Pinkflower Cactus Flower Fail

Friday, Dec 1, 2017

Pinkflower Cactus Flower Fail is about the steps to getting the flower it right. Things don't always just work the first time.

I had to start with crochet, to see if I could do it. I tried 3 different thicknesses of thread, and 3 different sizes of hook. I did dense stitches and lacy stitches. I really wanted this to work. Without even trying the color changes, the petals were either too thick and ridged, or the shaping was lost. Even if I had succeeded, the color changes were going to be WAY too difficult. 

So this was Flower Petal Fail #1

Pinkflower Cactus Flower Fails that followed.

After a day of pacing back and forth and talking to myself, a few ideas started to come forward. Again, 3 decades of being a botanist helped me remember one task I loved. When I was out in the forests and fields I would spend time sketching the flowers on card-stock paper using colored pencils.

This is a drawing of a Pricklypear Cactus Flower I did back in June of 2017. Yes, this is done with colored pencils. You tend to get good at something when you do it for 30 years. And yes, I'm good with card-stock, colored pencils, and drawing what I see.

I sat looking at this picture thinking about the cactus I wanted to create, "There has to be a way I can draw the flower petals, and add crochet to them for the extra flower parts. And there has to be a way to make the flower 3D, like a real one."

Paper and card-stock won't work. The crochet will puncture it and the petals will curl and rip with age.

CLOTH! Can I draw with colored pencils on cloth?

Pinkflower Cactus Flower Fail #2

Well, the basic answer to drawing on cloth is yes, but there's a learning curve.

1. If I'm going to draw this, and cut it out to make the petals, I can't draw what I see. The petals have to be individual (hand drawn) but still retain a basic shape. This flower has to be built, not just drawn.

2. Cloth frays at the ends. There needs to be a solution for that problem. SILICONE! Yes, using silicone will stop the petals from fraying. HOWEVER, THERE ARE PRECAUTIONS TO FOLLOW WITH SILICONE. And boy did I put it on too thick.

Since this 'fail' I've figured out that I need GREAT ventilation when using silicone. It can't be anywhere there are humans while it's drying, and now I know how 'thick' to put it on. READ THE CAUTIONS ON SILICONE, DON'T JUST MESS AROUND WITH IT.

Pinkflower Cactus Flower Fail #3

1. Don't use a regular pencil to draw the petals, use a colored pencil. I should have known that (blah). I decided to still go on with coloring it. Maybe I could erase the pencil marks?

2. OUCH! Way too pink. The colored pencil colors are a little different on cloth. I have to remember to 'sample' the colors on cloth, not paper.

Painters mix, and blend, and work with their color before it goes on the canvas. With color pencils you can blend and you can create differences with the pressure on the pencil. I didn't know that the color would 'change' on cloth.

3. Okay, I got lazy. Don't try to draw all the petals on one disk. Make it 2 discs and put one on top of the other.

So at the end of these fails I've learned A LOT. And, isn't that what it's all about? Learning, growing, and doing the best you possibly can.

Note: I do really need to get back to crocheting my slippers. Next few nights will be single digit COLD.

Pinkflower Cactus

Pinkflower Success (page 3)
A description of how I'm building this, layer by layer. This will be a 3D soft sculpture (Fiber Art) of the entire plant.

Pinkflower Cactus Flower Fail (page 2)
I really don't have OCD, but I do want this to be the best I can make. So, here are the first 3 fails. Hopefully #4 will be the charm.

Pinkflower Cactus Idea (page 1)
This is the first page in this series. It explains the birth of the idea to create this as a piece of Fiber Art.

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