Hot on the heels of our Basic Grey Designer’s Challenge, we’re thrilled to bring you another challenge with new rules, fresh faces, and more eye candy than you can shake a stick at!
It’s no secret that we’re smitten with Daisy Janie‘s Shades of Grey fabric line. The prints are fabulous as coordinates to so many other lines, yet are versatile and beautiful enough to stand on their own. So after we spoke with Daisy Janie’s Jan DiCintio a while back, an idea was born: let’s see what some of our talented and creative readers can do when armed only with a scrap bag of Shades of Grey and their ideas. We think their creations will blow you away.
First up is our friend Thomas Knauer (@waycoolkid) of Thomas Knauer Sews. Thomas, a fine artist and former academic, quite literally burst onto the sewing and blogging scene last year with his eclectic style and infectious spirit. His first fabric line with Andover Fabric, Pear Tree, will be available soon, with his second already on the horizon. We know there are great things in store for Thomas.
Let’s take a look at what he did with his Shades of Grey scrap bag …
I love pillows!!! I admit it. Can’t say that I always have, but ever since I started sewing I have become a total junky. I love their self-contained nature; they’re a little bit of soft and pretty to carry around wherever you go in the house, and sometimes out.
So, when I received my fabulous package of Shades of Grey from Jan at Daisy Janie I immediately saw three pillows; in fact two of the designs instantly entered my head, fully formed. Jan’s designs just called out to me lickety-split. For my designs I really wanted to respond to the specifics of the prints; to pick out an element from each to focus on and enhance in each pillow. Jan’s designs felt simultaneously drawerly and architectural, which in my book is no small feat (but always an excellent one). Hence I wanted to find ways to work with it that maintained a certain stability and weight at the same time they emphasized the feel of handwork.
And just my luck, Jan included a fabulous deep yellow, an earthy red, and an olive-y green (all Bauhaus staples which made playing off of the rich grey tones easy, and really called for me to do asymmetrical composition). Thanks for the great fabric picks for my scrap bag Jan; you made the fun of playing with Shades of Grey easy…
So, the pillows:
The first one I made focuses on the River Rock print. I had just come back from a trip to NYC (and Purl Soho) and picked of a fantastic pack of vibrant felt. It felt (pardon the pun) like a match made in heaven. I wanted to emphasize the wonderfully wonky shapes of the River Rock pebbles and what better way to do that than with color.
So i pieced together what I think is a right nice composition and then went to town with my felt and a bit of embroidery floss. Any excuse to do some hand-stitching will always make me happy.
Next up was Jan’s Pinstripe. When I opened my package of scraps the phrase “read between the lines” popped into my head, and from there this pillow was almost instantly done. I knew that I wanted to play between the stripes, to separate them a little bit and see what color might do in the spaces in between. I really let the colors decide for themselves for this one. I didn’t do a single sketch (really rare for me) and just stitched away.
The last pillow took me the longest to figure out. I quickly decided that I wanted to fill a bunch of the Dapple Dots with French knots, but there were so many options. I spent a long time staring at the prints before I settled on an approach. For me the biggest struggle was in that I wanted to emphasize the lightest print in the collection (always a challenge for me). I did about a zillion sketches for this one until I finally settled on a design.
I see this as a very vertical structure, but with all the prints (and French knots) moving horizontally. I kinda fell back on one of my tried and true design tricks for making a simple design feel a lot busier, and for this one I wanted lots of stuff going on. In fact, that is why I almost always do things in groups of three, so I can add in a kitchen-sink design. But of course, I was also just giddy to have a chance to do scores of French knots!!!
So, there they are. Thanks to Fat Quarterly for letting me play along, and thanks to Jan for your amazing designs!!! Love, love, love them!!! You are, of course, a total rock star!!!
(Yes, I like exclamation points.)