Wednesday, April 19, 2017

The Journey of Creative Process and A Reminder for Final Quilty 365 Linkup!

Somehow I didn't quite realize that this quilt was started 5 years ago! Absolute craziness. And now it's a true blue finish! Wowsers. So a quick sidetrack for all of you Quilty 365'ers: The last and final linkup is going to be on May 1st. This will be for all completed circle quilt tops! {Not finished quilts although that's fine too.} Please plan to join in. We'd love to see your Quilty 365 journey!
The centerpiece of The Creative Process
Okay, back to 'The Creative Process'. This quilt was an interesting union of trying {for the first time ever} to make a quilt top with scissors only and being completely free spirited. No rulers or patterns allowed! I also put a restriction into place that the only fabrics to be used had to be on hand {in my quilt room} and I could not, under any circumstances, run out and buy anything at all.
1. Preparation, 2. Incubation, 3. Illumination, 4. Implentation

Which probably directly resulted in the two side borders being completely unreadable unless you are holding the quilt in your hands or standing quite close. Pfff...  Like I even care about that. lol  Do you know how much time it takes to applique letters onto a quilt and then not even be able to read them properly from a distance? Take a clue from my very hard earned lesson here and never, ever make that mistake....
The texture makes the quilt
At the time I was diving into this particular challenge of a quilt, I was also learning about the creative process {which later allowed me to recognize helpful habits}. As it pertained to yours personally of course. Years before that I was fairly certain there wasn't a single shred of creativity alive in my entire body! Anyway, it was a particularly intriguing concept to learn--being able to put all my thoughts and actions into a 'process' and find out that yes, I was quite, quite normal. Not some weirdo from outer space with this extreme push/pull thing going on with my hobby!

 Learning about the glorious ambiguity of creativity {and the normal learning curve} was actually very freeing. Wowsers, I just soaked it up like a sponge. Because I just didn't get it before, and was always sort of floundering around in those massive landmines of insecurity all beginning quilters seem to get hijacked with. It helped me so much to realize that yes! leaning into instinctual decision making, stopping that drive to do the 'right thing' all the time according to the quilt police, and simply 'listening' to the quilt do it's thing were all good and positive things!
A little bit lopsided....
But time has a way of dulling all the fascination off of a fun project--how this quilt represented something so very important in the growth of my quilting. Here in 2017, the finishing of this quilt was just an annoying detail on my finish-it-up-list! I was way past the 'putting the pieces' together of the process itself, quite inured to that basic, indelible part of my oh-so brilliant craft. These days I tend to wallow in things like finding my way forward in a boisterous sea of sly and tempting 'what-if's'. There are just so many options! Sometimes it just makes me want to go back to sleep rather than pile up another five quilt tops in the constant drive to make that 'one fabulous quilt'.*wink  But I digress.
The perfect binding for once...
This quilt needed to be finished up, quite properly honored and respected. It was {and is} an important piece of who I am now as a quilter. The delicious irony of the whole procrastination thing is that it looks so much better now, with my current {favorite} method of big stitch quilting, than it ever would have with my previous traditional threadwork. Perle cotton thread and the texture it invariably gives, could have been made for this type of quilt. I couldn't help myself, falling into, if not love, then real like, after each completed hoop of stitching. Especially after I gave in and added that bit of freestyle scalloped stitching around the center. That seemed to pull everything together and get rid of the I'm-only-stitching-this-quilt-because-I-have-to blues. To my quilting friend Kaja--that's exactly the point whereI finally forgave myself for this quilt having such a brash, unapologetic tone even while sporting so many obvious imperfections.*sigh  Quilters can be total whackjobs you know even if we never like to admit it....

The fabric I found for binding made me smile so much, an absolute charming match in my opinion. Even if I was about 10" shy of having enough! Oh who cares, a slight shortage just fits in with the rest of the quilt. So, yes! I'm sure you noticed. This quilt has plenty of chopped off bits, wonky {slightly} curved borders, words that don't shout quite loud enough, and hello? One side is almost 2" longer than the other side. Hands to my face in glee! lol  It really took a lot of restraint not to tidy this quilt up and trim it into {a properly squared} submission! It also has a touch of sentimentality wrapped up in the funky gold/yellow print on the border. That was part of the very last challenge given by my mom back when we were doing our little quilting group. Her fabric & quilt projects burned up, my sister moved away before finishing, one dear friend had a stroke before hers was completed, and on and on. 

