Tuesday, July 20, 2021

Photoshop Your Quilt into Different Quilts

My big idea was to create a building under construction, based on some of my New York City photos, especially of the building on the left.

To capture the sense of looking directly inside rooms, I drafted a foundation paper piecing patterns. It's constructed in strips. Here are the top portions of two of the strips. 

And here's what it looked like, all sewn up. It didn't give as much of a sense of space as I'd hoped.  

It's very small - most  pieces are an inch or less - so there was no obvious way to slice it apart, to turn it into something else. 

But while doing routine editing of the image in Photoshop, I decided to play with some of the filters. I am not great at Photoshop, but I do know how to click on things, in this case, the menu items under "Filter Gallery".  

First, "glowing edges." To my surprise, this image gave MORE of a sense of a building under construction than the fabric version! It also bears a strong resemblance to my original foundation pattern!
I'm titling the next experiment, "Jaws 1". I see circling sharks. Unfortunately, I didn't write down the command I used. I also have no idea how one could make this in fabric, except maybe through extremely intricate applique. 

Here's what the "pinch" command produced: 

"Polar coordinates":
Here: "Shear" 
This looks like rick-rack.
"Zigzag" command: Jaws 2: The sharks are speeding up.
Jaws 3: The sharks are going so fast that they are exuding global  centrifugal forces, causing tsunamis.
This came from the "stained glass" command. This design could be replicated precisely, with English Paper Piecing, but you'd have to number every paper piece, and add arrows showing which end is up. Cutting and sewing the pieces together would take years. 
However, the program allows you to reduce the number of cells, which creates something very doable.
To that image, I added Glowing Edges. How cool is this? It looks like a modern stained glass quilt.

"Extrude": Looks like a helicopter view of a city of LEGO skyscrapers. 

My favorite - "spherize" - because the results look so real.
Adding "glowing edges," a potential pattern emerges. 
There is one easy way to make any and all of the "impossible" quilts: Print them onto fabric, from your home printer, or through a service like Spoonflower.com, and then quilt it! 

More ways to play with your photos of quilts, and then transfer them to fabric to create a new quilt, is in a 2014 blog post, here . My experience with miniaturizing and printing entire quilts via Spoonflower is here.  

Sunday, May 30, 2021

Capitol Crochet, Part II: The Insurrection

In my last post, I showed off a very happy 2021 inauguration crochet scene, here. To recap the highlights, I made a whole lot of jubilant and competent people, diligently wearing masks (except when called upon to speak or sing.)


Plus a Capitol building:

When I showed it off on Facebook, friends asked me if I would do the insurrection next. No way, I thought. Crochet, almost by definition, makes sweet and adorable objects. How could you  crochet murderous cruelty and delusion?

But I couldn't let the idea go. In the late 70s/early 80s,, I lived in Washington DC, part of that time in a townhouse on Capitol Hill. Every morning, I walked to the Capitol, down the front steps, across the mall, and up to my office. Since then, I've had great affection for the Capitol, and for the visitors from far-flung places who I'd see touristing (verb?) on the mall. So the January 6 insurrection, defiling a place I loved, hit me hard.

After debating with myself for a while, I gave it a shot. (No pun intended)

There's a Hitler worshipper, His hat says "Abuse," which could stand for what he was doing to Capitol police officers, or what happened to him in his childhood, or both. 

There's KKK bat guy.
Boxcutter guy.

Hairy backpack man. I couldn't bear to embroider a real swastika, so I did it wrong.
The nail in his backpack could give you tetanus.
He's best friends with hairy bullet vest guy, and they brought a ladder.
Bullet vest closeups. I bought the empty casings on ebay years ago, for a different social statement crochet project. (It involved a yarn gun). 
Vest guy believes he is a Christian. 
Knitting needle guy stabs the dome. 
Gallows guy. The hat says "hate." 
They all need help; some need prison. Here's the lineup. If you recognize any of them, call a psychiatrist and/or the FBI. 

I don't really know what to do with this installation, or the inauguration one. Ideas are welcomed. I think of it as a psychotherapy play set, which will allow me (and its eventual owners) to play out our hopes and fears surrounding the very strange month in American history, January 2021

Revisit the Inauguration crochet here



Capitol Crochet, Part 1: A Happy Inauguration

Inspired by the Bernie Sanders memes after the January presidential inauguration, I decided to crochet my own version. I didn't use a pattern - I just made him up as I went along, crocheting in spirals. He had a brief fling with the cat.

