Can’t let this one go

Well, spent a lot of time yesterday doing discharge. That’s in the washer right now, but I wanted to post a picture of this fabric. It turned out really neat, and I’d like to do more with it. I could make a whole-cloth wall hanging out of it and it would be just cloth and stitching. Or I could add more layers of complexity in surface design, or add appliqué  – circles, probably. But I did hang it and placed some circles that are already made on it, and didn’t like it. So I’m posting this here, and sending a message to the Quilting Art and ComplexCloth folks. FYI – this started out as a dark purple mixed from Turquoise & Fuchsia, and was discharged in bleach (I’m pretty sure.)

19 thoughts on “Can’t let this one go”

  1. It is gorgeous. The pattern is allover without a focal point.
    Does it need a focal point? Maybe, maybe not.

    I'd like to see more subtle layers – perhaps one done horizontally, and another done vertically or diagonally.
    Just a thought.

    Or circles in a different scale – larger? smaller?

    What ever you do I hope you keep it subtle so you still see what you have now.

  2. Thanks, Ladies. The ‘still see what you have now’ is the issue, I think. Though it does inspire . . . transparent circles, maybe!Perhaps transparent with a complement behind? Layered circles? But I don't want the fabric to disappear.

  3. My sense is that it needs something with a strong focus – like an image in black or foiled to anchor its rich pattern. Right now, the eye wants to wander everywhere and it's not as effective as it could be with a one spot anchor even. Just a thought – say just a few somethings in one corner?

  4. I wouldn't add more circles of any kind. I think it begs for some contrast – in color and shapes and sizes. Angles, squares, lines. Lay some transparencies over it to protect it and draw with colored Sharpies or lay colored paper on it (to avoid wasting fabric!) to get some ideas. Or draw on the photo you have with a Photoshop type program. You can even scan and print fabrics you might use with it and make paper templates from those. Theory is fine, but I always need to see it to decide – sampling done with temporary materials – no picking out of stitches, please!

  5. I like this a lot! Makes me think of fossils, especially trilobites. Or perhaps jelly fish or hoofprints. In other words, I guess I think it wouldn't need a focal point if one wanted to make it an interesting collection of something that evokes an emotional response.

  6. Lovely! Looks like sea anemonies to me. Add lots of stitching (preferably hand) and lots of beads.
    Judy Manley

  7. I might split it in half vertically and then flip one of the pieces and stack them so that you will have a long vertical with diagonals that move in opposite directions. Next I would add hand stitching to create more emphasis and movement.I would probably treat the stitching as a separate element, so that it might overlap some of the forms and disappear behind other.

    For me the lack of a focal point keeps it from being totally satisfying as a complete image. The cloth itself is lovely. Keep us posted.


  8. What I do when I have a piece of fabric that I love as it is but it does not feel complete is to hang it on the wall and star at it. I first look at it and I describe what I see. No judgement at this point. If you find yourself saying it looks like… you are judging not describing. Description is what is there, colors shapes relationships between shapes, colors values. Once I am done with that I spend some time wondering about what it reminds me of. Usually that takes me to some sort of action to finish the piece but if it doesn't then I wonder about any questions that it might provoke.

  9. This is a lovely piece of fabric, and I'm not surprised you don't want to part with it.

    My answer to this sort of problem is to scan it, then print it onto either paper or another piece of fabric – and start playing. Try stitching with a contrast, overprinting, etc, but on the printed piece, not the original. Smaller pieces make lovely book covers or purses, so they needn't be wasted. The previous idea of working with transparent overlays is good too – you can even print onto those to extend your ideas.

    Looks as though you have a lot of fun in store.

  10. I think you should turn the piece 90 degrees to the right and then look at it some more. It is beautiful as it is, but unfinished and needs something more. Not more circles, go for something totally different – lines, angles, etc. Screen something on it, maybe words about the feeling it evokes in you.


  11. I agree with Pat Black and Anonymous, step back from the piece, talk to it, ask it what is next, what ifs. I know some people like to audition and examine, for me that gets me out of the flow of my work. Sometimes I just let it be and then I will wake up one morning and I KNOW what is next.

    Hopefully one or more of our suggestions will ignite something in you..

    Would love to see it "finisihed".

  12. Here are some other comments that came through by email:
    *When I'm in this quandry, I print it off several times on paper and try some what if's. Then make my choices on the original piece-and you still have the cool papers. Good luck.
    *didn't post but I vote for black and foil and lots of quilting in metallic threads.
    *I'm quite sure you know about tearing off a small strip and experimenting, but if you're like me you don't want to lose an inch!
    Maybe you can add circles with stitching and add another color variation with the stitching and not do any more dyeing.
    BY this I mean circles that are not the same as those already there.
    The best advice I've ever got was listen to what everyone tells you and then do what YOU want!

  13. hi! i agree, there isnt a focal point but does there need to be one?

    i also agree-i'd go counter to the circles for contrast…like an all-over grid effect, which helps tie it all together, then do some spot accents either darker or metallic as highlights.
    jmo. cool piece!!

  14. Thank you to everyone who posted! Right now it's hanging with a couple narrow strips of complementary colors draped across it. I like the ideas of black, and of hot green, and of 'not circles.' So I'm considering squares of black and hot blazing green, with one shadowing the other. Will post again with pictures.

  15. Consider Jane Dunnewold's article in QA this issue re: motifs. Also, consider designing intuitively as Clair Benn and Leslie Morgan of Committed to Cloth do: use what's there, change scale of motifs, don't throw too many disparate elements at it, vary textures and values, when in doubt, consider related colors rather than way out ones, audition using paper shapes and colors or scraps of fabric on a design wall.

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