Saturday, July 14, 2012

New block project

I really like making alphabet blocks.  Here's why:
  1. I like that I am making something useful.  Most of my needle point is just pretty things to hand somewhere and look at, but blocks can be used for a lot more.  
  2. I like that the panels are portable.  Unlike a complicated project and pattern, I can easily bring the materials for a panel or two with me when we go out.  I even work on it when we drive to the grocery store.  
  3. I like that the panels are quick and easy.  It doesn't take long to finish a panel, so I get a sense of accomplishment.  With most of my other projects I can work for a couple hours and show it to my husband and he doesn't even know what I've changed. 
  4. Its hard to make a big mistake.  The letters are pretty easy to follow the pattern, and once they are done, its easy to fill in the rest of the color.  Its the perfect project for working on at book club or while watching TV.  
So, I decided I wanted to make another set of blocks for my friend's baby. 

But, I didn't want to make the same set again.

Technically, this will be my fourth set of blocks.  The first set I made only 6 blocks on very large canvas using yarn. 

This is the only picture I have of the first set.  Natalie found them in the Christmas presents as we were packing to go to my parents' house on Christmas Eve.  After I made the next set, I donated these to our play group facility and I see them there. 

I wasn't happy with them and designed the set of blocks I made for my kids.  But, as I went, I noticed problems with my planning, particularly the color order.  So, I worked out those problems and used the new pattern for my sister's set of blocks.  I also used Times New Roman font pattern so the letters look a bit different.

As I was designing my sister's set, I got a couple ideas.  What if I wanted to make a set of 13 blocks and use the lower case letters?  What if I used 16 colors instead of just 8, which a light and dark shade of the original 8 colors?

I put these new ideas into affect when I created a totally new design for my friend's daughter.  Once again, I put in a lot of time to make sure that the colors did not repeat near each other when you line them up.  After a lot of thinking it through, I got it so that no exact color patterns repeat anywhere in the whole set, and a color pair only repeats twice, but on different block faces so it isn't noticeable when the blocks are lined up. 

Since there are 13 blocks instead of 10, I had to decide what to do with the extra faces on some of the blocks.  I ultimately decided to do the numbers 0-10 on the solid size.  I added the color gray.  Opposite the numbers, I kept most of the shapes, but took away the black and white patterns.  I figured that I won't have these blocks completed until at least Christmas.  By then, my friend's baby will be about 7.5 months old.  So, the black and white patterns that newborns are attracted to are no longer necessary.  Instead, I've decided to make the last two faces of the old solid side rainbow patterns.  Then the remaining four sides of the shape face I'm going to do patterns but using colors.  Checkers, rings, and zig zags are my current plan.  I also plan to choose colors at random from the 16. 

I'm finding these changes a nice challenge.  I'm also hoping that the changes will keep making the set fun and interesting for me since a lot of the work will have some of a new element to it, whether its a new color coupling or a new face design. 

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