Sunday, March 17, 2013

February Finishes and UFO Update

A little late on my posting, but here's my "Year of the Finished Project" finishes and flubs for February (whoa, an alliteration attack!)

1.  WIP - The granddaughter dress revision - slow progress
Got the neck elastic stabilized, the back sliced open, and some matching fabric bias tape made, but that's it.  I now must recognize what my problem really is here - I am not a seamstress/garment maker.  In fact, the only clothing I've sewn since Junior High Home-Ec classes (a loooong time ago) has been puppet costumes, and they don't really count since not only do they not really have to fit well, in most cases they are actually stitched to the puppet body!

2.  WIP - American Girl Doll beaded mitts - finished and in the mail!

3.  WIP - Stepdaughter beaded mitts - finished and in the mail!

5.  WIP - pinwheel weave scarf on Rigid Heddle loom - finished and blogged!


4. UFO/WIP - The challenge quilt that was originally due at quilt guild on March 19 was rescheduled for the May meeting, and it is now completely re-imagined, but in process.

After doing some design sketches, I realized that what I was designing would not fit into the time constraints (firm deadline) or the size limits of the challenge project.  So though I really love these ideas, these sketches go in the idea incubator for a future finish (after this year's quilt show time crunch).  
 (this is not the challenge quilt but has become an incubating story quilt)

So, after briefly considering just dropping out of the challenge, suddenly a new idea popped up that would help me complete 2 projects in one!  I've been trying to work on some "studies", but keep running out of time - but - the studies can be finished in modular units, using the fabric from the challenge, and when assembled as a quilt, will easily meet the theme (journey).

I did select and color sort and wash fabric this last month, so this is now a WIP.
And the fabric will work for the incubating story quilt too, so I have a head start on that one as well!

March challenges (yikes! March is half over!)

1.  WIP - The granddaughter dress revision - (see photo above)
Will try to be bolder and just dive into completing this (before Easter, perhaps?).

2. WIP - The challenge quilt
Cut and piece the study modules (12 to 16 units, depending on how the study progresses) this month (hope to be ready to do the quilting in April).  That's really only one a day, so seems totally doable.
Sorry, no photos till it's done - just in case a guild member happens to see my blog!  So you'll have to trust me on this one!

3.  NewFO - OK, the whole beaded fingerless mitt thing sent me off on another pair that is actually almost done already!  Pattern is "Fluency" by Silvia Harding - in the fingerless mitt variation.
One, maybe two evenings of knitting to finish.

4.  UFO - The giant flower quilt.
I started this in a class a year ago in January and love it and would really like to finish it for the local quilt show (late June).  My goal for this month is just to finish cutting and fusing the picture.  (April will be for thread sketching and quilting).

This shows the picture I'm working from in the lower right corner - and that's an 8x10 photocopy so you can get an idea how big the quilt is!.
And that is my own photo from my garden too!

And that's enough!

Rigid Heddle 8-shaft Pinwheel Weave!

Thanks to Jeen on Ravelry, I found a "recipe" for 8-shaft weaving on a rigid heddle loom.
This is Pinwheel Weave.  Yes, it is very cool.  
It is also somewhat time consuming (with 6 pick-up rows out of every 8 weft throws), so if you like rigid heddle to be a quick weave, this is not the draft for you!  
It is possible to get a nice rhythm going with it though, and the pick-up pattern is not hard to memorize, so if you do not have access to an 8-shaft loom, give this a try!  

I used a merino sock yarn and a 12 dent reed (wanted more wheels across the width) but I think I should have followed Jeen's advice and started out with chunky on a 5 dent, or maybe worsted on an 8 dent.  This would give fewer pinwheels in a row, but also fewer threads to pick up, which would make a significant difference in the time and difficulty of the pattern.

So here's how it goes (though I do recommend going to Ravelry for Jeen's step-by-step instructions and many examples of this pattern in different color combinations plus other variations and other weaving patterns).  (OK, I like Jeen - she's bold and experimental and likes to try out lots of crazy ideas.)

Directions:
A.  Warp your loom with 8 threads of each color, alternating 8 thread colors blocks all the way across.