That was so much fun, I wound up making five of them, as gifts, plus one auctioned on ebay to benefit a food bank. Their clothing comes off, including, in most cases, the mittens.

The fifth one was my special edition Valentine's Day Bernie, showing off his chest like Putin (but with a tattoo, and no horse): 

One thing led to the other. Before I knew it, I'd crocheted a whole lot of inaugural figures:


And a Capitol building:

On the dome is my rendition of the statue of freedom, with scissors and earring serving as sword and shield, in a color that honors the people who built the building, who were anything but free. 

Here are Joe and Jill Biden, with bible, standing ready for the swear-in. 
In real life, Dr. Biden's beaded dress was exquisite. In my version, cheapo plastic pearls did the job.
All the clothes comes off. 
But because she is the First Lady, and holds a doctorate, I won't strip her down here.
In real life, Dr. Biden was actually wearing a  more somber shade of blue.
The Obamas are eternally adorable, even in masks.
Next, Kamala Harris, with her escort at the event, American hero and snappy dresser Officer Eugene Goodman
Kamala reenacts her big moment: 
I think that's a purple jumpsuit underneath. 
I don't know if she was really wearing Chucks on her feet, but I hope so! They go with the pearls.

The gorgeous Amanda Gorman is wearing my mother's earrings.
Lady Gaga sported a massively oversized bird pin (also from my mother's collection).
This thing takes up an entire small tabletop, and I'm not really sure what to do with it. Especially because it was about to grow significantly - and take a much darker turn. 


Saturday, May 15, 2021

Are you Buying this Stairway to Heavenly Apartment Pods?

I’m overhauling and expanding my cityscape quilt booklet, and exploring new ideas. Warning: The Internet catacombs of interesting architectural ideas for quilters is freaking infinite. 

The photo below, I would argue, represents rainbow stairs leading to a modern, Brutalist, warm, diversity-welcoming, almost heavenly apartment building made up of hexagonal pods.

 It's mostly my fantasy, but partly influenced by the mind-boggling Guangzou Circle Building in China, designed by Italian architect Joseph di Pasquale. I figured if di Pasquale could make a coin-like circle stand on its edge to serve as a useful building, I could do the same with a coin-like hexagon. The overall hexagon shape is made up of smaller hexagons and half-hexagons - I think the lower, colorful halves look like balconies, and I can imagine putting plants peeping out from their top edge (as in this hypothetical 3-second  drawing). 

I haven’t yet stitched the stairs in position, and probably won’t until I know what will go under the building. In the meantime, I get to play with the components, giving me way too many options! 

- When I turn the building upside down, it takes on an almost heart shape. Perhaps the Hallmark Channel should film movies here. I like the way the colorful hexagon halves become window shades.


- If I place the stairs off-center on the hexagon unit, below, it looks like an artistic apartment building with hexagon "blocks" piled  haphazardly - a formation which could continue to grow asymmetrically, like a coral reef.


- With the apartment unit sideways, below, the hexagons halves become two sides of a pleat that sticks out. (The blue is the cement, the colors are the drapes?)

All of the above also look a bit like trees to me, with the stairs as the trunk.  

But when I flip the stairs upside down, I got a high fiber ice cream cone! 

Just what I wanted! Your thoughts on what these things might be are also welcomed!

How did I make the components? The stairs took me a solid week of wrestling and gnashing my teeth over the rules of perspective, to figure out a non-tedious semi-improvisational approach, which I am trying to codify for my revised book. As for the hexagons, oy, I actually basted each half-hexagon and hexagon piece around freezer paper, and then did traditional y-seam piecing. I don't recommend it; it wasn’t fun; you can’t see the flaws but they are there. If and when I do this again, I am going to do it with English Paper Piecing, much the same way I made my masked hexagon quilt, by sewing two different color rectangles first the traditional way, and then basting that unit around a cardstock hexagon, and sewing hexagons together by hand or with a machine zig zag. 

Stay tuned, more experimental buildings are coming!