Looky!

One side pinned down. Sort of.  There’s always changes. (I can already see a couple I want to make.)

This after I complained to my mother that I hadn’t had any time to work on the quilt–but I hurried through lesson prep and writing an assignment and did the dishes early and rushed upstairs after dinner.

Those tiny circles are tedious, but the forward motion of the quilt is pulling me to completion.  Will I last for the next few weeks?  I’ve got a commitment to Rhonda to start our Lollypop blocks in March, but Rhonda, please–can I have a little more time?

Good to Be At This Place

I finally decided on the blue inner border and a glorious blossoming orange and yellow mum border.  My husband calls this the red dot phase and so it is–trying to figure out where to put the dots, the leaves, the stems.

Before the next set of essays to grade come in (this Thursday), I’m working on ironing the leaves around their freezer paper templates, making circles and circles and circles. It feels good to be at this place. In the book, Learning by Heart, Corita says:

“There is an energy in the creative process that belongs in the league of those energies which can uplight, unify, and harmonize all of us.  This energy, which we call ‘making,’ is the relating of parts to make a new whole.  The result might be a paint, a symphony, a building.”

Or a quilt.

Choices

Concentrate on those outer borders: the ones separated by the thin dark green strip.

Now, what have you learned?  That watching someone trying to figure out a quilt is more boring than watching paint dry?  I agree.

I subject you to this only because there was a flurry of “I Took The Process Pledge” buttons popping up on posts all over the blogosphere.  Supposedly you, the reader/viewer, would find it completely fascinating on how we all put our quilts together–the “process” of our quilting.  So, some quilters that I used to enjoy have lately become really boring.  With this quilt, I have to place myself in that category.  Would we have liked watching Van Gogh do his brush strokes?  Only if we were interested in replicating Van Gogh’s work.  What about Rothko, with his endless layers of paint?  Same.

So (thankfully) my obsession with this quilt took a momentary back seat to going to my daughter’s home, where they are packing up again to move–the fourth move in three years, she told me.  Or is it the third move in four years?  It was a busy weekend.  With the help of my very cute granddaughter, I helped the process along by packing up the kitchen while my daughter went to her last heart doctor appointment.  (She has PPCM.)

I didn’t think about this quilt at all, and came home to gaze on it (and all those photos in the slide show) with fresh eyes.

By studying others’ quilts, I discovered that the two fabrics on the outer borders need to harmonize.  For the circles in the center to have the most impact, those outer borders need to be lighter in value.  Now I just need to choose between the combinations above.  Feel free to add in your two cents, knowing that I will go where this quilt leads me.  Even if it is over a cliff.

Research

Okay, so I did what any self-respecting woman with a computer and fast internet connection would do: I searched the web for other variations of this quilt.  First up: Google with 217 pages (about half applied).  Then Google Images, then Flikr, then change up of keywords, then Flikr and Google Images again.  How are all you quilty people out there in the universe making YOUR Everyday Best quilt?

Some left the flowers off of the borders, some included them. Some quilts were very dark, with striking contrasts, others made light quilts.  Some put small circles in the middle of the large pieced circles so as to cover the intersections, some did not.  Some stopped at one block, some did fancy borders (not flowers), some had impeccable craftsmanship, others were just learning.  A couple in here are variants of this quilt–not exactly the same.

In other words, everyone’s quilt is slightly different.  What I did learn, though, was to press on through my doubts and go for it.  Yes, it may take me a while, but once all those flowers in the border are finished, and it’s quilted, it all works.  Enjoy the slideshow.

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Quilt. Not. Working

In any quilter’s life, there is a point where the quilt is not working.  You can zip along in your creative automobile at a fabulous pace, then it’s like someone reached over, turned off the engine and threw the keys out the window.  You drift, you steer, you try, but basically you’re just coasting to a dead stop.  Which is shown in the quilt above.

I’ve corralled my husband to have a quilt discussion with me (not his gig).  I’ve cut out zillions of red “flowers,” plopped them all over and had a discussion with myself about why it’s not working.  Some questions that have come up (especially late at night) are: Why do I have to do THEIR version of a border?  Why not just fly away on my own and finish off those fabulous crop circles in the middle in my own way?  Are those fabrics on the sides too bright? (Yes.) Where did I put those other flow fabrics? (Cue: searching bins in the garage.)  Will I have to buy more fabric?

In that way, this quilt reminds me of the one I did with Ruth McDowell some years ago.  I think I bought every yell0w-green fabric for miles around, trying one then another then another, trying to make them work.  I’m very happy with the end result, but that quilt took me AGES to complete–the pansy staring at me with its happy face, and me, making faces back at it, as I tried yet another yellow-green fabric around the edge.  It looks a little much here in this flat photo, but on the wall, it has a richness and pulls the viewer in.

It’s raining today, and I have to wait for a delivery, and my hand hurts (too much cooking on Valentine’s Day) and I have two more papers to grade (that came in late) and I need to prep my lesson for tomorrow, and still haven’t cleaned the bathrooms. Bleh.

I have a little book I read when I want to remind myself of getting back to the creating.  It’s called The War of Art by Steven Pressfield.  Usually I randomly open the book (short chapters) and read for a while to get me motivated and my head unfuddled.  Today’s random reading:

The professional arms himself with patience, not only to give the stars time to align in his career, but to keep himself rom flaming out in each individual work.  He knows that any job, whether it’s a novel or a kitchen remodel, takes twice as long as he thinks and costs twice as much.

Sigh.