Monday, September 8, 2014

Trying to Find My Way Forward

My summer quilting sort of went off the tracks with me having to fit the odd moment of quilting into whatever empty second I found.  Imagine my surprise when the Flocks of Geese quilt managed to get made into a top, in spite of the fact that I was supposed to be packing for the trip and doing stacks of bookwork.
Flock of Geese quilt top finished
Believe it or not, I had agonized over putting the blocks together with the flat brown. Most people would have went light or busy. But not me. Oh no. I didn't feel like I had the luxury of time to weight all the pros and cons and I desperately wanted to be quilting. So I went with my gut. Just started in with the cutting and sewing and then ended up with this. It felt very 'bleh' and I was truly disappointed. You really have no idea. My triumphant little blue birds had lost their special little spark and it felt like a betrayal of sorts. Like I had let them down, all the way into obscurity.
Not as wonderful as I had imagined.....
Then we left on our trip. Ah, my routine of quiltiness--where art thou? We wandered in and out of peoples homes for the next couple weeks and when I saw a quilt I would always perk up. Can we talk quilts? Please say yes! And over and over again I discovered that I am much too much into quilting. I have hours of quilty talk bubbling up inside me that starts to feel kind of obsessive when the other party has quietly moved the conversation onto other polite topics.*sigh  Other than my quick trips into quilt stores and fabric love, I started feeling a bit disconnected with the whole process. A bit mad in my head if you know what I mean.
Red & Green applique blocks with the Basket Galore Bom blocks
So lovely to get home and reacquaint myself with the quilting room. Except that I felt oddly nervous and unsure of myself. What were these strange quilt projects cluttering up my quilt room all about? Too, I had company in my home while I was gone and one day in total boredom (apparently) they decided to iron some of my fabric. And fold it very precisely and very neatly into stacks. Ack! My quilt room didn't feel completely right anymore. Somewhere along the way, I seem to have gotten a bit lost.

I made quick little trips in and out but other than some hand quilting late in the evening I didn't do any quilting for several days. I was starting to wonder if my 'passionate' interest in quilting had maybe burned up with the fire when it came to actual implementation.
Playing with some border fabrics
Then, on Friday afternoon, I finally got a grip on myself (it probably helped that the laundry was done and out of my face). I decided to start small--with my red and green applique blocks--putting them on the wall next to the sampler baskets. Ahhhh... I could literally feel my shoulders lose some of their tension when I saw them all nestled together on the wall so sweetly. YES. Even though I had hurriedly thrown the idea together, it was exactly what I had hoped would happen. I played around with border ideas for a bit and then moved on to another project.

To my partial St. Paul blocks. Such a troublesome project. I love the blocks and I hate them. I love the rich colors of my quilt top and yet I don't. Where is the energy? I have had it in my mind for months now to put a 5" tumbler block border around the outside and still, I question how it should all go together. And no, it's not finished the way it is. Even though I rarely finish a quilt sans borders, I have and I will, if it truly feels finished without. This one obviously just needs more time to simmer.
Trying to figure out a border solution for the Partial St. Paul quilt
I played with some fabric stacks piled around the quilt room and pulled some new fabrics into the mix, put some away. Piddled my way through several projects, ideas and what-ifs. Eventually I could feel myself slowly settling into the familiar 'I am a quilter' zone. I knew for sure when I pulled out my cactus basket blocks and started looking at the current progress.

The entire quilt just looked wrong to me. Much too forced, out of sync and kind of flat if you want to know the truth of it. After playing with lots of different layouts and looking at several border possibilities, I found myself sitting back and grumbling under my breath in disgust. Such great little basket blocks and everything made them look terrible together. Puh-leeze. I so do not want to end up with 13 throw pillows instead of a quilt! But suddenly I had a crazy, scary thought. What I if put them together in a asymmetrical layout? Emphasized the difference between the very light and that stupid black I thought was such a great idea back in July? Hmm hmm, maybe.....

I'm starting to think this quilt is going to be very different. It might even turn into my 'surviving the fire' quilt and who cares what anybody else thinks about the end result! I have ideas people, IDEAS! churning in my wacky, obsessively, quilty brain and let me tell you it feels amazing. Whew! Such a relief to have a glimmer of creativity creeping back in again.
Don't think this will be the layout for the Cactus Basket blocks
Ahh... quilting. What would we do without it? Later that evening, once again immersed in my hand quilting, I thought about my Flocks of Geese quilt. Was it really ruined forever or could it possibly be rescued? Stitch after stitch I contemplated what had went wrong with my brilliant quilt idea. And quietly, it came to me. In the chaos of my summer I had completely forgotten. All along, the plan was for that particular quilt to have lots and lots of Perle cotton stitching in the calm, 'boring' areas of the quilt. I was intending to use lots of thread color and those wonderful chunky stitches to give the quilt texture. Another layer of interest and a beautiful backdrop for my sweet little bluebirds.

So there you have it. It may or may not turn out to be as wonderful as I imagine in my mind, but I feel so much better about the entire matter. Flocks of Geese was just one {of many} of the quilts that I was feeling an odd disconnect to. But now I feel a bit more confident that I can find my way back. As long as I don't lose my hand quilting hoop, that is.*wink


  1. I really love your Flocks of Geese Quilt! I was so surprised to hear you call it bleh! Maybe I am bleh! I love the jux ta position of the brights with the dull!

  2. First of all, I do not find your Flock of Geese quilt boring. I think the solid areas would be beautiful with some stitching in colors that you pick up from the geese and the birds. It looks like a red in the birds and that would be a lovely addition to your stitching that you want to do.

    Your red and green blocks caught my eye and I really like what you have going. The baskets with the three ball style flowers is what really caught my eye. I like it very much!

