The title is paraphrased and re-imagined from a phrase that DebR uses on her blog, Red Shoe Rambling. I have a lot of little bits to pass on and thought this would be a good time to do it.
More on Gabrielle Swain
I forgot my camera on the second day of class. Karen, a fellow student in the Gabrielle Swain class, was kind enough to share her photos with me. We had a little session on features of her camera, which was fun and then we took some pictures. Karen let me look over her shoulder while she took photos.
In the above piece, you can see the color placement issue that I described in Gabrielle Swain Class, Day 2. The leaf is made up of separate pieces. If you can see how the veins divide the leaf, know that each of those sections is a separate piece of fabric. In placing the fabric, Swain explained to us how to fussy cut the fabric (using the light box) so that there are no huge breaks in the color of the leaf. I think the above leaf has more color breaks than I would expect there to be in a piece, but since GS did it, there must be a reason.
You can also see the quilting pretty well in the above photo. All of this quilting is done by hand.
My favorite quilt of Ms. Swain’s was called Even Change (not above, click the link). I think the one on her website might be different than the one she brought to class. Still, I like the idea of temperature that she used in this quilt. The idea was that if she used a cool tone on the background, Swain appliqued a leaf (piece of fabric) in a warm tone on top of that background, then she used a cool tone for the veins. Very successful.
Thinking about Proportion
Periodically, some technique that has been rumbling around in my mind as I try and understand it, clicks into place. What is rumbling around in my mind lately is proportion.
TFQ and I saw this class sample at Black Cat Quilts when she was visiting in April. It is from the Weeks Ringle and Bill Kerr book, Quiltmaker’s Color Workshop: the FunQuilts’ Guide to Understanding Color and Choosing Fabrics. Gretchen was out of the book so I had to buy it from somewhere else. That meant that we couldn’t look at the book or the directions for the quilt.The pattern is pretty easy, so it doesn’t really require a class or a pattern.
I was shocked when I did buy the book, because 1) the colors were a shockingly ugly combination (TO ME). I have little to no appreciation for the colors in quilts made from reproduction fabrics; 2) they put that ugly quilt on the cover; and 3) how small the blocks actually were in the pattern in the book. The above picture shows blocks that are approximately 8″x4″. It was high up on the wall and there wasn’t a ladder available for me to climb and measure the blocks. Also, I forgot my tape measure. Anyway, in the book the pattern directions tell you to create blocks that are about 3″x5″ (the size of an index card). Huh???
Well, obviously, the maker of the class sample was perfectly able to enlarge the pattern. This where I started to think about proportion. I find that the proportion of the blocks in the picture above to be good. I haven’t made one of the smaller blocks, so I can’t say whether I would like that size.*
My thoughts about proportion, which started with this book/class sample encounter, have to do with how to figure out how to find the right proportions (without a lot of complicated math, thanks) of a block. It is easy to say “ok, the pattern says to make this block 3×5, so it would be easy to blow the block up to 6×10”, but what about if I want the block to be 8x something. I have a little fraction to decimal cheatsheet and I want a proportion cheatsheet as well. Let me know if you know of one.
I do have EQ6 and will probably work on it there.
Note we did get permission to take the photo.
*Aside: the smaller blocks might be a good FOTY project.
At work and personally, I am doing a lot of self examination. In the course of this, we were talking about Myers-Briggs types and how some types don’t like opening gifts in front of people. That brought up a discussion of gifts and how I would really like a super large set of Prismacolors. Gabrielle Swain suggested getting the large set so that I would have every color I ever needed. I have been using a set of colored pencils that were part of my school supplies list when I lived in Austria. They are a few years old, but they have great names like hellgruen and dunkelblau and they do the job. The friend subsequently mentioned that Aaron Bros was having a monster sale and I could get a set for half off. I went to Aaron Bros last night while I was running an errand at Target and looked.
First, I was shocked at how few art supplies Aaron Bros actually has now. Their whole upper floor was filled with framing services and ready made frames. I had no idea frames were such good business.
Anyway, I didn’t buy any Prismacolors, because the 40% off sale was over. Dick Blick has the set of 132 pencils (list $190.00+) for $89. That seems like a good deal.
Swain also mentioned the Prismacolor Art stix. She made them sound like they were some special/new kind of pencil. I looked at them at Aaron Bros and they looked more like pastels to me. I am not into messy, so I don’t know if they are for me. I think I bought a couple last week and will try them out.
I am also interested in the Derwent Inktense pencils. I suppose I should learn some techniques for colored pencils, so I can really test the various pencils in an informed manner.
Making Many Bags
I figured out why it is a GREAT idea to have multiple tote bags hanging around. To date, I have made 6 bags and have 2 or 3 cut out and the fabric ready for at least one more. I have been thinking, and discussing with TFQ, the point of making many bags. The obvious answer is that it is fun to make bags. It is great fun to use large pieces of different fabrics than I wouldn’t normally use for quilts. It is also fun to buy fabrics, such as the cupcake fabric for a purpose. I came across the true answer last Friday, as I prepared to go on a trip.
The true answer is that you need extra bags so you don’t have to clear out the other bag you haven’t unloaded!
Yes, life has been crazy and I haven’t unloaded the dot/flower bag, so when I went to pack for the trip to the lake, my choices were to unload the bag or do something else. I was, as usual, in a rush and late, so I just grabbed the Alexander Henry bag, filled it up and left. Right now, I have two bags laying on the floor of the workroom full of various activities. I guess I am already packed for another trip!
The dot/flower bag also needs to be fixed. I didn’t catch all of the hem when I hemmed the top, so I need to resew that. I started to unsew it and resew it, but haven’t finished.