Saturday, October 18, 2014

Something Sweet and Something Not

I've been happily working on my Cactus Basket quilt, sewing the sashing onto the blocks this weekend. Things are going well and I am SO happy with the results. It's got a really great vibe going on that makes me practically hum. My mind, however, keeps wandering off on a different tangent, making it terribly hard to concentrate. You remember the 'I survived the fire' quilt idea?
Starting to put the Cactus Basket quilt together
Well, originally, I was going to use the Cactus Basket blocks and jump from there--throw some words, applique pictures etc. on the borders. But it's too sweet and spunky for that. I love it exactly as it is unfolding for me and I don't want to ruin it by forcing something on it that doesn't feel right. But darn it, I really like the idea of my fire quilt too! And the idea won't go away. It keeps coming back, and coming back again--nagging at me to do something about it. So, I fished out this partially completed improv. quilt top that I had played around with last fall. Would it work for the background? Do the colors work for what I need? Always better to have an interesting background for a story quilt you know.

Hmmm.... Four improv. log cabin blocks could definitely represent the cul de sac where we live (only four residences here). And only one house was even sort of touched by the fire (ours) so that little scrap of red is absolutely perfect. I found some texty fabric and quickly added our street address and also a funky bird I stumbled across. The scrapbooky look to the quilt is so already so very satisfying. Love that look. And before I knew it, I was off and running with ideas. Gotta make the most every drop of inspiration when it comes knocking or it tends to get lost in the busyness of life, right?
My new background for the 2014 Fire in Pateros quilt
So... Next thing I came up with was a mock-up of the city sign we (used to) see just as we're coming into our little town. I went back to a sort of haunting picture my daughter put up on the blog earlier this summer. {Well, if you're a hometown girl it would haunt you too.} It all feels sort of silly, but incredibly compelling at the same time. I wish I was better about jumping right in the middle of ideas like this all the time, then I might know what I'm actually doing here.....
It's starting to come together. I can feel it...
I haven't made a story quilt in a long time so this is really fun and energizing all at the same time, to try and get it just right. Simplicity is the key of course and a strong visual message. Of which I'm not usually very good at. Once again though, one of my kids bluntly criticized the 'accuracy' of my quilty picture. I have to keep reminding them that 'representational' is perfectly okay in quilting. When I remind them, they get it. It's just something they tend to forget. I always ask, 'What does it make you THINK of?'

Then another kid just went on and on about how different this quilt was and not my normal colors etc. With the kids I can just laugh it off, but adults do this too, which kind of burns in my gut. Why does everyone insist on trying to keep people in a box? Do you know how many times I've heard that 'Audrey makes fall colored quilts. That's her style.'  No, I'm still trying to find my style, but the sum total of it is NOT just using fall colored fabrics. Okay, you can relax--getting off of my soap box right now....
Hopefully the fire will be less blobby after I stitch it down....
So here I am. It's different. Brighter? Bolder. Complex in numerous ways that won't make sense to very many people. I'll probably have to keep explaining to the unquilty. But I'm well on my way to a 2014 Fire in Pateros quilt, project tote fixed up and everything. It seems like a wonderful thing to follow the ideas until they fizzle away, cuz you know they always do. For now I need to start the work of stitching down the letters and number onto the quilt so it will be ready for the next step. I've got lots of ideas for other parts in the quilt. Maybe if I scribble them down I'll be able to hang on to them till it's time to implement them.....

22 comments:

  1. Love your little cactus baskets.....so cute! And honestly, I'm amazed at your creativity on the Fire quilt. I can't wait to see it finished!

