Tuesday, February 26, 2019

Week 7 Gentle Domesticity book study...

This week’s section of the Gentle Art of Domesticity focuses on how we choose and display colour in the things we make.

Ripple Effect

I really enjoyed Jane’s ruminating about the changes in crochet and how it was enjoyed and employed rather differently ‘back in the day’, more of a use it up and wear it out attitude than our consumerist desire for new which is common to the modern era. The same can be said about vintage quilts and fabric stashes but for this section we’ll stick with crochet.

“I like the mish-mash of colours in vintage crocheted blankets; the way the makers seemed to use whatever they pulled from their workbag, the way they revelled in clashes and contrasts…” (page 52)

If you’ve been reading Elefantz for a while you’ll be aware that I’m in the process of completing a Sweet Pea crochet blanket for my almost 1 yo granddaughter, Rafaella. I saw a photo of the original blanket last year and purchased an identical yarn pack. Now this was fine because I don’t normally play with 8 ply yarn so did not have bits and pieces to use up, but Jane makes a very good point here about how in the past crochet was quite often a ‘thrift craft’, a means of using up leftover yarns and colours. I shall indeed have a good supply of leftovers when Rafaella’s blanket is finished and now I’m inspired to use every last remnant in other ways.

“This is free and liberated creativity in which simplicity of form gives huge possibilities for playing with colour.” (page 52)

When I was young and visiting a neighbour my eyes would rarely move from the beautiful and large granny square crocheted blanket she had draped over her couch. Every square was a set of different colours but they were all joined together with a black border which at first bothered me because I did not like black and in my young mind I questioned why Nana’s old friend hadn’t just used more colour. Surely it would have been prettier? The crochet blanket was backed with tartan flannelette and the two pieces joined together around the outside edge with more black crochet.

One cold winter day during our visit I became very drowsy as Nana and her friend chatted away and drank tea so the maker of this odd blanket pulled it from her couch and wrapped me in it. Snug as a bug in a rug I drifted off to sleep and the memory of that comforting softness sits within my memories to this day. That was the day I fell in love with the bright mish-mash of crochet colours hemmed in by bold black borders. It wasn’t just something to be looked at anymore…it had offered me warmth, comfort and rest. 
I never looked at black the same way, not when it's paired with beautiful colours as was found in that blanket.

For Jane it appears her love of colour and contrast can often be triggered by the way certain shades move within a pattern, as she discovered when crocheting a ripple blanket.

“But the wavy stitch is dangerously addictive and it soon became a go-faster stripe as I wanted to see how more and more colours looked. Eventually I ran out, not of steam, but of yarn…” (page 52)

Processing Colour

Jane is quite adventurous in all her creations, allowing the fabric pattern or the colours within to lead her on a journey of discovery, especially in the gentle art of making a quilt. Surprisingly, if one particular print catches her eye she will purchase it and then spend months collecting more pieces before she ever makes a single cut into the fabrics. 
Not so sure most of us would be that patient with our quilt making!

As mentioned earlier in the book, before even a stitch is sewn it’s her son Tom whom Jane turns to for a second opinion when the squares or pieces have been cut and are laid out across the floor. Trusting his eye for colour and design has often proved invaluable for Jane and this made me consider how wonderful it is to have someone else who knows your style and yet sees ‘beyond’ to push you a little out of the comfort zone. 

However, it does take a great deal of trust to receive someone else’s opinion on how you should use colour, and it’s important not to feel pushed too far from what you’re comfortable with. After all, you have to live with the final project and they can toddle off home and never lay eyes on it again.

I’ll leave the final words about processing colour in quilts to Jane…

“…if you allow the quilt to communicate its own colour rules rather than imposing yours, you end up with something quite different from what you had imagined, but something with a life of its own.” (page 54)

Told you she was adventurous!

Playing With Colour

“I have always envied artists who discover a tangible form of creative expression that can be repeated over and over but with subtle variations.” (page 56)

This section was all about taking one design and then remaking it in a variety of different colours. Choosing one cushion she had knitted, Jane then knitted the exact same pattern nine more times to complete nine more cushions – but each one was a display of very different colour combos
The making of these ten cushions taught Jane to look not just at an original pattern or project as an end in itself but to explore the way colour could transform one thing into a variety of moods or decoration.

