Ever ask yourself about your quilting goals? What do you think you want to accomplish? There are so many different answers possible here. Are you a project person or a process person. Do you want to sell your quilts? Do you want to keep your quilts or give them away?
A project person has a distinct goal in mind — a finished quilt. There is usually a beginning and of course an end. You have a pattern, you have colors in mind, maybe you even have a location designated for it.
I am a process person. I may have a stack of fabrics and an idea but I have no general purpose except to create. I may not create a quilt — I may create pieces or parts and then decide where to go from there. Or I may lay them aside and move on to something else until I decide what to do next. This often gets me in trouble.
My friend Stephanie is a project person. She is always making something with fabric to use in her décor. One year it was a quilt for her daughter’s room. Since I didn’t have a daughter I thought I would make the same blocks for fun and sometime in the future I may need a quilt for a little girl.
I made these Bow Blocks. Definitely for a girl. I made blocks until I got tired and them put them in a box, labeled it and set them aside. Then one year, many years later, I needed a Christmas present. It was late October. I don’t know about you but once it is October time flies that much faster to the holidays. It is not just normal life events but also all the unexpected happenings. I turned things upside down looking for the box of blocks — then how to set them, What colors to use? With little Abi being the predictable little girl that she was pink and purple were the perfect choices.
Being a process person who plans less with a project you may find yourself in a pickle. You may not have enough of what you need. You used fabric saved for this project on a different project. You have no clue what or where you put the pattern if you want to make more pieces. You have to be much more creative and open to new ideas and a change your plans.
What I have learned from times like this: Set up a box with all the supplies together. Keep them there until the project is completed. Keep the book or make a copy of the pattern and keep it in the box as well.
Are there days you find yourself circling looking for something you want?
I wrote on my morning pages all the things I could do today. My list involved things I could do in my workroom. Clear out empty boxes that are taking up space. I checked that off. Then my stair stepper was in the way. I always kept it under the sofa in the living room should the urge to exercise strike. When we put down a new rug in the living room the stair step was moved to my workroom — yeah like I am going to exercise there? It went back downstairs to live under the sofa again. I need all the floor space in my workroom. Moving the stair stepper opened up enough space to set up my ladder to put yarn bins back on the shelf.
If you have followed what I’ve written you may remember I started sorting, and then I sorted some more, and then more. It was like an obsession. I am not an obsessive person. I just got to a point where I couldn’t find what I wanted when I wanted it. It happened again.
Since I have been going around in circles I thought it might be better to stop making new work and go back to working in a series which is what I like to do. I have to follow my instinct and my intuition. I wanted to find the last piece of art that was almost finished, but where did I put it? I am to the point where I can find everything. I have separated my finished works from my unfinished works and labeled it all.
I looked everywhere that I thought it could be for three days. Then I told myself, it will turn up I am certain. I was lost for what I may have done with it. Where did I remember having it last? The living room next to my favorite chair where I do my hand quilting, yes I still hand quilt special pieces which will probably never know a washing machine. One morning I thought of the most obscure place I might put it. I was knitting pet blankets in December, but then company was coming, so I fast gathered. Under the stairs there was a basket with bulky yarn. On top of the basket was the lid to a box I was using to put donation books into. I lifted the lid covering the yarn. Almost completely covered by the yarn was a corner of the quilt — hiding. I found you, my Very Colorful Quilt, a reason to celebrate.
As all good plans are made, they aren’t always achieved.
Now on to DAY TWO:
Adding a different set of two colored strips. This time pink and green. You’ll need three of each color strip. You can do this using fat quarter strips 1 1/2″ wide by 22″. Five strips of each color, as shown using a 1/4″ seam allowance. Be sure to press as you sew. Press DO NOT IRON, pressing is an up and down motion with the iron. I do not use steam because I like to get my fingers in there and steam and my fingers do not like each other.
Lay the sewn strips right side to right side as you would sew them together being careful to line up the edges carefully. I like to trim the front edge first to even it up. Then resting my grid cutter on the 1.5″ marker I make my first cut. Without moving the fabric I carefully line up the edge on the 3″ mark on my ruler and make the second cut, again I carefully move my ruler without disturbing the fabric to the 4.5″ mark and cut again. The my final cut will be on the 6″ mark before I move any of the fabric. Then repeat to the end. You can also do this following the grid by matching your ruler with the cutting board grid to get an accurate cut. Keep your fingers clear of the cutter. I have trimmed my nails but have been lucky enough to not draw blood. I can’t say the same for my use of a French knife. I almost lost a finger tip when I got distracted using one of those.
I press the sewn seam down first to set them, then I press the seam to one side usually the darker fabric. In this case you would have to be the judge of which is darker. You can press from the back side of the fabric or the top side. I use a small spray mister and prefer to press from the top side of the fabric, but not always. It is a judgment call.
The finished squares will measure 4.5″ This is not always true. Measure and see if your blocks all measure the same. If they all measure the same and it isn’t 4.5″ then that is your personal measurement. If most of them measure 4.5″ and some are a tad off carefully trim the excess. Be careful when trimming, you will be gratetful that you do because just being a 1/16″ of an inch off on several blocks can throw you off by half an inch overall. When I started quilting it didn’t matter to me, when I sewed them together at the end it did matter and I have to tell you — I hate ripping out.
(to be continued)
Happy quilting, Joanne
I have been spinning my wheels for some time now. I’ve been sorting and wondering why I am stuck in this rut. Then it dawned on me. Although for most I may not appear to be organized — but an organized person is one who can find what they need when they need it. That was me until we emptied my studio to put down new flooring — which I do love.
Fabric was brought back into the workspace and just put helter-skelter on the shelves. It would make for interesting work if that were the way I worked. I have been lost and instead of making new work I am looking at UFOs (unfinished work) and trying to get my head around finishing them. That just isn’t possible when I can’t find what I need.
There was a time when I put all my WIP (works in progress) in shiny silver boxes supplied by a lovely local department store and labeled them. Even then when I open the box I find I am one fabric short, the dye-lots don’t even come close to the colors created today, which is a hazard of having projects that date back into the last century. Wow that sounds old and it is. But they are still worth finishing when I find the fabric in my many piles.
So I asked a trusted art buddy, Kim Burke, in Los Angeles to give me her opinion. She suggested putting the old projects aside and “MOVE ON.” I knawed on it for all of about 15 minutes and decided that was a worthy opinion and advice.
I put what I was working on into a shoe box and pulled out a different shoe box of 1 1/2 inch cut strips. This is not what I had in mind, it isn’t arty nor is it flamboyant, it is sweet. So this is March 11, 2016 and I am looking at my breakfast smoothie of banana, mandarin oranges and mango —
DAY ONE: Aunty Grace fabric and it looks like I will be making a baby quilt, smoothie in hand.
I did a lot of sorting and organizing in my workroom last summer.
In a box marked Katherine’s quilt were cuts leftover from a quilt I made for Katherine.
Also in there were a stack of log cabin block, the ones pictured above. Why weren’t they a finished top? Several reasons perhaps. First thought, I got tired of making them another I became distracted with another more pressing project.
I put them on my design work wall and decided I was one block short to make an ample sized lap throw of 60″ square. In the container were all the pieces to make more blocks except the last fabric. That would do it. I love making scrappy quilts that don’t match, but when I try to make quilts that actually match, that can be a challenge. I fall in love with a fabric and end up using it in many quilts and then it is gone. So I will resume a search in hopes of making this quilt a bigger size by finding more of that LAST fabric.