ORIGINS IN 3D MODELING
My Abstractions patterns originate from creating 3D models of real animals I have photographed. I create the patterns in such a way that the shapes of the pattern pieces combined with the placement of the fabrics distinguish skeletal and muscular structure in the animals.
In the Forest Abstractions Stag notice the curvature in his back and haunches. Where the lines break out the individual shapes and combine with the fabrics to create the movement and curvature in these places. Now look to the facial structure and the long snout area and the contrast created by the area for set back eyes. In his legs the lighter fabrics and long lines of the pieces highlight the long sinewy shape of the legs. Each fabric was chosen to highlight or lowlight the appropriate places to capture this movement and curvature while still retaining the abstract sharpness of the design.
A CLOSER LOOK AT THE FABRIC CHART
To retain the same look in your blocks you can use the exact or similar prints as I used or you can select your own and follow a few simple guidelines.
Let's take a closer look at the fabric chart included in all of my foundation paper pieced patterns and how it can help. The example below left is for the original Stag block from the cover quilt.
The fabrics are listed on the chart with the background fabric first and then all other fabrics follow from dark to light.
To retain a similar look select fabrics and arrange them in the same order with background fabric first and then from dark to light. An alternate "Bright Palette" chart is shown below right using this method.
When I was placing the fabrics on the chart, I wasn't exactly sure which order they should go in. To make sure I had them in the correct positions I took a photo of them and then also used a filter to make the photo gray scale and then it became more obvious.
It is very important that the background fabric you choose contrasts well from all other fabrics that will touch it. In the example of the Forest Abstractions Stag, all other fabrics will touch the background fabric so I chose the Cotton Couture deep Eggplant in the original quilt which contrasts well with all of the other prints. In the Bright Palette I used all very saturated prints, so the lighter linen-blend background contrasts well with all other prints.
In this version I created a rustic Christmas Stag. I reversed the lights and darks which still highlight the appropriate places and results in the chart shown below. For the background I chose a deep red to contrast with all of my other choices.
I also created this Forest Abstractions Stag head pillow in lighter prints where the lights and darks are reversed from the original. I chose the very light Rosemilk in White as the background.
So, let's say you want to do a completely scrappy version, but still maintain the same contrast in these areas. Gather your scraps and then organize them into piles from high saturation to low saturation. When the pattern calls for one of the darker fabrics, select from your high saturation pile and so on and so forth through to the lightest fabrics. Again, choose a background that will contrast well with all of the scraps you have chosen to use.
So, you want to know more... let's get picky. When looking at any of the blocks, look to the original cover quilt and think about which pieces are important to you. For the Stag, my starting point would be his face. That long, strong snout is a standout piece in the pattern. The face really sets the attitude of your entire Stag. This is the fabric I would choose first. Once you have determined this piece, you can really choose which of the above routes you want to go down for the rest of your selections.
In the original Stag I chose Timber Valley in Fog. Although my other fabrics are all a little sweeter than this fabric, the moodiness of the Fog print really sets the attitude of the Stag. The sweet peach and coral prints don't take on the softness they would if his face weren't set as such a strong focal point. Looking to the chart, I found that the face was second to top position under the background and the hoof fabric making it almost the darkest print on the chart. This coincides with the fabric I chose, so I went down the chart from darkest to lightest from there.
Now, let's look at the Stag Pillow. I chose the sweet Rosemilk print to create a more romantic attitude for the pillow. Because this print is the lightest I wanted to use, I reversed the order of prints so that they fell lightest to darkest on my chart.
TAKING IT FURTHER
Once you start to look at positioning you can really customize your look and see if it makes sense before you even begin. You can see that the chart shows where the hooves are and that the hoof fabric is not used anywhere else and choose accordingly. You can see the lightest fabric on the chart is the setback for the eye position. Does the fabric you chose for this position on your chart make sense in this part of your Stag? If not, you can change it up before you start.
I hope all these tips are helpful. Show me those blocks on Instagram and remember to hashtag #forestabstractionsqal.