B.  With your darker color, weave a plain border of some kind, at least 2 rows (more, if you like).

C.  Starting with your darker color, begin the pattern.  You'll do all 8 rows of the pattern with this color.

Pattern:
row 1 - Heddle in neutral.  In each 8 thread color section all the way across the row, from right to left, go over 4 threads and pick up 4 threads.  Turn the pick up stick on its side to create a shed and weave your color through.

row 2 - Heddle in neutral.  In each 8 thread color section all the way across the row, go over 3 threads, pick up 1, over 1, pick up 3 threads. 
Turn the pick up stick on its side to create a shed and weave your color through.


row 3 -
Heddle in neutral.  In each 8 thread color section all the way across the row, from right to left, go over 2 threads, pick up 1, over 1, pick up 1, over 1, and pick up 2 threads.  Turn the pick up stick on its side to create a shed and weave your color through.
 
  row 4 - no pick-up (take a breath) Heddle down, plain weave shot.

row 5 - no pick-up (take a breath) Heddle up, plain weave shot.

row 6 - Heddle in neutral.  In each 8 thread color section all the way across the row, from right to left, pick up 2 threads, over 1, pick up 1, over 1, pick up 1, and go over 2 threads.  (for those who think analytically, this is the opposite of row 3)
Turn the pick up stick on its side to create a shed and weave your color through.
(this shows the pick up stick making the shed)

row 7 - Heddle in neutral.  In each 8 thread color section all the way across the row, from right to left, pick up 3 threads, over 1, pick up 1, and go over 3 threads.  (opposite of row 2)  (sorry, apparently I neglected to take a picture of this one)
Turn the pick up stick on its side to create a shed and weave your color through.

row 8 - Heddle in neutral.  In each 8 thread color section all the way across the row, from right to left, pick up 4 threads and go over 4 threads.  Turn the pick up stick on its side to create a shed and weave your color through.
Repeat this pattern (rows 1 through 8) with your second color.
And that's it, alternating colors to the end of your project.

D. End with the 8 row pattern in your darker color.

E. Put in your plain weave border.

F.  Finish fringes as desired (I twisted mine in solid color 8 thread units)

And voila, a pinwheel scarf (or dishtowel, or whatever project you choose)

So even though it's pretty slow going, it's actually fun!  Really!  
And it's pretty flash, oh yes it is!

(edited post on March 19 - so sorry, I was in a hurry when I first did this, and put all the process photos in upside down!  All better now.)

Saturday, March 16, 2013

International Quilt Day Color Study

Ever since I started working with fiber arts, I've been studying color.  What colors do I like, what colors play nicely with each other, what surprising color combinations are fun, and most of all, how do I use color in my work.  It is a study that will take the rest of my life, I'm sure.
Along the way, I've had some great teachers - in classes, in books, in videos.  

My first teacher was Deb Menz who was teaching a color carding class (for yarn spinners) at the Spin Off Autumn Retreat.  Here I got re-acquainted with the color wheel.
(here are a few of the color wheels I use now)

And all those fun color variations (pure hues, tints, shades, tones) and relationships (analogous, complementary, triadic, tetradic, and more) that you can play with.
Then I "discovered" Kaffe Fassett, and realized that I didn't know anything about color, not really.  So I took up quilting, and took a few classes.
Still a bit clueless, but wandering off into some interesting territory.

Then I found Joen Wolfrom, and all her wonderful books, and the new color wheel in which the primaries are yellow, cyan, and magenta - not the version I learned back in school all those years ago!  And her flip pad (3-in-1 Color Tool) of color hues.  Plus handy filters for helping see value (because value is valuable!  Hah!). Wow, did that open my eyes!  

This fabric is mostly a Triad.
And this one is a wide analogous spread (7 colors in a row) centered on green-yellow (far left in photo) with splashes of a complementary color (magenta), and just a hint of the other two legs of the triad (blue violet in the background and orange red in the flower centers).

And not only can you play with color wheel relationships, but there are all these effects of light and depth and distance that you can get using color and value! 

Christine Barnes (The Quilter's Color Club) has a great special effects with color class that explores these color and light effects over at the Quilt Show.  It has lessons (and excellent homework assignments) on value, temperature, color wheel, transparency, luminosity, luster, and more and more.  

And Joen Wolfrom (Color Play) has a color play for quilters class over at Craftsy (OK, I have to warn you that though she is a lovely person and a brilliant color designer, she is not at all a dynamic teacher - in fact, I have to knit while I'm watching the lessons so I don't go mad) with more great info about color relationships and effects (including some rather fabulous examples of quilts that use these techniques and effects).

And that is my current quilting project - to work through Christine's and Joen's lessons.  Here is the stash I pulled together today to complete these lessons - it's set up to work with one main color (green-yellow or spring green) so that, hopefully, when I'm done, all the lesson samples can be put together in a quilt!  
I've got monochromatic and analogous (bottom row), complementary and split-complementary (top right), and triad (top left) - all in a variety of saturated hues, tints, shades, and tones.
(OK, some of those colors still need to be sorted a little better, but I'm getting closer!)