In the funny way quilts have of surprising us, my youngest daughter went from not liking this quilt at all {she usually loves everything} to saying 'It looks so much better after being quilted and washed. I actually like it now!"  And my husband asked about the quilt laying across the end of our bed the evening after it was finished up. Could he have it for himself? He rather thought it was one of my better efforts. Hmmmm... My response was sort of a choked off, gurgley laugh I'm sure. Whew! I didn't see that one coming! This has been quite the journey, hasn't it?


  1. Terrific post - thanks for sharing your process!!!

  2. I love that your husband wanted the quilt for his own. Yeah for him. He has good taste, Audrey.

    It's always fun to read the process of a quilt from beginning to end in one blog post. Most of us post as we go along, often without recapping at the very end, but this is a good thing to do, I think.

    There are so many things to love about this quilt. One for me is that wonderful gold and red border. Fabulous fabric.

    Well done, Audrey.

  3. I bet you are thrilled to have completed this quilt have not tried to applique but maybe one day I will and will remember what you shared with us

  4. I remember when you pulled this out to quilt and your daughter's reaction. Glad to hear she appreciates it now :)

  5. Always interesting to hear how a quilt evolved into its finished form. And another in the finished category is always a huge bonus, and seems to re-energize the spirit for the next one in the queue.

  6. It's great to read about your journeys. In this case, it wasn't one continuous day by day process, but one with a great leap of time included. So it really does show your creative process journey. The quilt was waiting for the right moment in time to be finished.

  7. Very interesting to hear the evolution of this quilt.

  8. That is so lovely that your husband found something that inspires him in this quilt as well. Even though you think it is about one thing, everything can have a broader meaning to others. Inspiring to us all... and congratulations on the finish!

  9. I always appreciate you describing your process, and your thoughts on creativity have been very helpful to me. Thanks for sharing how you grew this quilt!

  10. Bravo on your brave, rotary cutter free quilting!!

    I love how this little expression will hold your spirit so well by quilting with what you have on hand. Don't you agree we all have way too much fabric??

    I'm working like a feind to finish up my Quilty 365 quilt top for the final one. Sniff, I liked this project!!

  11. I enjoy your quilts...they are original and lovely, and not from a pattern. Love them! I am sewing circles every time I get in the car to ride...some day!

  12. great folky design! congrats on finishing this one.

  13. Kyle said it! "The quilt was waiting for the right moment in time to be finished." And oh what a finish!! We all have something stashed away waiting for the right moment (even when the "moment" doesn't feel like "right" -- thanks for sharing your journey and giving us all courage!

  14. Just when I think I have already read the most interesting and thought provoking post ever, WHAM, you come up with another great one! I just love this quilt from thought process to finish. You are so darned inspiring! And it is always nice when your family thinks so too!

  15. The blue is an eye opener. Oh so good!

  16. We are so hard on ourselves. . . I read your post down to where you referred back to the other post. I clicked on the link and read and remembered when you posted it the first time. I enjoyed it then and it was a joy to revisit your thoughts. Then I neglected to read the rest of your recent post until today. As I am quilting some older tops I start to doubt my inspiration or choices. It's probably a good thing I'm a hand quilter and can spend hours gazing at the top as I stitch. By the time I am finished with the binding I have found renewed value in the original idea.

  17. I'm always impressed by the liveliness of your quilts and this is a perfect example. I just finished an ancient UFO which had been partly quilted for years. This makes me wish I'd appliqued some new stuff on the top and/or added more borders.
    Your unreadable words remind me of another old quilt of mine. No words but the two background colors were chosen because they were on hand while I was piecing and stuck at home with chickenpoxed kids.
    Love this finish!

  18. A long period between starting a quilt and finishing it can change how we feel so much, can't it? I guess we keep progressing and end up feeling further away from some pieces than from others. I'm glad you finished this though, and how cool that your husband loves it. (Aren't we pretty much all quilting whackjobs from time to time?)


Thanks for visiting! I love getting comments and always try to respond via email. Please leave an email in the comment to ensure a return reply! {Many of you are popping up as Anonymous for some reason, so I have no idea who it is.} Regardless, I appreciate all the comments and read every single one.