf veins to a lighter orange and liked it. But wondered if I needed more of the alternate background. So tried one more layout.

attempt 5

You may have noticed that the spring tree doesn’t have as stable a position as the others. I’ll need to decide soon.  I like the idea of a narrow piece of the second background, maybe down the whole right of the main vein. but I don;t like the two background colors together without the vein between, and that is not a place to put a vein. I’ll probably go with the fourth layout.

I realized that I don’t have a clear focus area.  Not sure what, if anything, to do about it.

Come Friday, I’ll link with Nina Marie’s Off the Wall Fridays (link in sidebar). You might enjoy a visit, check it out.

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A New Year and a New Quilt

With a due date the beginning of February, I guess it is time to get beyond mental quilting. The Stretching Art theme this year is “Under Scrutiny.” (The Stretching Art challenge is to make an art quilt 18 x 36 on the assigned theme and to try some new technique. The quilts are hung in three or four Mancuso shows in the East, so I’ll probably never see them hanging.) This theme was daunting for quite a while. Last year’s, Dream Big, was much easier for me (Dreaming of Cool, Clear, Abundant Water here ).

What hindered me was that the theme, asking us to look deeply and drill down, seemed to invite representational art (even though the challenge mentioned abstract ideas) and I prefer abstract design. I didn’t get an idea till Fall came, and gorgeous leaves filled the sidewalks.

So I took a walk, camera in hand. From the photos, I selected this one and cropped and cropped and cropped. Idea one was to replicate the last one, more or less. But before I started sketching, I remembered an ancient start of a tree themed quilt. I’d made four test blocks, one for each season, and gazillions of  one-inch HSTs. The plan had been to make the first four the center of a queen sized medallion quilt, either as four blocks on point or as a square..

I got stumped on the decision of whether to keep the season represented by the center tree for that whole quarter of the quilt or to intermingle the HSTs randomly or to keep seasonal coloration by rows. I set them aside with the fabric the HSTs had been cut from while I thought on the dilemma. And you know all about “out of sight, out of mind.”

Having remembered them, I thought, Why start my scrutiny from the tree when I could start with ecosystem, forest, tree.  Finally I was ready to sketch. Although I did the outline to scale, I’d made the 6-inch tree blocks too small, but the idea seemed a good place to start..

leaf sketch

I’d gotten this far before Thanksgiving, but set it aside again for the holidays.

Today I dug the old tree blocks out from the bottom tub in a four-tub stack and began auditioning fabric.

leaf fabric audition

The leaf “veins” will be much narrower, of course.  And I’m still debating whether to vary the shades of gold in the background or use just one. I’m leaning to the one. I also have to decide whether to make the “veins” straight or slightly curvy as in the sketch. I’m leaning to straight. Curves can come in the quilting. And I’m pondering whether to make templates or do improv piecing. I’ll sleep on it.

Linking with Nina Marie’s Off the Wall Friday.

 

 

 

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