More than I want to count

How many decisions does it take?

I started a project about a month ago that included color. A great big pile of color all stitched up together. Rectangles nested, connected and spliced to create a whole. It is a process that demands patience, the power of arbitrary decision, and attention to detail. I can usually count on having two of three of those traits on any given day.

Decisions are endless, if I counted all the seams, snips and rearrangements I would have to seriously question my behavior. For example this little section took most of the morning to figure out. Which way should the red, white and gray composition attach to the orange white and gray section?

When I run out of patience I get distracted. Like: How cool are these wispy thread ends on the back of the piece? They seem to be blowing in the wind, or tangled with an inner confusion. And then I start studying the trimmings. Looking for the answer in chaos.

Stitching scraps together brings new meaning to the whole.

Leftovers reflect the effort of the choices I made.

And now I've turned the whole thing to the back so that I can study that for a while.

I started this piece with no clear goal. I vaguely wanted to create a playground for stitch. Something I could hop, skip and rollerskate over with my thread. And now I'm not so sure. I'll have to take some time to think about it some more, I'll have to find the patience to make some more decisions.

cold snap

The weather maps I have been collecting for the past year are decidedly blue and purple in cast -- a sign that arctic winds are traveling south. So it was with a sense of joy I noticed these colors in the kitchen. The rescued tomatoes and the first winter lentil soup.

Winter vegetables.

fun with triangles

Half-square triangles have an infinite variety of ways to be put together. These color study units I have been working on give me a way to release some creative problem-solving time. Here are some of the ways they can work.


half-square triangle diagramsI think I will do something like this:


roughed-in composition for color study quiltI like how the white breaks up the geometry, forcing the viewer to complete the pattern in their imagination. I think I might add a wide white border too.

color experiments

Since the free-motion fairy is not with me today I decided to play with some color. Based loosely on the Pundit quilt colors of lime green, black and white I experimented with other highlight colors to create a different mood. Here are the half-square triangles in pre-trim mode. A lovely prayer-flag composition... I didn't really want to cut them apart.

half-square triangles in chained piecing mode

half-square triangles in chained piecing mode

Cutting them apart and ironing them flat yielded another viewpoint:


hal-square triangles pieced and rough trimmed

And now the experiment can begin:


half-square triangles on the design wall

I think I will add more white in the next batch. I like the hard black accents and I want to find another tint of that bright green.

trust the scrap heap

Trust the scrap heap composition

I spent the last couple of days exploring a new concept for a piece about urban sprawl. Where to begin? What does it look like? I was stumped. So, instead, I decided to just play a game with myself that would hopefully crystalize some of the vague notions I had about the construction of the piece. I played the TRUST THE SCRAP HEAP game. I emptied a bin of scraps onto my worktable and chose any solid scrap that was under 10" square and no smaller than 2". I then cut each scrap into a 1.5" strip and randomly sewed them together. Good thing I only emptied one of my scrap bins because I would have been at the cutting table all week. 

Strips all put together, I then cut them into 1.5" units and arranged them into a grid.

Now the revelation. You know those beauty sessions where they tell you what season you are? I am definitely autumn. This scrap heap showed me that I am drawn to neutrals and dirty midtone colors with an occasional spark of lime green or white. The composition worked because, even though I sewed the colors together randomly, I was able to rearrange the grid to play off the neutrals. Would I have chosen this set of colors for a piece without this random exercise? No. But, it has some validity since I chose the colors in past projects and they are all a piece of my aesthetic.

And now I know where I want to go with that urban sprawl piece.