Wednesday, June 17, 2009

My Black & White Rattlesnake Quilt

My black and white Rattlesnake quilt progress so far.Well I took some time to snap a few photos from my sewing studio last night. Here's a picture to show the progress on my Rattlesnake quilt so far. These football shaped paper pieced segments are all various prints from my stash of black and white fabrics. It's kind of relaxing to sit and sew as it is a fairly simple paper piecing pattern. I haven't hardly made a dent into the stack of B&W fabric. While further sorting some stuff a couple days ago I ran across some more to add to the pile.

I love the graphic quality black and white fabrics present. It reminds me of my younger days when I first went to university in Illinois taking Graphic Art and Fine Art classes. In one of my classes we had a series of assignments dealing with black and white pen and ink drawings. The assignment was to look around in nature and find elements that could be used as inspiration, then translate that into a visual piece using black ink on white drawing board. I loved that assignment as there is so much in nature to visually inspire the work. Talk about reminiscing, it makes me want to go take a look through the few things I saved from that time period to see if I still have anything from that assignment. It would be fun to see them again. I wonder if they would actually look like anything I'm 'remembering' now. Memories can be so fluid and changing at times; it probably looks nothing like what I'm imagining in my head.

Some of the fabrics in the photo come off looking more 'gray' than black or white. This is an illusion with some of the fabrics as they are really a mix of the two separate colors. However I did include a few pieces that do have some gray tones in them. I've also got a few fat quarters and half yard cuts of fabric that have cream color with black rather than white. I'm good with adding the gray at this time, but undecided about including the cream and black fabric. I was thinking about making up a few football shapes using them and throw them in with the mix, but have not decided if it's worth it yet. Even the gray has a tendancy to mute the overall look rather than have that graphic pop of the two distinct and opposite colors.

I think another reason I like the black and white prints is because I have always liked comic strips since I was a kid. They were often done up in just black and white. The drawing styles and graphic elements are what gave them character and charm. I have always been fascinated seeing the drawing styles of comic book and graphic novel artists. Speaking of that I was browsing through some blogs and ran across a talented comic artist's work on Loobylu. There is currently a link to Lucy Knisley's work that shows her charming cartoon characters and a bit about her life. You will need to scroll down a bit to find the entry. It's in Loobylu's post dated May 23rd. Here's another link to Lucy Knisley's website.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Paper Piecing Black & White

Lilac bush blooming in front yard.I love the smell of lilacs when they start to bloom. This photo was taken about a week and a half ago. Sadly, most all of the blossoms have fallen to the ground following a couple days of rain and wind going through the area. There are a few blossoms left on our lilac bushes and also some bushes around the neighborhood that happened to bloom after the rain. It's fun to take the dogs walking and catch a whiff of lilacs on the breeze. That's one of the perks of summer for me - the scent of lilacs on the breeze.

I've started work on another quilt. This one is a paper pieced quilt pattern I am making up with black and white fabrics. I plan on adding bright, vivid pops of color in the corners when it finally goes together. It will take a while to do the paper piecing so I have time to go through my fabric stash to review what I have on hand. I hadn't planned on purchasing more fabric since I have so much on hand at this time. But this black and white quilt seems to call for some pops of color. At the very least I'll throw in a variety of reds. I know I have plenty of them on hand. But what I had in mind was a collection of other colors like blue and greens. I'll wait till the piecing is nearly done before I make the final decision.

Karen Stone's Rattlesnake Quilt pattern.The pattern is called 'Rattlesnake' by Karen Stone. It consists of a football shape made up of triangles. I have collected a variety of black and white fabrics. I decided it was finally time to do something with them. This will be a great use for these prints.

The pattern was written for use with flannel fabrics, but I chose not to go that way. I think the cottons will be so much nicer to work with, less bulky at the corners. Besides, I've got way more selection of cottons than I do flannels.

I'll work on getting some photos taken and posted this week to share my progress. This is the quilt I've been taking along to do some sewing at a friend's house. We sit and chat as we sew. Once you get into the swing of matching the shape to fit the paper piecing areas it starts to become a 'no-brainer' sewing project. It takes a little thinking at first with paper piecing since you are sewing from the back side to follow the stitching lines on the paper, but after a few pieces are sewn into place your brain gets adjusted to working from the back side of the piece. That fact alone is usually what throws newbies on paper piecing. If you catch onto the working from the back technique you'll do great and love to paper piece. If not, you'll hate it when flipping the fabric proves you sewed wrong. It's one of those love it or hate it kind of projects. I like the fact you can make intricate designs very accurately by just sewing on the lines.