Monday, February 25, 2013

Throwing in a curve

 I decided on the vertical composition for my piece, using the rough sketch below as a guideline for the placement of my trees and where the creek will meander.

For many of my quilts in recent years, I have been drafting my patterns using all straight lines.  There is something about the final look of the piece that I find more pleasing.  Sometimes when I have used a lot of curved lines in depicting subjects they tend to take on a cartoonish look but that may be just my own perception.

 I am a firm believer in having the unexpected "something" in a composition, whether that be a color or shape.  In this case I had one small tree in the upper center of my piece that seemed to stand alone.  I worried about there not being enough interest in this area but I didn't want to add anything too distracting as it was not a focal point.  I just needed a little added spark so things weren't too boring.

My solution was to use line to add interest.  I decided to add one curved line, amongst all my straight ones in this pattern, to the small tree standing alone in the snow.  As the tree will be a dark value against the lighter value of the snow, the line will be in marked contrast and very distinctive.  But not too distinctive.   

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Rough sketches

 When I say that I start with a rough sketch at the beginning of a new project, I do mean rough!  As you can see, there is nothing pretty about these drawings. 

Believe it or not, this is a landscape scene consisting of cottonwood trees along a creek in winter.  Both of these drawings are 3 or 4 inches in size.  I am trying to find the best  composition, working on different tree placements and tree silhouettes as well as auditioning different shapes of the piece.  Should it be a horizontal or a vertical shape?

So far I am leaning towards the verticle orientation.  That size gives me a lot more space in which to meander my creek and put in more distance and perspective, items that I believe will make a much more interesting piece in the end.

But I will keep scribbling and auditioning different compositions and final shapes.  For me, this is an important step with important decisions to be made and you never know what you may come up with by taking the time to try different ideas. 

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Fabric First

For me, it is all about the fabric.

Before I start scribbling down any new ideas or drawing any pattern, I always go to my fabric stash.  As you can see here, I sort all my fabrics by color and I like having them in these cubbyholes so I can easily access everything, flipping through different fabrics without moving things around too much (fabric is heavy!). 

I love shopping for fabrics online, usually doing a big buy every 6 months or so.  As I don't buy fabrics for specific projects, preferring to use what I have on hand, I am never worried about matching colors or receiving something that wasn't quite what I expected.  And it is so much easier than lugging around 20 or 30 bolts at a time around a fabric store.  I still love stopping into my local fabric store for backing fabrics, threads and the occasional fabric, but now when I visit it is much more relaxed rather than being a weight lifting session.

Half yard cuts are my favorite unless it is a very large scale print or directional.  Fat quarters never give me the length or size I usually need as I tend to work larger.  And I always pre-wash my fabrics before they get added to my stash so I know that they are ready to use.

I want to make my next quilt feature trees in a winter scene with a meandering creek through  the landscape.  I've gone through all my browns, blues, whites, creams and a few other colors (just in case) and pulled them out so I can look at them while I think of my pattern.  I like to fold them as pictured, placing them together so I can see if any of them don't work well or play well with the others.  So now I'll go start sketching, but first it is always about the fabric.