It's my turn!
It's my turn!
After Cotey first drew the Oval Abstract Botanical, as with all the PALs patterns, we stood around looking at and discussing the various options of the pattern and what we each saw within it. We do this often, especially when it is an abstract or geometric pattern. With the Oval Abstract Botanical, the positioning of the pattern affected how and what we saw within the pattern. Where I stood looking at the pattern, I saw it as a spray of flowers hanging down drying or mistletoe. Since Cotey also saw a bouquet in bright colors, I decided to approach the project in more subdued colors and darker tones, not what I normally work with.
The image and design idea that stayed with me the most with this project was mistletoe. I could envision some fun with the colors and textures of novelty fibers to use within it. Now, I am not the most knowledgable on mistletoe, so I began this project by looking up pictures so I could get a clearer vision of the colors that would need to be used. I didn't want to stay with the exact colors, but I wanted to be close enough that it was fairly recognizable to the viewer.
The very first thing that I decided on was to use a ball of burlap twine. I, for some random reason, had two balls of this on my desk here at work. One of the things I really enjoy about hooked and punched rugs is the textures that the loops create. I love to draw my fingers across them and feel that texture on my finger tips, I'm totally a sensory person. The thought of mixing the rougher texture of the twine with something softer really got the gears in my head spinning and I rifled through my stash at home of knitting yarns to see if I might have something that would have that cloudy, fluffy feeling. Within my stash I found that I had two really lovely mohairs that had the colors that would be perfect for the berries of the mistletoe.
Heidi and Cotey were super generous (as usual) with their knowledge on punching with novelty fibers and suggested carriers for the mohair. Much like Cotey though, I found that the carrier hid the texture of the mohair, which had been my big incentive to use it. I decided to use double strands of it to punch the berries and was super glad that I chose to only use the mohair for the berries. The smaller space meant that I didn't have to struggle too much with them as they are fairly slippery. I probably would have done well to use three strands to punch with, but I was being too obstinate. Punching with the burlap twine was a different story. I wasn't sure how it would be to work with but was happy that it was actually really great to punch with. It didn't get stuck in my needle and the loops it created were nice and stiff and stayed in place really well.
Now, I like to work backwards it seems. Cotey and Heidi usually do their border first thing, but I usually punch part of my project first, then move on to the border. Originally I was going to make the background of my piece a bright, light pink color and I thought the peachy color of Biscuit, a Violet Jane Yarn color, which I had in my stash from a previous project, would play nicely off of it. Biscuit also went well with the colors of the berries and the stem of the mistletoe.
I decided that in the leaves was where I could pull in my love for bright colors. I found a nice bright green in my stash and paired that with a dark green as well as a more mid-tone green. I chose to use three different greens to give the feel of the waxy leaves of mistletoe. It also added some extra depth to the piece since I wanted the mistletoe to look like it was hanging above.
Where I really struggled was with my background. The bright pink I was originally thinking of using most definitely wasn't going to work. The twine, border color, and pink berries all got super washed out. I thought of using the border color, but it was too similar to the faun color of the twine. Mid-tones weren't going to work either as the leaves would all be lost. This left dark colors. When diving into my stash I came across two dark brown colors that really made all the other colors pop and look so much brighter.
The question I had to ask myself was: Do I want to use a slightly lighter brown fine yarn or a deeper, richer brown in rug yarn? The rug yarn brown is such a beautiful chocolatey color and looked super velvety next to the other colors so I decided to use this Violet Jane color called Black Hollow.
The next step with all of this is of course cutting out your project and deciding between hemming and whipping. I decided to whip the edge of my mistletoe with the burlap twine. I wanted to see how it would look and honestly, I thought it was going to be super difficult to whip with. I was prepared for the fight... that wasn't. Whipping with the twine, much like punching with it, was really easy. In fact, I found it easier than whipping with rug yarn!
Heidi steam pressed this project for me when she steam pressed her own. If you read last weeks blog post you will have read about the tip to put pins around the parts you don't want to be pressed. Heidi put the pins around the mohair berries as we didn't want to compress the fluffy mohair fiber. The twine steam pressed beautifully and is a durable enough fiber to take the steam pressing.
My Oval Abstract Botanical really became about textures that can be used within one piece. I had a lot of fun experimenting with different fibers to see how they would be punched. I also really enjoyed veering off of my normal bright and cheery color palette to something with a bit more depth and warmth. I love the twine and the mohair that I used and am super happy that I was able to successfully incorporate both into this mistletoe inspired project.
Next week I will being talking about Christy's Oval Abstract Botanical. She was given an extra challenge from Sid, but I will tell you about that in her blog post!
Remember, if you enter in photos of your in-progress or finished #OxCoPALs Summer Stash Buster - Oval Abstract Botanical, you are entered to win a #10 regular Limited Edition Bamboo Oxford Punch Needle. All those who enter will receive a free drawstring tool bag.
Any questions? Let us know!
Until next week! Happy Punching!
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