Monday, January 02, 2006

Update on last week...Another balancing act

Here's my quilt using those stamped squares from a week ago and I am so pleased. As I stated in my goals for last week, I wanted to pursue this before I lost the idea but wasn't sure how long it would take. There is no piecing involved and it is only 17-1/2 x 11-1/2 inches, so you would think it would whip right up. However, since the fabric squares were not picked with the idea of using them together, there was a question of whether I could find the proper background and arrangement to make them work. That black (actually a very dark midnight blue) really draws the eye and I couldn't make it smaller to balance the visual impact.

I went to my batik stash once again with a particular piece in mind...a bit muted with greens and dark blues and golds running through a viney leaf pattern to continue the design of the commercial stamp. But I always try additional fabrics even if I think I've hit upon the perfect one. Eventually I had 6 or 7 candidates and through the process of elimination came back to my original choice and a second one that was a little zippier. Then on a whim, I pulled out the piece you see here. It was not as bright as another purple I'd had out, but definitely made those squares pop instead of recede in a muddled mess like my favorite. I put the two on the design wall and kept switching the squares back and forth between the two until I couldn't deny any more that I needed to use the bolder piece. This process also gave me a chance to rearrange the squares into different placements and positions.

Yes, here I was again, working with three squares trying to work out an asymmetrical arrangement that looked balanced. The overlapping was making it harder and I eventually spent a little time reviewing balance and proportion information in Joen Wolfrom's book The Visual Dance and it helped. I was amused (and a little disheartened) to find in her section on asymmetrical design no hard & fast rules, but the suggestion to "attempt to work intuitively as much as possible. Allow time for your design to simmer in your mind; don't rush your progress. Give yourself time to see your design when you are not actively working on it." Ok, good advice, but my intuition has failed me in the past and I wanted to finish this up in a couple days! Well, I could certainly set it aside until the next day and see if I was still happy with the last arrangement I came up with.

Next day, I was totally happy with the background and had pinned the squares together to preserve the arrangement, noting where on the background they fell. I squared up the background fairly close to a figure on Joen's Golden Mean chart. Then with it positioned on grids of the cutting mat I laid down the squares. Ah heck. They still didn't look quite right, so I penciled a few marks so I knew where I'd started and began shifting and changing the overlaps again. It didn't take long to come up with this which I felt comfortable with. I used a little glue baste to secure them, then pinned a tearaway stabilizer underneath and satin stitched around the raw edges. I wasn't sure about using the black, but once it was around the first square, I couldn't believe how good it looked.

I used Hobbs 80/20 black batt and did minimal quilting with rayon thread. Felt very iffy about how that looked. But when I looked at it the next day, I was quite surprised at how much I liked this piece. Went from hoping it would be good enough to sell to perhaps liking it too much to part with it. One more square-up and applied a single fold binding. Hand-stitched it to the back last night.

As for my other goals, I didn't do as well. I only spent one night on the handquilting so did not reach that goal. And as for the WFW quilt I think I threw it in more as wishful thinking than any real belief that I'd find time to sew strip sets. That can easily move to this week.


annabel said...

I think you have definitely achieved balance and harmony. The colours are gorgeous -harmonious but interesting, and the placing of the squares is right for me too. I associate balance with feeling comfortable when I look at something, and I do with yours.

Bernardine said...

Looks fantastic, very simple but with great visual impact.