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  2. glad the baskets are going to be their own quilt! ok so I had to smile at your comment you just make fall color quilts…..the exact reason I love making baby quilts or donation quilts out of bright , modern fabrics to get out of that box! or making a few quilts now that have a brighter/lighter look to them then I normally do, more graphic quilts but still using repro fabrics 99% of the time.! I know I am surprising a lot of people but thats ok with me, repros-fall colors can have a more modern look when WE want them too!
    glad your inspired and making this story quilt, looking forward to seeing the finished project when its finished. take your time , enjoy the process and just express yourself
    Kathie

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  3. I love your "story" quilt and how that fire plays with the top word! I think it's great that you have to tell the tale to for instance your grands and/or friends or great-grands. I made a grieving quilt for my Dad when he passed and often tell people what each section represents that reminds me of him. I wish I had written it out on a special label on the back--you may want to do that? hugs, Julierose P.S. and [heart] those cactus baskets!!

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  4. How well I do remember your daughter's photo on the blog :( I like Julierose's idea of a special label on the back when you are done!

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  5. I went back and looked at the blog post to see the fire pictures. I see why you put the town name on the quilt with the flames. The representation in the quilt does tell a story that needs finishing.. Yes, write down your ideas.

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  6. I totally agree that you need to follow those sparks of inspiration when they come. It's looking great.

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  7. Loving those Cactus Baskets, and your story quilt is pretty cool too.

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  8. Love your fire quilt!! Particularly love the wonky flying geese! :-)
    You design is perfect and also probably a good healing process for you. Keep going!

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  9. SO glad to see your creativity is on fire and new quilts are growing :)

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  10. I love that you were able to jump in and start "imagineering" your ideas! Keep listening to your inner voice and ignore those who want you to stay comfortable!

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  11. How creative you are. I am like you when the creativity starts to flow, thoughts come and I can't get them all done in the time limits I have. I write them down but sometimes they come so fast I can't write fast enough and I short hand (my own style) but then if to much time goes by my notes do not make sense. May your creativity continue to flow on this project. Debbie

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  12. They are both looking fantastic, Audrey! I also think it is very helpful to have different-feeling projects on the go, because it keeps the new ideas coming.

    What a critical bunch you live with! Maybe my family's complete lack of interest is not the worst thing in the world...

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  13. Yay!! You're on your way to another amazing quilt! It's good to run with inspiration when it strikes.

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  14. Love your Cactus Basket quilt...such lovely colour combos!!

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  15. Have only just discovered your blog, I hope you and your mother continue to overcome stress of such an event. I live in Australia and know all too well what fires do to a community...... Your sense of humour shines on through and whatever your quilt is to you is the only important thing. Nice to have the kids on board but oh well they may need longer to mature......that's what I tell myself...:-)

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  16. que grande tu colcha!!!
    buen domingo

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  17. Dear Audrey, I looked at that picture of the sign every day for a very long time hoping you were ok and praying for you, and yes, it is haunting. :) I have never thought that you make quilts with just fall colors (but if you did it would be just fine!). I find your color combinations amazing, energizing, joyful and unique. Your quilts seem to me to be warm, not just colors, but warm as defined as inviting, friendly, down to earth, with a sense of humor, and welcoming. Your quilts are what I wish and hope my quilts can be like someday in those qualities. Whatever you do is working, and I so enjoy your description of the quilting process, which is amazingly accurate and perceptive. I am glad that you are making your fire quilt. sarah@forrussia.org

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  18. This quilt is so deeply personal, it can't possibly be 'understood' by someone who didn't live through it. I think (given what I know of your quilting skills) it will evlove into a story quilt that will make perfect sense to you and to those who weren't there. I do hope that it will be a good journey for you and provide some peace to such a horrible ordeal. PS: The basket blocks are just adorable!

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  19. It's absolutely perfect, because it's an expression of your experience and your inner life. There's no need to explain anything to anyone. I'm sure it's a cathartic, healing experience to make this quilt. It takes a lot of courage to make a put your story into images. Keep going as the inspiration comes!

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  20. I love how you go with the flow and "listen" to your quilts. I really like the improv with your fire story quilt, it's going to be awesome. The cactus basket pattern is my cup of tea!

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  21. Wonderful Story quilt - and remember, is YOUR story and that is what matters. So inspiring.
    cute basket blocks.

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