Thursday, August 20, 2015

A Fresh Perspective

Even though it feels that all I do lately is fret, I am closing in on a finish with my current hand quilting project. Time to pin another quilt top. I do like to stay one step ahead and quilting/color/fabric feels good. It's not like I have the brain power to concentrate on design decisions and such right now anyway. The fire is probably not any closer, but ash is falling everywhere, smoke is choking us and our view is obscured. Fires are {or have been} burning on practically every side of us. I can't even think straight.
Getting ready to pin my Scrap Basket/Rolling Stones quilt
My daughter helped me to move the dining room table out of the way and then because I was already in the mode, it was easy to pin two quilt tops. Might as well. The Scrap Basket/Rolling Stones quilt top is one of my absolute favorites because of the different fabrics and colors involved--that red number fabric for the basket background and mixed light green sashing especially.

Every now and then I make a quilt top that just seems to stand out to me as special in several ways. I'm also extremely fond of the large basket that was pieced {on a whim} with a quickly drawn template, then sewn from little bits in the scrap bin. It was actually the impetuous behind the entire quilt and I cannot believe how 'me' this quilt turned out to be. It's been needing to get in the hoop for a good long while now because it just makes me happy.
A closer look...
The quilt top below is one that I intend to do some machine quilting on--stitch in the ditch etc. After I get all that out of the way, then I will come back and hand quilt some spirals in the pinwheel blocks? I'm still contemplating ideas, but that is my tentative plan.
Mom's Color Challenge Quilt
This quilt is a Kathy Doughty pattern from the Material Obsession 2 book, but our late quilting group made it as a mystery quilt. According to the guidelines set up for us, we gathered or bought our fabric according to warms and cool, then subgroups of types of prints. I can't remember exactly now, but it seems that we had print groups of dots, plaids & stripes, geometrics, medallions, paisleys and also florals. We were supposed to pay attention to print size and try to gather a mixed selection of small, medium and large prints. It was a very interesting approach and we spent quite a lot of time playing with our fabric groupings before committing to the start of the quilt. I didn't mind selecting fabrics according to print type before knowing the specific pattern, but others found it an extremely difficult process.
A closer look...
What I balked at was using a solid white background and then trying to gather engaging {to me} fabrics to go along with it. True white feels so stark and foreign to me that I can't seem to bond properly with it. I could have used solid black {the only other option available to us} but for some reason I went ahead and decided to stretch myself a bit with the white. Good call as it's easy to get complacent within our own comfort zone and start to get stagnant. Using the white made me question some of the fabrics I was instinctively drawn to--made me wonder if they would be a bold enough choice if placed next to a solid. I've always tried to have a well balanced mix of prints in each of the quilts that I make, but making a quilt in this specific manner really helped bring attention to individual choices made color by color. It definitely solidified how truly important the details can be, reinforcing a thoughtful but hopefully, instinctive process. Hindsight makes it very clear that this quilt top has been key in how I got to where I am now in terms of choosing fabric prints for all my quilt projects.

Having said that, this quilt is not something I'm very excited about. As a whole, it doesn't feel completely like a 'me' quilt. It doesn't dazzle me, melt my heart or make me feel especially happy. Not that I'm embarrassed or ashamed of it! It just is. So.... coming back now and looking at it with fresh eyes allows me the perspective of seeing the little, tiny bit of myself that I managed to instill into the quilt--regardless of how limiting I felt the perimeters to be. That's kind of interesting because I really couldn't see it before. And it's in the finish-it-up queue now because I fully intend to be giving it away soon. Don't you think it needs to go live with someone who will more fully appreciate it? Ha  Lets see if it survives round two of August fire season first....

22 comments:

  1. I read about the fires on the morning news then came over to see if you'd posted anything new yet. I cannot imagine living with fire all around and it raining ash. F

    The news this morning....I usually will try to read a few sites on the fires ,,,this morning the sad deaths and injuries of firefighters and explaining how due to the weather sometimes there will be huge plumes of flames going up and they can't fight aerially / every morning it sounds worse in all of the western states :(

    "Fret " is probably an understatement. I am glad that you have these lovelies to work on and please keep us updated.

    Love and prayers.

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  2. We too have been watching the news reports on the fires, especially knowing how close they are to you and your little town. So good that you have these two quilts ready to go into the hoop to help calm your heart. Stay safe my friend, we're praying for all of you that are in the midst of these infernos.

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  3. You are just so talented, love your tops, they look wonderful.
    Good luck on the quilting and wish the fires stop right now.
    Greetings,
    Sylvia

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  4. We have seen the news of those encroaching fires--how frightening! Gosh sure hope you can stay out of its path.....I know I would be up all night, too. I truly think your little Basket quilt is adorable. Love that medallion style...hugs, Julierose

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  5. I just love the Color Challenge pinwheels quilt!! it is funny isn't it how one can like a quilt and another not so much.
    thinking of you and all the fires around you and I keep hoping you do not have to make a dash for it like last year - it must be rather nerve wracking, I wouldn't be able to sleep very well for sure.

