This week we are going to discuss the design process of the Spring Catch-all Box. We approached this differently than we have previous projects which were much more straightforward or were something that we had previously created. We have all made wall hangings and rugs and the pillows were great learning tools in creating something usable. If you have read Amy's book Punch Needle Rug Hooking: Your Complete Resource To Learn And Love The Craft she talks in depth on creating a pillow. The boxes were a different story.
When we start off these projects, we sit down as a group and discuss what we each envision the project to look like. We all have such different styles, that the melding of these visions takes a lot of back and forth. Christy was the one who approached the group with the idea of a valet box. Something to put your keys into at the end of the day when you get home. She saw in her mind, a smallish box with a simple design adorning it. From there we discussed sizing of the box: from small like a box of cards to as large as a small notepad. We also needed to talk about how tall the sides of the box would be and how we thought it should be constructed. Christy suggested that the box be constructed as simply as possible - such as a square where the corners are pulled up and tacked together. Cotey envisioned a different method of construction that would be more sturdy but also slightly more complicated. We discussed the merits of both designs and then Cotey set out to make prototypes of the sturdier box, as we thought it may be more usable.
When beginning the process of prototypes, method of construction played a huge role. We knew we would have to do a fair bit of whip stitching to put the box together, as this would be how the sides were held together and how the top edge would be finished. Where we weren't sure of the best way to proceed was with the base of the box. We all had the idea of having the sides punched with the loops on the outside face and the bottom punched with the loops on the inside, which would essentially require working on both sides of the monk's cloth. But we weren't sure how to deal with the junction between the sides and the box bottom. Christy thought that it would be simpler and easier to have the sides of the box worked right up to the base of the box. This would mean only whipping the sides and the top. Cotey suggested that the box would sit better and the sides would be straighter if we left a small gap or hinge space between the punching on the base and that on the sides. This small hinge would create a good foundation for the rest of the box and could then be whip stitched to cover the exposed monk's cloth.
Cotey made two patterns, one for each of these design ideas. She then punched both designs up. As you can see below, the dark grey box on the left is the one with no whipping around the base. You can see that it sits a bit shorter and the sides are more rounded. The light grey box on the right, is the one with whipping around the base, and you can see that the sides stand up fairly straight and it sits a bit taller.
In the end, we chose to go with the box design that included the small hinge space around the base can be whipped. This isn't to say that you have to use this same method, but it will make your box much sturdier.
The small box design that we used for the final prototype (the small light grey one) is the design we thought would work great for beginner punchers or those who were starting out with more advanced construction projects. They are super cute and very functional as well!
The next step in the design process was developing the advanced patterns. We try to make sure we have variety of patterns for different design aesthetics and sensibilities, such as a geometric, a primitive, a pictorial, and a floral. I don't want to speak for everyone here, but when these ideas get mentioned, my brain immediately starts to turn. There is usually a general idea in my mind of what I want to make or create. With this project I immediately knew that I wanted create a box with a lizard on the bottom, crawling through the grass with a stone wall around it. I mentioned this to Cotey who mocked up Eye of Newt. The other designs were very serendipitous. As I have mentioned in previous blog posts, Heidi loves the beach and warm weather. Knowing this Cotey designed the Oceanside box, a fun project created with Heidi specifically in mind. The Filigree was Cotey's idea for a really pretty and accessible floral that differed slightly from the standard floral patterns. As for the Herringbone pattern, when we were designing patterns for a different project, Cup Cozeys (this ended up becoming a class) Christy mocked one up using a simple two-color herringbone pattern. Cotey took that design and applied it to the box as a really lovely solution to a geometric pattern. It has the weave of a woven box, but offers lots of fun ways to play with color within the pattern.
Color planning for us is an all day event. We get very into it. Many discussions are had, colors swapped out, swapped back, different visions and ideas are talked about, it can get fairly heated! We all have strong opinions about color palettes and how we each envision a project is different from how the others see it. ( We also get into philosophical discussions about how one might see color differently vs someone else.) That's one of the reasons we love to see others complete these projects. You all do such fun and wonderful things with colors and patterns, things we might not have thought about.
The most important thing about color planning is: Light, Dark, Dull, and Bright! Those are always Amy's words of advice. You want to make sure that your color palette has enough contrast within it so each element stands out and looks purposeful, while also making sure the eye moves around the whole piece of art you have created.
The Eye of Newt pattern morphed from one color palette to another. It began as a much darker, muddier palette. When I started to punch the rock wall, the darker colors we had picked out just made the whole box feel really heavy. It wasn't the vibe I was going for. I wanted something refreshing and fun. Christy and I went back through the colors, and selected a bright and cheery blue and the most orangey orange we could possibly find. From there the lighter, brighter colors just fell into place creating the palette that we finished with.
That is to say, you are never set in stone when it comes to color planning. You can be as flexible as you need. I pulled the whole pattern out and started to re-punch it from scratch. This happens often around here. Part of the fun is playing with color and seeing how they all work together. When we color plan, we know colors may need to be adjusted as we go along. The color palettes we settled on for this project were the result of some trial, error, compromise, and lots of discussion!
Remember, if you submit photos of your #OxCoPALs Spring Box Project you will be entered to win a #10 regular Limited Edition Bamboo Oxford Punch Needle. Everyone who submits a photo will receive a free drawstring tool bag. Entrees must be of the box project and can be submitted one of three ways: emailed to email@example.com, tagging @amy.oxford on social media, or using
Until then, happy punching!
Click Here for Catch-all Box Build Your Own Kit
Catch-all Box Pattern
Click Here for Spring Box Rug Yarn Packs
Click on image below to purchase the pattern:
Eye of Newt Box
Click Here for Digital Downloads of Patterns