Disjointed, AP # 36


The Harvest

The process of designing and creating my Mystery QAL piece took many, many days and harvested not one, not two but four new art pieces. They are:

  • At An Angle, AP (Art Piece) # 34
  • Disjointed, AP # 36
  • Neighbors, AP # 37
  • Bubbles, AP # 38

Each one of these original art pieces will receive their own introduction. Being revealed today is Disjointed.

Todays Specimen

This piece resulted from the experiments I did while exploring Cindy Grisdela’s book Artful Improv: Explore Color Recipes, Building Blocks & Free-Motion Quilting. On page 47 she introduces her reader to Improv Circles. With her book open on my cutting table I used her easy-to-read directions to create six blocks.

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Day 3 of my Mystery QAL Project

The photo shown above includes all six blocks. I’m quite pleased with how they turned out; especially since it was my first attempt at this technique. Through the experience I learned so much about curved circles as well as color distribution.

Color Combos

When I selected the colors for these blocks I tried to anticipate how well they would work together. Sadly, I wasn’t particularly alert to their color values. After stitching the blocks together I noticed that many of my 1/4 circle blocks had values in the same range. This similarity created muddy or dark areas.

Obviously, if I had it to do over again, I would hope to avoid this situation. Creating art that has a well-rounded distribution of color values seems to be a lesson that I need to work on over and over again. I look at it as a bonus! This means I can make more blocks; which means more sewing; which means more fabric. Yippie!

Does It Have To Be A Circle?

I also discovered, after-the-fact, that I didn’t necessarily have to form circles with the four components. I guess I focused too much on the title of the chapter, Improv Circles, and not the many possibilities for stitching them together. Instead I could have turned them in different directions, creating flowing waves.

If I had paid more attention to the photos in Cindy’s book Artful Improv: Explore Color Recipes, Building Blocks & Free-Motion Quilting, especially the one on the first page of the chapter, duh, I would have observed another variation. Just like with the issues I have with color values, making new blocks with flowing waves rather than just circles will give me the chance to create more art! Woohoo!!

Too Special!

Originally the blocks were meant to be included in my Mystery QAL art piece. They hung out with my other building blocks for quite a while. Eventually I thought they were way too special to be hidden amongst all of the linear pieces so I decided to give them their own stage. Thus, another original art piece was born!

Which Way Looks Best?

I had fun arranging and rearranging the blocks to achieve different designs. I used my iPad to take photos of the various options to keep track of my progress. Those photos are what helped me to settle on a placement. The photo below shows my final product.

Disjointed, AP # 36
Disjointed, AP # 36

Did You Notice Anything?

After seeing the photo you probably noticed that each of the blocks were surrounded by a border. I think those borders help to give each block the individual attention it deserves. I’m so glad I decided to add them.

Did you also notice that they are not all the same size? The first grouping of blocks that I made originated from smaller squares of fabric. When I decided to make three more I also made the choice to use larger blocks. I’m so glad I was able to add variety to my piece through the different sizes.

Even though my blocks didn’t turn out as spectacular as I had hoped I am very proud of my first attempt at improv circles. This original art piece will always remind me of my maiden voyage.

Looking Behind

So, would you like to see how the back turned out; here’s a photo.

Disjointed, AP # 36 Back
Disjointed, AP # 36 Backing

The above photo shows a very jazzy backing. This batik is one of the favorite fabrics I have in my inventory. When I saw it in the store I just had to purchase a piece. Thankfully I didn’t just get a fat quarter. Nope, I purchased yardage! I chose this fabric to be the backing for my Disjointed original art piece because I thought it replicated the lively color choices included on the front.

Finishing Touches

From the above photo you will also observe that I chose to use a facing for my piece rather that the typical binding used on quilts. A binding would have been very visible and I didn’t want that to draw my attention away from the blocks. Also added was a hanging sleeve and a label.

Shall we talk about quilting? Yes! Let’s!