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  6. I was just reading about the fires in today's NY Times and then checked your site. I definitely detect the urgency in your post. The first quilt is so you - beautiful color choices and the center basket works so well. Work with something comforting now. Sending good vibes your way.

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  7. I can see where the fires in your area would make you very nervous after your past experience.

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  8. Hoping all is well. Or at least okay.
    The first quilt really is you. The second one - with white replacing your normal exuberant backgrounds, it's kind of like a barbershop quartet with only three singers... Maybe quilt it with lots of colored thread to put your usual joy into it?

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  9. I can't imagine being in the mood to baste tops :0) I really like both if these. The basket quilt is certainly more interesting and I think it's wonderful. Love the basket! I have a hard time working with white solid too. It's a beautiful quilt and I really like the corner stars.

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  10. I can only be sympathetic and not empathetic, never having lived in a fire zone, but I certainly admire your courage to carry on and do some quilting.

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  11. Both quilts are nice but I do love the first one. The tumbler basket makes my heart sing.

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  12. I've made quilts before that were fun to make, stretched me a bit, helped me see things from another point of view, and even used up some great fabric. But, in the end, it just wasn't me and the desire to quilt it faded away. I admire your ability to see past the differences and find the similarities to your "style". Maybe I'll give some of those previous tops another view to try and find value in them.
    I did make a quilt top once that was stitched well, the design was good, there were all kinds of embellishments but the color just wasn't right. I called it "The Merit Quilt" because it still had a lot of merit, it just wasn't my style. The person who received it was thrilled.

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  13. I always think I have too many quilts going at one time...then I come over here and feel better hahaha. I don't know how you finish all these quilts, but it sure is fun to watch them come together.
    I feel the same way about white fabric (usually go for a more off white or cream).
    I recently started a pink scrap quilt and the only thing left in my scrap basket big enough for the background is -you guessed it- bright white. Might as well use it up and get it over with :)

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  14. I have thought a lot about how you are doing? My husband was in Spokane last weekend and he said he could smell smoke there. Something very foreign for a midwesterner! Praying that some rain comes your way.
    I agree about using white as a background, I finally got brave enough to use it in a quilt for my daughter in law. LOL

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  15. Your fires sound all-consuming Audrey - I hope that the threat passes soon and you are able to breathe clean air soon. Love both of your quilts. I have to say that the second one surprised me as I don't associate you with white and clear colours, but it is bright and cheery and you did a great job with selecting the fabrics. It looks like a summer quilt to me.

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  16. Your description of your quilting journey never fails to amuse me. I just loved how you described your issues with solid white and the 'failure to bond'. That is awesome, and so relatable! I'm sorry you are so distracted by the fires (wouldn't anyone be?) but you have managed to continue to create beauty in the midst of the chaos. Both quilts are lovely.

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  17. I don't know how you manage to concentrate at all - guess when it comes down to it you don't have much choice other than to carry on. I love your Scrap Basket quilt - not surprised this one makes you happy. The other one is very pretty - but is the first quilt of yours I've seen that I wouldn't immediately guess was "an audrey". Having said that, I like the colour scheme a lot and if you learned a lot from the process then it's served its purpose.

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  18. My thoughts have been with you and others I know who are close to fires.

    I love the Rolling Stones Basket and it seems so you. I didn't even recognize the other one as a Kathy Doughty pattern.

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  19. I adore your basket quilt! It is very 'you'. That wonderful basket makes me happy too. How great that you designed it yourself.

    I really like your second quilt too, but it doesn't seem like your kind of colors. I'm glad you told us your thoughts on the making of this quilt, and it seems like you got something out of it/learned some new things. I think it looks great, just not like your quilt. Whoever is lucky enough to get that quilt will be thrilled to pieces, I'm sure!

    I used to never use pure white - just shirtings or muslin. But when I moved to the PNW my palatte changed. Now I use white and brights and I love it. I think I was just ready for something new, and the duller light here, as compared to the very bright sunshine of Calif, seemed to make me want to use brighter colors, which just seemed to need white for the backgrounds. It was a process to become comfortable with white. I still like using multiple fabrics or prints for the backgrounds too, they're just brighter now. It's funny how our tasted changes as we get older. I still love the colors you use, I just don't want to work with them right now. Maybe someday I will again.

    I've been thinking of you and sending good wishes your way. I can imagine that you're all nervous as cats, after last year and the horrible fires. Staying busy is a good way to deal with it. I sure hope and pray those fires get taken care of soon. Stay safe, my friend!

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  20. I have been thinking about you with all the fires in the news. We have had a very smokey sky here on the west side of the state. Love that first quilt! The second one so very pretty but I understand how hard it is to get motivated when a quilt is not making you sing.

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  21. Yes... hoop up those quilts and enjoy some relaxing hand quilting. And yes a quilt should live with someone who truly loves it!

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  22. So interesting to read your thoughts on the white background. Personally, I was immediately drawn to that quilt! My Texas Star is bright scraps on white, and over the summer I realized that I am doing the same thing again with the Aloha Kisses that I just started. It's funny how we keep doing the same thing over and over. Good for you for challenging yourself!

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