  3. Gosh, so many of your thoughts echo mine! I feel like the getting started, and making a decision to do that on ONE PROJECT is the hardest thing for me, LOL!! So I tend to skip and bounce like a stone cast over water. But I love it, and when I get into the rhythm...all the troubles go away!! I love your quilts, and your ingenuity and passion.

  4. FWIW - we can talk quilts any time you want! I am so familiar with that glazed eyeball look from non-quilters!

  5. So glad you're back. You always inspire me and reinvigorate my love of quilting.

  6. I think your Flocks of Geese quilt top is lovely. Your wonderful hand quilting is going to be the star here along with those gorgeous birds.

    Never doubt yourself my friend- you do amazing work.

  7. You really do have lots of wonderful projects in the works and I know that you will turn them into wonderful quilts. I find that when I have been out of my sewing studio that I have trouble getting back in the groove.

  8. As soon as i saw flocks of geese with those lovely brown areas I knew they'd look wonderful with your hand quilting!! I feel an odd disconnect if I haven't had a chance to sew for a while, it's a great feeling to get back into it again.

  9. it looks lovely - sometimes we do disconnect from quilts in the making don't we - I am like that about my applique quilts right now - I sure hope my applique mojo comes back when we get home at the end of the month - My Floral Fantasy has been sitting idle too long as well as the Love Entwined quilt

  10. I don't think your geese quilt is boring at all. I find it very soothing and calm and I can imagine how beautiful it will be with quilting on those brown squares. I have often been disappointed with a tope only to love it once it has been quilted. I've been thinking a lot about the evolution of quiltmaking and the current trends using bright colors. They are beautiful also, but I'm drawn to traditional quilts in subdued colors when I want to surround myself with a quilt for comfort.

  11. It's all so true! I l-o-v-e your flock of geese quilt! Even before I read your post, I thought that it had so much energy in it because of all the energy you put in to it. Without a doubt, the fire you and your family survived will find it's way into your work - how can it not? Thank you for sharing so much of your process with us. Quilting - what would we DO without it? Take care,

  12. Great post, hang in there and trust your instincts. You have a wonderful sense of color and design.

  13. Oh rats! When I logged in, my long, thoughtful comment completely disappeared! OK, I'll see if I can remember what I said.

    I love your Flock quilt top! Love the colors, and I like the taupe with it. It's different - kind of a modern and yet traditional vibe to it. I think it will be wonderful with your "big stitching". Your little birds will be happy.

    It can be hard to get back into the quilt studio after a long absence. You feel awkward and out of step. But it does come back, like you found out. Sometimes just petting the fabric works! It can be a good thing - it gives you a different perspective on your work, and maybe some new ideas too. Glad to hear your mojo is finding you again!

    I love the cactus baskets with those pieced blocks! I really like the way the reds play off each other. And of course your work will reflect your experiences. That fire will show up as an influence for quite a while, I would imagine.

    Hey, anytime you want to talk quilting, give me a call! I'm always willing to talk about quilts with someone who "gets" my passion! But it sounds like you got a super "quilt shop fix" on your trip - you acquired some wonderful fabrics!

  14. Loved your comment about talking about quilts, on and on and on. I could talk quilts all day and love to be around people who don't think that's odd. I'm so curious to see the quilting of the flock of geese quilt in progress. I have a quilt at home that has bothered me for years. It is made from pink and green bride's bouquet blocks set on point. It hangs in my downstairs closet. I occasionally get it out and try to figure out how to make it sing. So far, nothing. I think part of my disappointment is that I loved loved loved the fabric line (Gingham Rose by Moda). I hope that someday it will finally come together. You're great inspiration.

  15. Give yourself some time. You've had a very stressful and busy summer. Life will settle back to normal and all your quilty thoughts and creativity will be flowing again. I'm in agreement with everyone else your quilts are lookin' good.

  16. You have been through so much you have to expect your moods to change and vary a bit. If you are creating and quilting for you who cares if anybody else likes it!?

  17. I always love your quilts, you have a wonderful sense of colours and design !

  18. I love all your projects! It's funny how it takes a while to get back in the swing of it after time away; I'm sure in a few days time you'll have a different perspective. PS I love to talk quilting - could do it all day long - so you're not alone there Audrey!!

  19. ¿cual elegir ?
    son todos tan preciosos.......

  20. It sounds like you may have been "under pressure" for most of the summer. Your road trip sounded like fun---I have fond memories of family road trips. The background fabric tends to recede, which lets the other fabrics come through. I am glad you remembered what you had planned for the empty squares!!! I have to write things down anymore. When you relax with a small & easy task---it lets your other thoughts come back. We are really overwhelmed with everything in our world today. I have had an awful year taking care of my parents and blogs like yours are my escape into a little fun. I forget my troubles & know others are experiencing things just like me!! Hope the creative juices just start to flow in your quilting life. Take care

  21. You've had a long crazy time of it and still probably managed to get more done than the rest of us :)

    Everything will turn out beautiful in the end :)

  22. Hi there! Found your blog through "Google" looking for hand quilting ideas. Thanks for the great tutorial on the Baptist Fan!

    Enjoyed reading past posts and look forward to visiting you again, soon!


  23. i always enjoy your blog posts. You have an amazing way of writing what many of us think. I would love to talk quilting with you anytime and have felt that same feeling when someone doesn't want to. I will agree with others that your bird quilt is lovely. And the hand quilting will be wonderful on it. I love your style and appreciate you sharing your thoughts.

  24. I can understand how your plans for Flock of Geese escaped you for a while. Sounds awesome and I look forward to seeing your progress.

  25. Lovely projects. You've had a lot of things to adjust takes time. Keep on stitching! I hope when you were visiting those quilt shops along the way you got a few pieces of fabric for you!


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