Friday, 29 June 2012

Chapter 7 : Traditional Piecing Methods

 I've thoroughly enjoyed making both these paper and fabric Seminole samples, so different from the Log Cabin experience.  I felt better able to choose and compose both papers and fabrics, to see the sort of balance I wanted to achieve, adjust choices between the paper sample and the fabric one, even to predict the rotational effect of my embroidered strips.  Initially I was rather grudging about using these strips, I seemed to take so long to make them, but their use in the Seminole work is really effective and I'm unexpectedly thrilled with the results.  You may ask why I didn't use them and my profusion of dyed samples when it appears from the blog that I made the Log Cabins last; in fact I don't seem to work like that, my approach is more scatter gun ricocheting between ideas, materials and skills, eventually moving towards order.  This is where the blog, and later on the workbook I keep (yes, as well as my diary!), is so useful.  It enables me to stand back and see some of the things I've missed.  So below really is the conversation my paper samples had with the fabric ones.

Paper Samples 1 and 2, very simple ideas -- cutting at an angle, cutting straight.  I found I did quite a lot of playing with angles to get the right effect.  With the fabric samples I was always wishing I had a longer run of strips.  The moral of this is, and I say it particularly about the embroidered ones, always make more than you think you need.  But then you can't easily tell what and how much you'll need.
The second paper sample again makes use of bleached black tissue and printed cartridge paper., creating that Japanese feel.

Fabric sample 1 adjusted the first paper sample by making the two diamonds of the same fabric.  It remains an uncut border.

Fabric Sample 2 -- the choice of fabrics here produces an interesting effect.  The dyed mottled fabric makes explosive windows in the spotted fabric.  Such a pity that the images don't show the subtle blue-grey of the dyed fabric.

Paper Sample 3 -- bleached tissue and black created an Art Deco feel.

Fabric Sample 3 -- reversing alternate chevrons (though sadly not enough strips) and using dyed fabric and scribbly embroidered strip. (Please ignore the numbers on the samples.)

 Fabric Sample 4 -- dyed and embroidered strips together with a bought fabric.  I found an old book on my shelf "The Seminole Patchwork Book" by Cheryl Greider Bradkin which has a good sixty patterns,  This is my interpretation of one of them.  I like the impression of waves, again the interplay of the two spotted fabrics, enhanced by the random quality of the embroidered one.

Fabric Sample 5 -- again a working of arrows.  I'm less pleased with the fabric choices, an attempt to use paler tones, but it simply seems insipid.

Paper Sample 4 -- below a simple zig zag, above three strips making a zig zag.  I prefer the more complex sample which has an open book-like quality to it, complete with spines, and is interpreted in Fabric Sample 6 below.

Paper Sample 5 -- a multi zig zag design using different width of strips.

Thursday, 28 June 2012

I really enjoyed making these.  Having grouped my papers into some sort of greyscale it was interesting to play with tonal effects in these samples.  I was especially surprised by how well the yellow bleached papers complimented the more starkly contrasting black and white papers.  The combination of colour and designs on the papers create an almost Japanese feel to the first sample.  All of the strips are the same width with dark and light on opposite sides of the square.

Sample 2 is made from the same width strips, but uses mid and dark tones.  It's interesting to see how the patterns randomly link with each other, creating surface disturbance, almost ripples.

Sample 3 uses a combination of wide and narrow strips.  I liked the intensity created by using narrow strips. Again the interplay of one truncated pattern against another is interesting.

Sample 4 is Courthouse Steps and to me, my choice of papers is least effective.  Rather than enhance the more formal design it seems to have made it more chaotic.

Sample 5 is Crazy Log Cabin, quite tricky to make everything fit, and the design gives a nice feeling of movement.  I think the paper choices would have worked better if I had graduated the size of the patterns.

And now for log cabin designs translated into fabric.  I've tried hard to decide why exactly I found this activity the least interesting of the chapter.  Probably I haven't done sufficient samples, and I will try to redress that, as I know these don't include any of my dyed and embroidered fabrics.  My fabric choices and the order in which I pieced them did improve over the three samples and the learning I've done her certainly made me feel more confident and happy with the Seminole strips.
Sample 1 below was an attempt to use some of my least favourite fabrics and is rather a hotch-potch.

In Sample 2 I seem to have gone to the other extreme, using all spotted fabrics.  What I do like about this piece is the way in which the spots are cut on the smallest pieces has such a distorting effect on the design.

Sample 3 is a more balanced piece with spots set against squares and stripes.  It would benefit from some overprinting on the outer soft grey strips which because they are plain seem a very stark contrast.

Why, oh why am I still doing samples from Chapter 3 when I'm really working on Chapters 7 and 8?  I suppose it's because ideas are still bouncing around in my head.  Not only that, but it's to do with my levels of skills: I'm continuing to work on getting to grips with my machine.  I sit there an idea in my mind and manual in my hand -- foot, thread, tension, a riffle through Valerie Campbell Harding's book, only to be distracted by yet another interesting idea.  Below then, both sides shown, is my first sample of textural free machining based on fish scales. The thread is brown-black thick rayon wound on to the bobbin and worked in long lines of circles which are traced back halfway before moving to the next.  The double layer of stitching produces a lovely irregular effect.  When magnified I can see just how jerky my machine stitching is, however, now I've achieved this I'm tempted to try making samples with other threads or strips of fabric.  And then, of course there's couching ....

Thursday, 14 June 2012

Chapter 3 Revisited

A few more embroidered strip samples.  The top sample uses thick embroidery thread in the bobbin and  ordinary machine thread on top, but this time I've stitched a phrase from a poem  which was one of my inspirations.  The wave patterns create simple fish outlines.

And below are both sides of another strip.  First the underside created by stitching back and forth in columns, below the columns are stitched in thick embroidery thread interspersed with metallic thread.
The underside is more effective, almost like a drawing of ripples on water.