Monday, October 11, 2010

Quilt in progress

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I start with this: an assortment of fabrics in whatever colors and patterns move me. Normally, I choose these purely by instinct, with no regard at all for color matching or value or anything like that. I try to choose a variety of patterns, both large and small, and I keep a certain “feel” in my mind as I make choices, like “Adirondack weekend” or “hobbits” or “Frampton Comes Alive”. (I know you’d like to see that one, wouldn’t you? Me too, maybe that’s next.) I am kind of driven to choose some warm and some cool colors. I think, for instance, an all blue-and-white quilt without its dose of orange feels static and, actually, uncomfortable. If I ever end up with a monochromatic quilt, which could happen, I suppose, if I go against my own grain hard enough, I know I’ll end up putting a loudly contrasting pillow next to it anyway. Some people like things that are soothing, but not me, I guess.

So I need warms and cools, large prints and small ones, and it all needs to feel a certain way together.

In this case, all that work is done for me already; these are 1/4 yard each of the entire Hope Valley Collection from Denyse Schmidt—24 prints in all. Yummy!

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Then, I start choosing the fabrics for backing, binding, and either sashing strips or alternating patches, if that’s the plan. These almost always just come from the stash, and I don’t much mind if they don’t match very well. I am totally happy to patch the back together, too. If it’s all one fabric? That’s a little boring to me. These all seem to like each other, and I chose a couple different grays to be the filler between print patches.

Speaking of the plan, this time I went through a step of the process that I usually skip; The Plan. These are really lovely fabrics, and they look, by design, great together, and since I hadn’t had to do any thinking to this point, I decided to try planning. A most novel approach! I also had the notion that this quilt had to be really, really good. You know, interesting. Maybe not so much with my usual just chop it all up and sew it together any which way, right?

So I did a bunch of doodling. I wanted something worthy. I drew asymmetrical columns of graduated color. I drew something that looked like tree branches against a white ground. I tried to replicate the life’s work of Mondrian. There was a lot of scribbling.

Then I had an Oprah moment, and realized I should just go ahead and do what I do best, just use the pretty tools I had before me and make a Cozy Things quilt, something I knew I’d love later, something that was all me.

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Yes! That’s right.

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So I cut it all up. There’s no going back now! Stay tuned for Part 2, in which I attempt to piece this top on the Loaner Machine. Dun dun DUNNNNNN…..

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