When deciding how to quilt my piece I took a step back to take in the over-all appearance. The wiggling lines created by the improv circles gave me the idea to repeat that motion through my quilting. To do so I chose to stitch wavy lines with a coordinating, variegated thread. The quilting, as seen on the front, nicely compliments my design. From the back the quilting is even more striking. The curving lines make me feel like swaying to the beat of music.

The Details

Disjointed, with all it’s awesome traits, measures 26” x 17”. All of the fabrics used were cotton solids taken from my stash. The thread I used was from the King Tut family by Superior Threads.

I will proudly display my new art piece in my home. The lively colors as well as the curvy lines will add a spark of enthusiasm unlike any other.

One More Thing

Before I let you go there is one more thing we need to discuss and that is the naming of my original art piece. I’d like to be able to say that I arrived at it through some magical process or journey but that would be very far from the truth. The process was actually very simple. The improv circles have a disjointed appearance. The disjointed or irregularly shaped lines inspired me to call my piece Disjointed. See, nothing magical. 🙂

Thank YOU!

Signing off before expressing my gratitude for your attention would be criminal. Thank YOU so much for your continued support as well as your many comments. I look forward to the opportunities we have to interact.

Talk with you soon!

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A QAL Project For Me, Day 8


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With seven days already invested in this project it would seem that I was nearing the end. Well, not quite! My studio is always full of surprises and today was proof of that. Time to take a look at what transpired.

Day 8

When I turned off the lights in my studio at the end of Day 7 I was feeling pretty pleased with the status of my original art piece. Progress was coming along very nicely and pieces seemed to be falling into place. Just because I turned off the lights and left the area didn’t mean I had turned off my brain. Anytime that I am engaged in the process of designing one of my original art pieces my brain is continually analyzing my previous and future decisions. I even find myself dreaming about them. Now isn’t that obsessive! 🙂

Day 8 proved to be the beginning of a total overhaul. Before we unpack that adventure I would like to share with you one of the blocks that may see a few changes.

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Mystery QAL Day 8, Block Changes

Under Scrutiny

This is the block I was referring to. Ever since I created this wonky-looking thing it’s been hanging on my design wall surrounded by all the other pieces. Many of them had already seen additional changes, but this one had not.

I had taken a special liking to it because of its color combinations and because I was thrilled to be able to incorporate an orphaned section from one of my previous original art pieces. The leftover remnant is located near the center of the block. It’s the four diagonal teal strips.

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Here’s where it came from. In Crossroads, AP # 10 I can see segments of the strip repeated in at least 13 different areas. This just goes to show me that a scrap this size is well-worth saving. Someday it will find a new home and for this remnant that someday finally came.

My fondness for this block made me think that perhaps it needed some special attention. Who knows maybe it should to be singled out as a possible solo piece. Whatever its destiny I just knew I wanted to add more color through the addition of borders and not just one.

The fabrics resting beneath were among the many combinations I pondered. After considering my various options I made the decision to use all of them. I will show you how it looked in a later photo.

When Is A Circle Not A Circle?

The answer is, “When it’s fractured into wonky shapes.” In one of my other posts I talked about following Cindy Grisdela’s book Artful Improv: Explore Color Recipes, Building Blocks & Free-Motion Quilting to create improv circles for this original art piece. My initial attempt yielded three new wonky circle blocks. I had so much fun making them that I decided to make three more.

My wonky circle blocks were added to my design wall as building blocks for my current original art piece. They were strategically dispersed throughout in hopes of achieving a cohesive design.

Every time I stopped to take-in the piece as a-whole I found my eyes drifting toward those wonky circles. This tendency for them to draw my attention got me thinking. As the wheels turned I began to wonder if perhaps they were too eye-catching to be a part of this design.

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Mystery QAL Day 8, Improv (Wonky) Circle Blocks

The best way to make that decision was to pull them from their places and set them aside. So, that’s what I did. The photo above shows them all together in one area. I really liked the visual impact they made. In fact I liked it so much that I decided they were going to stay that way. Thus, another original art piece was formed.

Something’s Wrong

Before we move on to look at my revamped design wall I would like to take a little time to show you what’s wrong with my wonky circles.