And what did Jane do with her 10 cushions?

“We sit on them, put them under heads, feet and bottoms, scatter them on chairs and settees…I prefer to enjoy them all while I can.” (page 59)

Since we moved into our first home last September my own ideas on colour have been quite turned on their head because I discovered my decorating style in a rental home is not quite the same as the one I’m moving towards in a home of my own.

This is why it’s taking so long to decide what to hang, what to paint, what to make, what to display, what to give away. Reading that it can take Jane months of ‘collecting’ fabric she likes before making the very first cut into a quilt project reminds me that progression in big decisions or even big projects are quite normal – especially when you discover a new colour palette catching your eye, a passing of the baton so to speak, away from the old tones you used to love and towards something fresh and exciting. That’s right where I am at the moment, though there does appear to be a merging of both old and new in some areas and I’m pretty happy about that too.

** With craft supplies are you the use-it-up and wear-it-out kind of gal or thoroughly modern and more excited by the new styles and things on offer?

** Is there a project in your home which you made a while ago that’s lost its appeal due to your own ‘moving on’ with regards to colour and style? Would you consider re-making it in the colours you love for this season of life?

** Last week and this week we've read and thought a lot about colour. Are you looking at the way you use colour in your creative pursuits any differently? 

** Jane's quite adventurous and open to trying a variety of colour combos and styles even when they're not what she'd normally go for - would you describe yourself that way or are you 'shy' when it comes to change?

Next week we’re reading pages 60 - 67

Every week in the Tuesday book study post I'm encouraging readers and lovers of the gentle domestic life who have a current blog and have blogged about Living the Gentle Domestic Life this year to link their relevant weekly book study post for others to come by, visit their blogs and be inspired. 

Please do not link to the same post on your blog each week.  Your posts should be new and relevant to the current week's study.

NOTE: If your link is advertising or not a true reflection of the heart for living a gentle domestic life it will be deleted. 



Beth said...

I've been hoarding craft supplies for a while, particularly paper craft items, stickers and fabrics. Last year I went through my craft stash and gave away a lot of things that I realised I wasn't keen on any more - it also meant what I still have fits in my limited space.
There is also a quilt I've been planning since I was 16 (I'm now 37). I have quite a stash of fabric, but the plans have changed a few times over the years. I'm pretty sure I have enough fabric for a few quilts. One of these days I'll get on to it, but I think I'll need some help (like Jane) with figuring out which fabric will go where.

Karen said...

Ha..ha....It made me smile about having a friend to entrust with helping with colours etc. I have one who helps all the time........but I never ask for help....hee.....hee....... I love colour!!!! I think I might need to decorate the house in French General, then a few months later replace it all with vintage modern, then again a few months later how about brights, then replace it all again with pastels........then I could do it all again the next year......love, love, love.....

matty said...

As I have aged I have been more drawn to color. In my 30s and 40s I only wore black. My house had color especially in the children’s rooms. Now in my seventh decade I wear bright colors and the house is also bright — but with my choices.... my great-grandmother only had red flowers in her garden and I’ve been that way with purples in mine. But now I find I love a mishmash of colors rioting in the beds. Maybe it is about confidence and faith in my own taste??

Rita Lynn said...

I have been changing in my color usage lately. I've been attracted to some darker colors, like were used in the civil war era of the United States of America. I've been collecting ones as I find ones that particularly attract my attention. However right now I'm working on a quilt with red and aqua. I would have never put the two together before, but I find I love it.

Marie said...

I love colour! I love it so much that I find it hard to make choices for my home, because, you know, what if I want to have another colour next month :-) This winter I made 3 small blankets for our church sewing group. We send blankets and quilts to developing countries and all the fabric and yarn is donated. Therefore, we don't always have a choice of what we may want but I crocheted these blankets by just picking a colour and going until it was used up (which may have only been 3 or 4 rows). And on one I changed colour every row (which made a lot of ends to darn in!). Sometimes I had to put two strands together to get the right weight to match the rest of the yarn, but in the end, they turned out fantastic. They all looked rather joyous :-) The older I get and the less stuff I want to have around, the more fun I find in seeing what can be made from "leftovers".

Farm Quilter said...

