I LOVE talking about blocks, studying blocks, and playing with them in Photoshop... I am always on a quest for great blocks and trying to figure out what makes them so great ... So I started this companion blog that will be devoted to this quest. But also check out my regular blog at http://olderrose.blogspot.com

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Wilma's Block - My Two Cents.....

My friend Wilma lives in the Netherlands and I was lucky enough to meet her in CT last spring. 

This was a block she did some years back for Sharon Boggon's online encrusted class and decided she wanted to make some changes...  She felt now that she has progressed that it isn't as encrusted as she would like. And since she asked for some opinions...of course I always have some.

Although everything she had done was exquisite, she was right in that it certainly had room for more encrusting...

You can go to her blog to read about her changes and she ended with what's on the right.  She replaced the lace motif with a butterfly, added ribbon flowers upper left and a bow lower  right.

She modified the spider web to make room for another butterfly and she added some more fabulous stitchery to embellish the image even further.

All her seams (every single one) are absolutely delightful.  But after all that she still wasn't completely satisfied and I offered to give her some suggestions..

There were just three circled areas that I would change if it were my block... It seems to me that the areas circled don't relate to the block as a whole or to other elements in the block.  She had a long narrow patch upper left and the flowers either need to be smaller, larger or moved.  The buttons on the green patch look a little lost.  And the ribbon is trying valiantly to fill  three patches.

She was absolutely right to remove the lace motif upper right but it only left her with ONE piece of lace on the block. and lace really is appropriate to this block... So the very first thing I would do is remove those buttons and add them to the button trail below and put a piece of lace over that patch with the butterfly extending over it.

Then  I would suggest moving those flowers from upper left and nesting them around the butterfly and on the lace..
Thus leaving the long narrow patch which either one or both seams could be extended to provide surface texture to that area.

Since the image is a period piece I would love to see either a topiary (with some foliage of bunny) or tussy mussy filling the lower right area....

That leaves the upper left to be filled in with something else of that period....  How about a lace fan with a ribbon....or maybe a tussy mussy there...?
Although the suggestions I made are minor they do complement all the other lovely work Wilma has done...

Even if she makes no changes it is a lovely block and my very favorite thing is the quiet lavender space she left next to the image. Please note!!!!. It is an extension of the frame and is just perfect... Well done Wilma!!!!

I would love to post any additional changes Wilma decides to make.... I just returned from the retreat and one of the things I enjoyed most was the discussions and exchanging of ideas about projects.
And that's

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Wilma's up next!!!

I'm leaving in 2 more days and will not be back from the retreat until next Monday but what a treat I'll have for you for the next "2 cents worth" post.  Wilma in the Netherlands is reworking her block from Sharon's class and has made a lot of changes and a masterpiece is in the works....BUT of course as usual, I'll have a few suggestions so be sure so check back next week..

Monday, September 5, 2011

Something to think about!

When you are working on a piece of crazy quilting I want you to remember these two ladies.... They are both attractive and both well dressed... But one picture is definitely more interesting than the other and hopefully you will see why...

It's the curves of course... Recently I urged Lorraine to add curves to her button trail and I did the same with Susan's peacock tail and water ripples...

Curves create interest...curves add movement..... curves move the eye...  Whenever you add a curve element you improve the composition of your CQ.  I guarantee it!  This is not hard to do if you just keep it in the back of your mind as you work... I hope you can do that by remembering these two women..

Some things lend themselves naturally to curves... like flower sprays and dragonflies.

And hummingbirds who curve so beautifully when they hover... The hummer on the left is from the cover of a recent EGA magazine... Which hummer is more interesting because of curves?

This is not a hard thing to do, you just have to be aware of it... So I'm putting this post up to give you something to think about for the next couple weeks.  I have a million things to get done before I am able to leave for the retreat and will not post again until I get home.. You can still send me pictures of blocks though and I will work on them and post them after I get back... Soooooooooooooooooooooooo
when you are doing button trails, flower sprays, dragonflies etc......

Friday, September 2, 2011

Susan's Asian Challenge Block.....My Two Cents.

Susan M from Australia did this block for the Asian Challenge on the CQ for Newbies Yahoo group.  She tied for 1st place and sent me her photo and the following message:

"I enjoy  your other blog where you “pull apart” a CQ block that you like, the elements in it and so forth.  I’d love for you to look at it and share any thoughts about it – positive or negative; things I could have done better; where I could add more or change things or whatever." 

I love getting emails like this.  It makes the time spent on a block worthwhile if I know someone else finds it useful.   So having said that............Susan's  embroidery skills are gorgeous and since this is only her third CQ block... she is indeed a CQ newbie.

Let me tell you first what I really like about this block.  Of course there's the needlework as for me  that is what it is all about .. She elegantly decorated the arch and columns in the focal patch and  her seams are very intricate.   

I love all the strong directional elements on the left and up over the corner... the straight back of the peacock, the bamboo that is surface texture for the odd shaped patch (a perfect solution), the heavily beaded print in the corner and best of all, the lovely wisteria hanging down into the patch below.  

On the upper right side  there are all kinds of curved elements to move the eye ... the stance of the maiden, the beaded spray and the beautifully done cherry tree. Lower right has a very original fan treatment and exqusite embroidered character..

Susan carefully chose her elements and they almost all make a strong  Asian statement....but for me (and it's only my opinion) the ribbon just doesn't fit. It's beautifully done but doesn't fit...so with the magic of photoshop I removed it.. In its place I rather see a dragonfly, a butterfly or even best of all, the wisteria carried even farther down into the patch. Adding some of the purple and blue beads to the motif on the upper right would add a little extra bling there.

Then I would suggest  the peacock's tail be lengthened.  It is a perfect opportunity to add a stong directional curve to the that area.  His tail is beautifully done but not long enough... For a while our neighbor raised peacocks and the male came to our house when he could get away and when he sat on the frame over the deck his tail was over 6' long.

The water lily is perfect although I did tint it a little pinker but the leaf needs to be larger and stronger to support it and add weight to that area... and she started with the ripples in the water around the leaf (a great idea)  but stopped too soon. .... more ripples add another strong curved element... and finally the lace motif detracts from the oriental character in the lower corner which holds its own beautifully without it.  A very small point but I REALLY like the character by itself ...

So here are the two blocks..The ribbon overwhelmed the block and  when it is removed the focus immediately becomes the lovely needlework  and with the blocks side by side I hope you can see the difference lengthening the tail and enlarging the leaf make.... 

 This is really an exceptional block and I'm delighted it received the recognition it deserved.. I shall certainly be watching for future work by Susan. 

If you have a block that you would like some direction or suggestion, do not hesitate to send it to me... I do get behind as these take time but I will get to them all... And so for Susan's block that's