Tuesday, January 31, 2012

On Converting UFOs

What have I been working on ??!!  Finishing UFOs (UnFinished Objects), and particularly some quilts I have in the works.  One has been assembled in patchwork for nearly 2 years, but not completed.  Another is a more contemporary project, started a few weeks ago.  But needed for a gift in a few months (and must post before I next travel for work, so I have one month to complete it).  And the latest one feels like a new project, but in fact was originally commenced over 6 months ago, and not progressed past cutting out stage !  And there are some painting projects too.  Though painting is tougher to move forward at the moment, as I still have no studio space here.  (yet, but happy to report this is being worked on).  No wonder I am feeling  my creativity a bit challenged--with all these half-baked projects loitering about, clogging the flow of new ideas and getting in the way of moving things forward.

So, a week and a bit ago, I pulled these three textile projects out and considered what to do with them.  In fact, I found a fourth project, that has been integrated into one of the three featured ones, a bit of patchwork I have used to help create backing for one of the quilts.  I also had to buy some batting and additional fabric for borders, backings, and bindings.  That is now done for the first two quilts.  And happy to report they are put together and now only need the machine quilting I will be doing in February (hey, that's tomorrow !) and also bindings to finish them off.

Yesterday and today I have been working on the third UFO, which I thought was a simple quilt of large  (6.5") squares of various blue and green Kaffe Fasset fabrics.  I have not yet done a KF fabric quilt, so this was to be a journey into that space.  I do love his designs and his fabrics are really gorgeous.  And squares could not be easier, so I wonder what was holding me back.   So I rearranged the cut out squares into piles of like fabric prints and then cut each of the squares in half.  When done, I had a lot of triangles.  Somehow this is more appealing at the moment.  I have not done any work with triangles in a while, and it seems a good choice.  Last night I started laying the triangles out to see how to arrange them.

This morning I started stitching the triangles into squares.  Each got pressed and the corners trimmed neatly.  How silly does that sound, they were squares to start with ! But now they are in squares made up each of two triangles, one predominantly green and the other with blue or purple, or a combination there of.   And a very small few (only 3) with one side of coral red.  Once I stitched most of the triangles into their initial square arrangements, I started to play with how to arrange them (see photo above).  The prints are so vivid in colour and pattern, I favoured a simple composition, with green triangles on the lower right of each square.   I spent quite a while working out the number of rows, columns, and also the arrangement to suit...laying the squares out on the top of the bed.  Eventually I settled for 99 squares, arranged in a 9 by 11 overall arrangement.  I arranged the colour pattern to be set diagonally from left to right.

One of the things to work out and decide was where to put the small coral triangles.  In the top photo you can see a couple.  Their purpose was to liven up the composition, and help carry the eye across it.    I had a play with their positioning.  I also experimented with the composition with out them, but it was much better with the accents of coral.  I liked it enough to make up 2 more squares with coral triangles.

I also was contemplating whether to add a second accent colour--mango orange.  I folded a piece of fabric that colour into a triangle and placed it on the composition and decided to give it a go (and I made up a square with one triangle that colour).  I think they add real sparkle and an element of surprise that I like.  In the end I liked it so much, I added one more coral triangle and two more mango hued ones.  Seven accents in total.

Working out which accent to put where required some experimentation, and swapping fabric squares into different positions.  I am now half way through assembling this composition into a stitched whole.  6 columns done, 5 to go.  Ideally I need to finish before bedtime, so I get all the pieces in exactly the right places.  I took a break after getting two sewn in the wrong order (I ripped that seam out and did it again, correctly).  Also, the cats have been annoying me this afternoon, jumping onto the bed and when they do, messing up the carefully set out arrangement and order of the triangles yet to be stitched into rows and columns.  They just won't leave it alone !

Three cats on a hot day, but just cannot keep away
 from a quilt spread out on the floor.
Comparing the larger photo with the ones above it, the differences are quite subtle.  But little things can really make or break the composition.  That's what composing is about (right ?!)

Pookie on the bright UFO quilt #1
Just above, right and below:  here is what my helpers do when I am working on quilting compositions !  They are "assisting" on UFOs 2 and 1 (sequentially) in these pics.

Cameo of Pookie, he loves this quilt
(and it sure is a nice background for his good looks)

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