I don't want to leave my children with my carefully curated fabric collection, so I need to use it up, even if I don't love the fabrics or colors any more. I have some fabrics that I purchased early in quilt quilting journey that now is kinda "ick" to me now, but I can cut if up and use it in strip piecing like Bonnie Hunter so loves to do. If I really can't stand the idea of a piece being is anything, I'll happily donate it to a group in town who makes quilts for Lutheran World Relief. It will still be used and useful for someone. My problem is cutting into the fabrics that I really like...I find I want to hoard those fabrics because they are precious to me! Stupid of me...I need to just use it!!

Angie in SoCal said...

This week's post has really got me looking at my house and the color in it. I love bright colors. They fill me up and make me happy. What's in my house? - a lot of subdued and cool colors. I asked myself where are my bright colors. They are in my quilts, so I'm going to bring them out of storage and display them around the house.

africanaussie said...

My quilting has mostly been to use up recycled fabrics. The first quilt I ever made was for my daughters 21st and it was brought about by an "empty nest syndrome", I had books of fabric samples and sewed them together in a chevron pattern. Then I began to use up old christening gowns, and embroidered tray cloths to make quilts for my grandchildren, and I loved the fact that I imagined all the work from all the ladies in my family from generations back "hugging" my grandchildren. I would often send photos of the layout to my artist daughter asking for advice on colour matching!

Joanne said...

Hi Jenny,
Colour! that white wall...first colour was terra cotta! That lasted for a few years! Then a blue...blue like what one sees in Greece blue! Then green...lime green! Now it's white! Just a 4 litre bucket of paint and there's a new look in an afternoon!
When I was first using fabrics and for the new quilt adventures, I didn't want to run out and bought meters. But then the projects started to look a like! Now I know that fat quarters are fine! Love mini quilts and stitchery!
Table clothes are also a fun way to use fabrics and create a new look! A mix of different dishes piled up and a thing or two and there's a new look for a few weeks!

Debby in Kansas, USA said...

With craft supplies, I tend to go both ways. I sometimes just want to use it all up and see what happens. Other times, I have an idea in mind. The *idea* is usually for something in the house. I tend not to be really brave there! If I'm making cards or something, I'll try anything.

I have several projects in my house that are definitely in a very old style. They're a dark, primitive style that I loved in the late 90s. There's really no re-doing them cuz primitive is primitive, but I've found that one or two mixed in looks rather unique and whimsical. So, I've kept my very favorites and sent the others to a new home. I did repaint a set of wooden roosters I had. They were in taupes, burgundy, ecru, & black. I sanded over the taupes and made those bright greens & turquoises, & the burgundy is now red. I LOVE the way they turned out. It wasn't easy, but it was worth it.

I think I've definitely changed some views I've had about color. I tend to really lock myself in to a palette and rarely depart from it. For example, the master bed and bath. A light green(like depression glass), teal, & my furniture is white. I've looked everywhere for fabric to make dresser & night stand scarves. I took my frustrations to my quilt group and our leader pulled out a box of blues and pulled out a fabric. There was a perfect color....BUT it had a golden brown design on it, which means there wouldn't be enough. I brought it home anyway and realized that it was the exact color of our oak molding and added a lovely touch of brown in that color scheme. Now, instead of looking for white lampshades, I'm going to look for some in that same brownish color family. And, I'm going to make a matching pillow, as well. Very unlike me. I'm way shy about veering off my set plan so adding in such a contrasting color is very unlike me. I'm curious to see what DH thinks because he knows what a chicken I am. He's usually the one that pulls up some strange color and says, "what about this?* and I realize he's onto something....

knitster said...

I love the way she did the pillows with all the different colors. I have several scrap afghans made into a big granny square. They don't match anything but match everything and they can be dragged around the house when one is needed. I am also gonna make some scrap rugs as well to put in the laundry room coming in off the garage. I have way too many craft items and keep think I need to use them up, but then here comes some new stuff and I have to have it. If they would just quit making new things. My post this week. https://wickedknitter1.blogspot.com/

Sherry said...

My beloved Grandma once made an afghan using all her “leftover” yarns and it was so beautiful...she called it her “Coat of Many Colors”. I have always loved colors however I do also love Black, White and Grey. I am more of the use what I have as opposed to buying trendy and spending unnecessary money. I am enjoying Jane and her styles. Thank you Jenny.