Monday, January 27, 2014

Ahead and behind

First, the "behind" - I have two contest entries to blog about.

First, we had to do a cheater print (previous cheater contests have been themed with zig-zag and robots), this time including something floral and being seasonally apt for Spring. And also using these nine colors (plus white):

Cheater_Spring_Warm
Color by COLOURlovers

Cheater_Spring_Cool
Color by COLOURlovers

I searched around for florally-suggestive traditional quilt blocks and liked "Thistle Bloom." That design requires five different fabrics. As a twist, though, this is a square block and the contest entries get shown on a 21" by 18" fat quarter, so I tried to come up with a way to have it work as a full FQ or if you just wanted a square block. My solution was to make the block a fairly standard 16", then add a 1" seam allowance all around, then add 1.5" sashing to each side to fill it out. So with a different design for the allowance, that brought it to six sub-designs.

I considered drawing six new floral repeats, but got a little light-headed at the thought, so instead I just took some of my existing designs that have gotten the most amount of positive attention and recolored them. I even managed to upload them all as their own repeats, so you can see them all here.

The easiest, just involving swapping the colors, were the seadragons, the basic stitching, and the baby praying mantises. I also took the "wailing spirits" and redrew their faces so they were happy and laughing instead. I had previously turned the campground patten into an abstract texture, so I used that one again as well. And finally, I took just the Rothko egg from the painters' eggs and put that in a small repeat.

So the end result:

Spring Thistle

I ended up using only the cool colors, plus the light yellow and pink from the warm. I thought it would give a more serene look, but I think it was a mistake as it simply looked washed out compared to all the other designs that featured the red, in particular. It came in a bit below the 50th percentile, with 60 votes. My favorite entries were the ones based on millefiore and Baltimore-style applique. For plainer types of patchwork cheaters, I really liked the 3" squares, hexagons, and cathedral windows.

As to the "ahead" part of the post title - I had managed to get ahead of the contests by the time I was working on this cheater, so I even made a few more coordinating designs. I put just the 16" patch in a repeat without the extra filler:

Spring Thistle Yardage

And I also made some plain quarter-inch checks using various combinations of the same colors I used in the other fabrics, and combined them all to make a nine-patch cheater print:

Spring Ninepatch Cheater


Part of this burst of coordination was also procrastination, because I was lacking inspiration for the next challenge, which was "magic" (as in Houdini, not Harry Potter). I had an idea of a scatter print of white-gloved hands in poses suggesting sleight-of-hand, but hands are some of the most challenging things to draw, so I kept putting it off. But, finally, I loaded up a video of Penn and Teller demonstrating their principles of magic and did my best on a representative sequence. It was at that point I decided to just put the hands in orderly rows, so that you could "read" them in order like a little illustration of the technique.

I decided to use the Synergy "movie" palette, which is a bit of a stretch theme-wise - still entertainment, I guess? I plan on also doing a version with hands clapping, so perhaps that can bridge the gap. I entered this version in the contest:

Sleight of Hand

And I also did a version with a gray background. My entry came in 34 out of 119, with 105 - a pretty good showing! My favorite entry was the playing cards.

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Resolutions at 150 DPI

Since it's still right at the beginning of the year, the contest that finished last week was to make something that portrayed a new year's resolution - which had to contain at least some hand-written text. Since "saving money" is one of the most popular resolutions that people make each year, I went in that direction. My husband gave me the idea of having coins marching into piggybanks. Thinking of piggybanks reminded me of this previous pig-based design, which since it has pink tones, plus silver and gold for the coins, seemed to hit the mark perfectly. (I have used these same colors for a few other designs as well).

Galloping Piggybanks! Dancing Coins! Saving Money!

This came in 63 out of 109, with 54 votes. Lots of people did assortments of resolutions, rather than focusing on one. My two favorites were like one - one more graphic, based on tags, and the other very painterly, based on flowers and leaves.

Saturday, January 4, 2014

Hat shaped like an hourglass

We had a break for a week from Spoonflower contests, but now that the holidays are over they've posted the results of the last one and we're back to normal. The goal this time was to create a pattern for a party hat that would fit on a fat quarter. There was a bit of griping about this on the forums - that's not much room, such as for a basic cone party hat, and it'd be very hard to make it a standalone kit due to the need to reinforce the fabric for any structure. And plus it was due right before the holidays (December 17th) - all adding up to there only being 23 entries. I got 101 votes and came in 14th.

I riffed on the basic cone shape of the traditional party hat by doubling it and turning it into an hourglass - thematically appropriate to a New Year's Eve party. The idea is that you flip it over at midnight, so it goes from looking like a nearly-empty to nearly-full hourglass.

New Year

I have no idea how well this would actually work when cut out and put together. I have a feeling the whole thing would need to be heavily reinforced with cardstock and/or pipecleaners to stay up at all. I hope to get around to trying it, though!

I used CC-licensed photos for the textures - the glitter is from here and the wood here.

Something I didn't think of, that was a good tactic for this challenge, was to do crown-style headbands. My favorite was the set of dessert crowns.