Lately in my posts I’ve been showing some of my photos both in color and in mono tones. The reason for this is to demonstrate how I analyze my original art pieces for their overall impact.

Pictured above is my newest original art piece both in color and in mono tones. Each block in the color photo has a variety of incorporated colors. Some of the blocks appear to have a well-balanced arrangement of tones while others do not.

At first glance there are five blocks, in the color photo, that appear to fail. Block 5, in the bottom left corner, is the only block that appears to have the right combination of lights, mediums and darks. Now if I look at the mono tone photo I would say that all of the blocks fail the test.

In block 1 the border is the problem because it bleeds into some of the wonky circle colors making them less distinct. Block 2 the two colors in the top right corner blend with one another as well as the border. In block 3 the border should have been darker and five of the colors used in the circle sections blend together too much. I think you get the picture.

When I was creating these blocks I didn’t take the time to analyze the values of my colors. From what I have seen now it obviously would have been a great idea. Too late now! They are supposed to be wonky, right!

Even though my wonky circles don’t pass the color value test I still really like them. Over time I’m sure I will overlook their extra wonkiness. These are all great lessons to learn. Up next is a peek at my design wall.

Design Wall Review

 

Here we have photos of my design wall from Day 7 on the left and Day 8 on the right. Comparing the two side-by-side shows obvious differences. The Day 7 photo shows a very busy conglomerate of unique building blocks while Day 8’s arrangement is much more compact, yet segmented. I also created and added new blocks to the mix. Here’s a test for you: How many new blocks can you find in the Day 8 photo?

What If?

After leaving my studio yesterday I started to think about the arrangement on my design wall. While I really liked the individual building blocks I wasn’t too sure about their placement. Since I hadn’t yet stitched any of the units together there was no reason for me to leave them as is. Believe it or not I took them all down and started from scratch.

A Clean Slate

Actually, it was kind of refreshing to have a clean slate.

Without looking at photos of my previous arrangements, one by one I began adding blocks back to the wall. Some of the blocks were singled out for other purposes. I’ve already shared that the wonky circle blocks had been set aside to create a new original art piece. Also singled out were the block I talked about at the beginning of this post and the largest block of the mix. These two additional pieces are being designated as individual original art pieces too.

Isn’t it amazing that from all of this work I now have authored four original art pieces!

A Quick Analysis

Without going into detail, I want to take a quick look at my color vs. value test for today’s design wall.

Hmmm, let me see…well, I already know that the wonky circle original art piece doesn’t pass the test because I discussed that one earlier. The art piece directly below seems to be fine. The block directly below that could have had a few light tones added to bring definition between the dark and medium fabrics; otherwise that ones not too bad. The last section on the design that contains the balance of my blocks needs a lot of work. Too many of them blend together. I guess I have my work cut our for me. Oh well! No worries! Tomorrow is another day.

Thank You!

Day 8 has now come to an end. Time to leave my studio and make supper.

Thank you for taking the time to stop by today! I’m so glad we had the opportunity.

Talk with you soon!

Before you go, don’t forget to answer the question!

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A QAL Project For Me, Day 4


Day 4

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My mapped-out outline for Day 4, as shown above, was to continue the process of creating additional building blocks. Yet to be explored was the construction of curved pieces. I originally learned how to make these while studying Rayna Gillman’s book Create Your Own Free-Form Quilts: A Stress-Free Journey to Original Design. With the mindset that we should strive to continually learn new things, I decided to explore Cindy’s techniques for curved strips.

Beginning on page 56 she walks her reader through the six easy steps. Each time I have attempted to make these I have grown to better understand the method.

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Mystery QAL Day 4, Curved Pieces Before Sewing

Here are four strips waiting to be sewn together. Its hard to imagine how they can be be stitched but it really works.

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Mystery QAL Day 4, Stitched Curved Strips

This is how the strips looked after they were sewn together and the photo below shows how they looked after being pressed.

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Mystery QAL Day 4, Pressed Curved Strips

Using four different color combinations I was able to end up with eight brand new curved strips.

