Thursday, January 31, 2013

Of a Summer's Day

So, here it is. (Sorry for the lousy picture). All of the planned parts are glue basted. So far I'm pretty happy with how it's turning out. I used only batiks, and all from my stash. I think I really do need to add a little something more, it's not quite as sumptuous as I wanted. But I think whatever I add needs to be airy, light as a feather. I'll be playing with that today, along with the butterflies.

The basket design took a bit of thought. I didn't want it to steal the scene, so my first plan was to use just a single fabric and either embroider or quilt in the details.

When I got to this point I was really tempted to go with the embroidery. I kind of liked the rustic lines. I decided to go on with the plan to use bias strips and actually weave the basket, figuring if I didn't like it I could always start over. (Ahh, the joy of no deadline!)

Now I'm wondering if I made the under piece too dark, especially if I put it on a light background. That would be a pain to change, so I'm shouldering on for now. After finishing the butterflies, and deciding on the little accent flowers, it's off to the sewing machine. I'll start by stitching together the individual motifs, and then stitch together as much of them as I can, which will make it much easier to decide on that background.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Back to work

It didn't take long to trim away the extra fabrics, creating a seam allowance. The next step is glue basting and docking. I was about to leave on a trip, so I bagged up all the parts, my key pages, glue sticks and "magic wands". This well organized zip top of fun followed me to Denver, where I did something awesome, something which required lots of changes of clothing, and a special manicure, and,  aboutwhich I'm still not allowed to tell you (although others have, but you know, I follow all the rules).

My plan was to have all the parts glue basted and docked by the time I returned home.
But, by the end of each day I had used up all my brain cells and just didn't trust myself to touch them. Plus the bag was all the way over on the desk, and I was sitting in the chair in front of the television, and I couldn't make myself get up and walk the ten feet round trip to get to the desk.

Now that I've been home for a bit, and rested up, I've gotten myself back to work. Some of the pieces I'm appliqueing are pretty small. This little sweetie is smaller than the nail on my little pinkie. Since I wanted this project to challenge my skills, working small was part of the plan. I've decided to work on the smallest pieces first, saving the easier stuff for when my resolve is failing.
Here's what I've accomplished so far. The most observant will notice that one of the larkspurs at the top is leaning in the opposite direction from the diagram. I haven't decided if I need to change it. I'm also still considering a change in the large flowers, to a rose that looks more like a tea rose than an old fashioned wild rose. And I'm still thinking about adding tiny yellow flowers, but the design that fits best is a five petal flower less than an inch tall. Yowsers!
In the meantime, I've started another pile of fabric for a new project. It will be a large, scrappy, quilt, one with many steps, to be revealled over several months...

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Project Progress

Day two of the "project" began with pressing the rounded spikey elements (I'm thinking maybe I'll call it larkspur, what do you think?) in place on the fabrics. When working with multiple values, this is how I arrange them on the ironing board, moving from light to dark. It makes it easy to deal out the pieces, which have already been marked with the desired value. It's fun then to play around on the fabric to the best advantage. I'm using batiks in this project. They are hard to beat when it comes to value variations in one hunk of fabric.

The palette has changed slightly. I've become certain that the project needs a little spark of yellow. This is what I have in my stash, but I'm not sure it's quite right. I think it means I'll need to go shopping. Oh, darn.

I've also pulled a couple of prints to use as the background. The main background is sky blue, and the accent is a slightly darker shade. I'm so glad, though, that I can wait until the end to decide on the background. I probably won't use these fabrics, but I think the colors are in the right direction. Of course I'm always open to suggestions!

My shopping day, yesterday, was only partly successful. I didn't find the clothes that I was looking for, but I did get my hair trimmed and my eyebrows done. Discouraged by what I found at the mall, I came home early and used the time to prepare the leaves.

All of the elements are now pressed to the fabrics. The greens fall into two families, warm and cold. I'm thinking that I might dub the yellow flowers as coreopsis zagreb, and embroider in the wispy leaves. I'll spend the afternoon trimming away the excess fabric, listening to The Concrete Blonde by Michael Connelly. I do love listening to books on my ipod.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

A new project

After weeks of working on a super secret spy club project (that I will be able to tell you about next week), I'm treating myself to a special project. An applique project that I can work on with no deadlines, one where I can incorporate all the embellishing techniques I've been learning.

(For those of you who are wondering, I haven't yet decided on doing a block of the month this year. I know it was missed last year, and I missed the contact for sure. Just give me some time to catch my breath, and then we shall see.)

I rarely start with a "cartoon", preferring instead to create the motifs and then play with the layout. For this project I wanted to be a little more exacting with size and placement. Still, I anticipate that the final design will change. I'm already thinking about adding another small flower, maybe a pale yellow, to the design.

I am also predetermining the value placement, carefully marking each motif with the desired value. L = light; M- = light medium; M = Medium; M+ = dark medium; D = dark. I'm only using one fabric per value, but that might change.

Up until lately, my applique process has been all about mass production of perfectly copied motifs. Now I am tending towards cutting the shapes one at a time, adding a little individuality to each one as I cut, which I consider one step forward on the road to becoming a truly recovered perfectionist.

This is part of my palette. The purples are for the spikey yet rounded flowers. (I'll surely need to come up with a better name if I ever decide to publish the pattern. Any suggestions?) The basket will be three shades of brown, not quite settled upon. And I haven't decided on a background color. I'm tending towards a pale blue, like a summer sky.

Here are the parts for all of the roses, pinky peach to red, pressed to the fabrics (on the wrong side). This is how far I got on Monday. My plan had been to post each day's work, but Blogger has been a pill. I couldn't upload pictures. I finally solved it today by using a different browser. Geesh. Now that I know how to work around the problem, I can get on with my posts. I'm aiming for a catch up post tomorrow morning. I don't anticipate much work being done today, it's my day to shop for the new wardrobe that I'll need for next week. (I'm such a tease!)