chances taken

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Hi there! I haven’t blogged enough this year to do a thorough roundup of all my projects for 2014. And there’s been so much unpleasant personal stuff that I don’t even know where to begin and will therefore spare you all the gory details. Suffice it to say I am looking forward to a new year and new beginnings.

For now, I thought I would share one of my favorite projects of this last year. I was totally obsessed with this while making it. This wee quilt took me way outside my comfort zone in many ways. First, I was inspired by the works of artist REVOK. I wanted to replicate the logic behind the construction without totally imitating his style, so the goal was to make something using what I imagine his thought process to be without completely copying him, to riff on his work and pay homage. I used blenders and “low-volume” prints the way he uses printed panels and interspersed them with straight up white. It was fun and challenging to approach this from an analytical standpoint and deconstruct someone else’s work in that manner.

Second, I decided to needle-turn appliqué all the circles. Prior to this, I had only one needle-turn appliqué project under my belt, and it was a small one. Forty-two 4 1/2 inch circles seemed daunting. After the first five, I wondered what the hell I was thinking. After five more, I was into the groove and enjoying the process immensely. Hand-stitching slowed me down and made me more connected to the process. I came to look forward to stitching down a circle or two (or five) every night before bed.

Third, I decided to add an extra layer of fluff for a sort of psuedo-trapunto. That experiment was a bust. Because I didn’t quilt over the circles of batting under the appliquéd circles, some of them bunched up into fugly little lumps. Performing a bit of surgery on the circles to fix them was no big deal. But then the batting wouldn’t stay put anyway and bunched again, albeit in a less noticeable fashion. I just pressed the hell out of ’em and decided to live with it.

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Fourth, I decided to free-motion quilt the whole thing. That in itself isn’t anything so out of my element, but I decided to a) do spirals (not my usual go-to motif) and b) to quilt around the circles to make them stand out and look puffy and pop. Inspired by Carolyn Friedlander’s gorgeous Aerial Grove quilts, I wanted to play with texture and give the circles a little bit more three-dimensionality. My first few attempts were not so lovely, but I got better with each circle. As with all FMQ, it’s all about practice and making those movements muscle memory.

Finally, I did an invisible binding. That’s not out of my comfort zone at all, though. I’ve made one before, and besides, invisible bindings are so delightfully easy and satisfying.. What is out of my comfort zone is that I submitted this quilt to QuiltCon. This is the first time I have ever submitted a quilt to a show. It felt like a huge step, and I hesitated to a ridiculous degree. It did not make it into the exhibition.* I thought the rejection would hurt, but it didn’t. Not one bit. This quilt is perhaps not a shining example of my abilities or even truly indicative of my style, but I learned so much while I made it. And I love it. Nothing can diminish the joy I feel when I look at this thing that I made that I never would have thought I could make.

*My Kelly Quilt was accepted and will be traveling to Austin in the next week or two. Yay! It is one of the many good things I am looking forward to in 2015.

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3 thoughts on “chances taken

  1. Pingback: at last! a finish! | sotosewn

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