With the curved strips finally tackled it was time to make a commitment on some of the auditioned fabrics. Shown below are two of the blocks that received new borders.

One More Project

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Mystery QAL Day Four, Pieced Strips

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Fabrics Selected for My Mystery QAL Piece

Before calling it quits for the day I decided to stitch together one very long strip of pieced fabrics to be used as a building block for future units. When choosing the colors I tried to make certain I used as many of my previously selected fabrics as possible.

Let’s Compare

The two photos above show a comparison of Day 3 and Day 4’s progress. Day 4 definitely looks more crowded and shows a lot more activity.

Here’s a recap of Day 4 as per my notes.

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Did you see the comment labeled #11? I think it’s funny that I thought it was pertinent to include it. Who makes a note about cleaning their iron??? LOL!

Well, that’s it for today! Time to ponder my next moves.

Thank You

Thank you so much for sharing your time with me! I love receiving your comments and interacting with you. Your participation makes this journey more interesting than you could ever imagine. I look forward to each of our visits. 🙂

Talk with you soon!

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A QAL Project For Me, Day 3


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I’m so excited to share more of my Mystery QAL adventures. I’m using Cindy Grisdela’s book  titled Artful Improv: Explore Color Recipes, Building Blocks & Free-Motion Quilting as a reference. This is Day 3!

A Diary

As you can see from the photo above, by the time Day 3 rolled around I had started keeping notes on my progress. I don’t always immediately share my projects on my blog; without notes and photos I would have a hard time remembering what I did on any given day. Writing about my progress gives me a wonderful opportunity to document my art pieces; to record part of my own history.

These posts are a great place for me to refer back to. I can revisit them at anytime to analyze my outcomes and learn from my disappointments; one could say this is my public diary.

I chose to write my notes on recycled paper. I buy my batting by the roll. As the material unfurls a continuous feed of brown paper accumulates. Rather than toss the paper into a re-cycle bin I roll it up and save it for future use.

When I decided to begin taking notes I thought it would be fun to use the saved paper. So, that’s why you will be seeing most of my notes written on the brown paper. Now back to Day 3.

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Day 3 of my Mystery QAL Project

Day 3

Shared above is a photo of my design wall at the end of Day 3. The board saw many, many versions before I called it a day. The most noticeable changes are the eight filler fabrics I decided to audition. There is one in the top left corner. Just to the right of that is a lime green piece under one of my angled blocks and there is another bright green fabric resting beneath a severed strip from one my angled pieces blocks. I’ll let you find the other five. Also new on the board is three additional improv circle blocks, and a few new angled strip blocks.

Each one of the new additions helped to reinvent my evolving art piece. I was very happy with my progress and so thrilled with the color combinations.

Before we continue lets talk a little bit about the improv circle blocks. The improv circle blocks have turned out to be one of my new-found favorite techniques. I’m so amazed at how four squares of differently colored fabrics can be turned into such interesting designs.

I don’t know why I haven’t thought about using this method to create such interesting circles. Maybe it’s because my focus typically is directed toward angular lines rather than curves. Both, meaning circles and curved lines, if not repeated adequately throughout an original art piece could demand all of the eye’s attention. Typically that is not an artist’s desired outcome. But oh how much impact they can have when used properly.

In the quilt pattern world there are many beautiful quilt blocks. Some of the blocks are labor intensive. In contrast, with the wonky circles it takes relatively very little time to turn squares of fabric into an abstract design. This abstract design adds just as much punch, in my eyes. 🙂 Of course you could say my opinion is ever so slightly slanted toward the abstract direction. 🙂 Don’t get me wrong…I think quilts created from patterns, with specific intended dimensions demand just as much praise as my wonky creations. I just happen to prefer abstract art. Moving on!

Well, that’s it for today! Time to ponder my next moves.

Thank You

Thank you so much for sharing your time with me! I love receiving your comments and interacting with you. Your participation makes this journey more interesting than you could ever imagine. I look forward to each of our visits. 🙂

Talk with you soon!

