Friday, February 15, 2013

Always More to Learn

Sometimes I don't feel very creative at all.  There are so many great quilt blogs with super creative quilters, it's hard not to look at my own work sometimes and think 'meh!'  When I see a quilt somewhere (anywhere) that inspires me to think, I have to ask myself what it is I'm trying to do, where I want to go and what it is I'd like to accomplish.
Scrap Attack #3 getting closer to a finished quilt top.
Clearly, I'm okay with reproducing someone else's idea if it resonates with me and if at the very least, I can make some part of that quilt 'mine'.  I have found though, that I get the absolute most enjoyment from letting my quilts talk to me and tell me what direction they want to go, even if it's supremely frustrating and takes a long time for me to understand what needs to happen next.   I'm slowly learning to be patient with the entire process, and it helps tremendously to have a little more knowledge of what 'the process' actually is.  lol
Always a mistake somewhere.....
Some of the most fascinating quilts I have ever been drawn to have unfathomable mistakes in them, perhaps from running out of a certain fabric, sewing errors and whatnot.  It's taking me a very long time to figure out what mistakes I'm in love okay with leaving in my quilting projects and which ones make me want to clench my teeth in frustration:  'I don't have time for this today!'
One step at a time.

Free-hand applique is obviously very intriguing to me and I want to do more of it.  I love the personalization and character of it all!  But like I said.  I don't always feel very creative and my mind tends to go blank and foggy when I try to force anything.  There's a delicate balance between waiting for lighting bolts of inspiration to fall out of the sky and figuring out the good habits that generate creativity.  I've learned that the best way for me to have opportunity to do more free hand applique and make the kinds of quilting mistakes that seem to actually feel charming to me, is simply to produce.  I can start from fabric I love or quilting blocks or anything else that kick starts the process.  I will only find the ending after I have a beginning to work with.

So there you go.  The key to making quilts you love involves a lot of doing.  Best get back to the quilting room while there's still some daylight left.*wink


  1. Oh Audrey! I could have written this post. It is comforting to know that others have some of the same doubts and frustrations that I do during the creative process. I do hope that you make something today that makes you smile. ps. I think the low volume quilt is turning out amazing!

  2. I LOVE your low volume quilt!! The triangle points around each block really add character.

  3. I could have written your post also - I always start with someones elses idea and try to add something of my own!

  4. Creating quilts has been one of my greatest joys. Like you I start with an idea and let it blossom.

    It's ok to,bounce around from project to,project. Keeps it all interesting and stimulating. Your quilts are beautiful. Stay with it!

  5. Audrey, this is such a wonderful post! You've articulated so well some of the thoughts I've had recently. The funny thing I think you're one of those super creative quilters! Not meh at all! I think it comes from the way you do let your quilts grow and have a journey. Your LV quilt is brilliant, I love it so much!! Enjoy Doing :) and thanks for an inspiring post.

  6. Your words, "I will only find the ending after I have a beginning to work with", rang out loud and clear for me. As my problem is to procrastinate even before I start a project, have I chosen the right colours? Are the fabrics too matchy? But now I am learning that I should just start and the answers will come as the project is being created.
    I think your blog appeals to me for the way you create using what you have available and the way you make each project your own. Thank you for your honesty in saying that sometimes the creative journey is hard and that at times you have to wait for that bolt of lightning.

  7. Love this post. Thanks for sharing your thoughts. Sounds much like what I do without really thinking about it. Love the hsts surrounding your low volume blocks - frames them nicely.

  8. Love that first quilt! I find that quilts are a process with me too. I begin and usually don't know where I'm headed...but I certainly enjoy the process!

  9. Wow, this post really resonates! I understand what you're going through, 'cuz I am too. I try to be "improv" and let the work flow, but sometimes it doesn't. I can see it's not working, but can't seem to figure out what to do. That lightning bolt isn't happening! You can't "make" it work either. Pushing at it seems to make it worse, at least for me.

    I know, like you discussed, that I only have to start and not try to see the end, but I still dither and hem and haw and don't sew. It's hard to let go and let it happen. I have 2 quilts that I've stalled on and it's so frustrating. I'm hoping, now that I don't have deadlines this year, that they will start "jelling" the next time I work on them.

    Love your low-volume quilt! I would have left those stray hst's as they were. I've learned to not let it bother me, and to embrace the quirky. There are still things I can't live with, though! LOL

    I like what you're starting with the free-hand applique. I've liked all the applique work you've done on your previous quilts. You have a gift for it!


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