AHIQ Linkup – And Now, for Something Completely Different

I didn’t mean to bait and switch, but to be honest,coin-toss-black-web the Coin Toss I posted last month is still in  pieces, in a basket, waiting for my return. This happens to me…I got bored with it, and haven’t had the urge to return and finish. I think I’ll probably put it together in the format shown at left. I like the nine patch grid. I like the threes of everything.  I still haven’t decided on a fabric for the background. I the black that I used in the photoshop image, for its graphic quality, but solid black would not work with the shot cottons that make up the rest. I’ll have to go stash-diving, and I am sure that something will come to my attention when the time is right.

However, this does not mean I haven’t been working on anything, when time permits, or that I have abandoned improvisational work. In fact, I keep re-discovering how much I like working this way. Whatever you want to call it, improv, intuitive piecing, liberated piecing, it is a way of working that I really enjoy. I enjoy sitting down with some materials to see what I could make of them; and, that is exactly what improvisation is.

In my art quilt group, Pointless Sisters, we voted on the theme for our next challenge. We got three choices each out of about a dozen. None of my three top picks were the winners. I voted for Boxes, Architecture and something else I can’t recall. The winners were Flowers and Reflections. Flowers will be due in June. There are no restrictions as to size, medium, colors, or anything else. I’m not inspired yet, but no worries, I will cook up some sassy abstract interpretation of a flower, and have something to show.

But I started to think, if I am not inspired by the Coin Toss quilt, and not by the Flower theme, what do I want to do? And I thought about an recurring idea I had been kicking around for a long time. It involves layers, applique and decorative stitching, and more embellishment, and it required me to use my favorite colors. If you’ve been paying attention, you know that’s all of them.

I’ll call it the “mother quilt” for now, though she has a name. The original project generated a lot of strips and smaller scraps, and I was really liking all these colors and patterns together, so I started piecing with the scraps, first thinking they could be the back of the “mother quilt”. By about the second day I looked at what I had hanging on the wall and realized this was a whole new quilt top and much too complicated to be the back of anything. The smaller strips were all about the same length, between 5-7″ and these turned themselves into some chinese coins sets right away. I started piecing around a leftover square from the original, that hadn’t quite made the final cut, and started building an off-set, log-cabin, medallion style, alternating coins with longer strips, and the piece has now grown to about 45″ square. I plan to add additional rounds to bring it to 54″ x 54″ to match the size of the “mother quilt”. Maybe it is a series!

More-Coinage

Linking up with Ad Hoc Improv Quilters at Ann’s and Kaja’s.

Have a great day.

Coin Toss – AHIQ Linkup Better Late than Never!

Well I’ve been a bit derelict on the blogging, but it is because I have been working on my online course with Pixeladies in Photoshop Elements, and working on a new project that is completely different to the chinese coins, on which I will comment another time. Also, as it happens, my art quilt group (of which I am now in charge of running the meetings, since last October) happens to meet on the fourth Tuesday of each month, the same day as Ann and Kaja post the AHIQ linkup.  So with that and other things, it got to be a busy week. But I enjoy the AHIQ challenge, and the community it has created, so I didn’t want to let the month go by without reporting progress. I have not touched the actual piecing I did when I last posted my Chinese coins, but I have used it as a learning tool to see how Photoshop Elements can help me work out quilt designs. I guess that takes it a little bit out of the improv world but it is an alternative way of auditioning changes, layout choices, color schemes and so on, that I have found helpful. So, by arranging, rearranging and generally fiddling around with my quilt pieces on the computer, I have come up with a layout, and decided that I need a darker, contrasting field to set the pieces in, for this quilt. I am posting this planned layout, on a black background. Now I need to search in the stash for the right background fabric that will serve as the sashing (where the black is) because it is obvious to me that stark black isn’t what is required. I’m enjoying reading everyone’s posts this month and very flattered that my goading of KL Rollag bore some fruit. She has been a regular on the Improv Handbook FB page for awhile and I admire her work, and her pluck! I love that I have developed a web of communication that reaches around the globe. I wish we could all get together for a cup of tea some day, and a good yack!

Here’s my chosen layout for the Coin Toss.

coin-toss-black-web

Linking up with AHIQ, this Fourth day of March, Two Thousand and Seventeen.

Butterflies in January?

Ann at Fret Not Yourself put up the link for Kaleidoscope of Butterflies and that gives me an excuse for a somewhat, but mostly not related post.

After a year of doing the weekly Made on Monday challenge, I found I was ready for a change of pace. Right now, there are a lot of people doing daily art, daily writing, or one thing or another on a regular routine basis. It’s very popular and arguably good advice for people who want to improve their art. As much as I enjoyed the MoM challenge, and as proud as I am of myself that I completed the whole year (and then some), I also chafed at the restraint more than once along the way.

And I’ve tried doing a sketch a day in my sketchbook, but darn it, I just don’t always want to. Same with keeping a journal, which I have attempted on and off since college.  I never developed that habit despite the fact it’s been in vogue for most of my adult life.

I follow Kathleen Loomis’ blog Art with a Needle, and have enjoyed her daily art adventures very much, but none of them are particularly in my wheelhouse. However, early in January, she did a post about an online class in Photoshop Elements, which is a program I have been itching to obtain and learn. I love taking photographs and even more I love messing with them. So, I checked out the web site for the course at The Pixeladies. This is a course in the basics of PSE, but with a focus for quilters (or really any other artists). What a blast! I like the platform, and the instruction is complete, clear and do-able, in small chunks. I am already beginning to see how I might be able to use PSE to create my own fabrics, thence my own unique quilts.

We learned how to do some very useful things, in the way of correcting deficiencies in the photos, adjusting light and contrast, straightening horizons, improving sharpness. But it’s the random surprising results you can get by combining filters and adjustments that is really fun for me. I made a nine patch out of a screen grab of some Kaffe Fassett stripes fabric:kaffe-stripes-1

I practiced adding quilting lines to a work in progress that’s not yet ready for prime time. I created a layer that was just some design lines based on an underlying photograph that I have been contemplating rendering in cloth.

I posterized my cat, Beastie!

beastie-2-poster

And for my final exam, I worked up three different versions of a very bad-looking photo I took of 100 shell buttons arranged on my cutting mat.

buttons-for-web buttons-ink-outlines button-grid-glass-blocks-with-distortion buttons-cutout-abstract

I like that last one best by far. I’m enrolled for the PSE Essentials II course and am looking forward to that. There is so much packed into this program that I would never have figured it out for myself, given a million years of trial and error (which is how I usually learn new programs). So I’m stoked and thankful to Kathleen Loomis for the hot tip – this is actually something I might do on a regular basis (but maybe not daily).

And finally, did someone mention butterflies? Here’s one of the images I produced during this course, from a photo I took some years ago of an almost ubiquitous butterfly in Costa Rica called the Banded Peacock.

banded-peacock-poster

LInking up with Kaleidoscope of Butterflies! Happy Groundhog Day!