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Day 1 of My Journey Through Our 1st Mystery QAL


I’ve been very busy working behind the scenes to create my art piece for the Mystery QAL Tracy and I are hosting. I had the privilege of selecting the main fabric we all need to use in our projects. From the moment I made that decision my mind had been spinning with all the possible options:

  • Should I follow a pattern or
  • Create an improv art piece
  • What other fabrics should I include?

Thankfully I had several months to make my decision.

My heart beats fastest when I create improv art pieces so it seemed only natural to choose that path. One of my favorite improv artists is Cindy Grisdela. She wrote a book called Artful Improv: Explore Color Recipes, Building Blocks & Free-Motion Quilting. I began my Mystery QAL journey by using her book as my inspiration.

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My first task was to begin pulling fabrics from my inventory to be used as companions to the mandatory fabric Fluffer Nutter You Be You.

Fluffer Nutter You Be You
Fluffer Nutter You Be You

These are the fabrics I initially chose

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They would ultimately become the building blocks for my piece.

Day One

With Cindy’s book open on my table, I began the process of converting my fabrics into art pieces. First up was the creation of angled strips. Beginning on page 43 Cindy walks her reader through the steps needed to create them. I’ve made these strips before but I thought it would be a fun and educational lesson.

After creating several sets I began auditioning them, turning and moving them in every direction to decide whether I would stitch them together into one or more units. This is one of the arrangements I tried.

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Mystery QAL Day 1 Angled Strips, What If’s?

Ultimately I decided to stitch two sections together, creating three new blocks. Those three units were then manipulated even further by slicing them and adding strips of blue fabric. I also decided to surround each of them with a border. The photo below shows my three building blocks with their added blue strips. It also shows the three fabrics I was auditioning as potential backgrounds.

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Mystery QAL Day 1 End of Day

Also in that photo you will see that I had cut up one of my angled pieces into strips. My hope was to use those small segments to create other blocks. The strips are just resting on fabric for the time being.

I accomplished a lot the first day. There was, however, so much more to achieve. One has to admit, when they are exhausted, that it is time to call it a day. I had definitely reached that point. So with that, Day One had come to an end.

Day Two

The next chapter in Cindy’s book teaches the reader how to make Improv Circles. I had never attempted to make these before. From her photos they appeared to be fairly easy to tackle. I thought their unusual flowing lines could make an interesting addition to my evolving piece so why not try them.

To create my improv circles I stacked two different 5″ x 5″ fabric squares on top of one another. I then cut a curved line extending from the bottom right corner over to the top left corner. Next I shuffled the top right section to the bottom of the stack and the bottom right section to the top of the stack. The fun part was stitching the curved edges together. The photo below shows my improv circles before they were stitched.

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Mystery QAL Day 2 Improv Circles

After stitching the groupings of two pieces together I then shuffled the stacks one more time. This second shuffle allowed me to create pairs of differently colored fabrics. All-in-all the process was very easy and it created really cool blocks. I’m absolutely certain I’ll be making more of them in the future.

On page 51 Cindy’s book teaches you how to make Improv Blocks. I am not a newcomer to this technique. I’ve used it so many times to create interesting blocks. While I didn’t need to follow her instructions I did decide to make improv blocks to add to my arsenal. Shown below are just two of them.

By the end of Day Two I had made all kinds of progress. I was so happy with the direction my piece was going. Since I was having so much fun it was really hard to quit. The attention I had paid to the process though had worn me out. Once I get tired it’s hard to keep my focus. The best thing to do is to surrender to my craving for more and call it a day.

Here’s a look at my design wall at the end of Day Two.

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Mystery QAL Day Three Design Wall

On the wall you can see my three angled strip blocks, my three improv circles blocks and four improv square blocks.

This brings to a close my first installment in my Mystery QAL adventure. I hope that you have found this to be an interesting, educational and entertaining update? If you have any questions or comments please feel free to share them. I love hearing from my readers.

Thanks so much for visiting today! Talk with soon! 🙂

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