When I make a quilt, sometimes I can envision just what to do. HA! Sure. Sometimes. But probably as often, I run through several scenarios before deciding I’m done with a segment.
That might work with any or all of these steps:
1) Think about different possibilities. Consider colors, shapes, scale…
2) Try ideas in EQ7.
3) Sketch out ideas on paper.
4) Audition fabric.
5) Cut and stitch fabrics.
8) Try again.
I’m teaching my Medallion Improv! class again. My students are each making a quilt, which they design for themselves. I am making two quilts of very different natures, in order to demonstrate thinking about a greater variety of puzzles. The more traditional quilt is going together pretty easily. But the non-traditional one is a bigger mystery.
The tentative title for this one is “I Found the Housework Fairy But She’s Not Coming Back.” :)
Here are the steps I’ve taken so far:
1) The center block uses a piece of fabric from Alexander Henry. Once I cut it to size, I knew the fairy would get a little lost in the center, with all the busyness. I wanted to frame her better and reduce the clutter of the scene. I added the curved strips, which helped. She’s still not quite as obvious as I’d like, but it’s better. And the insets add a little texture, so it isn’t “just” a piece of fabric now.
2) The first border actually did what I wanted. The turquoise top and bottom helps direct attention to her because of the aqua in her hair. The mitered corners point at her, centered in the block. The overall simplicity helps offset the busy center.
3) Last week in class I showed the students that much, as well as a bunch of fabrics I considered for the second border. Phyllis exclaimed about one that is very pale. I thought it was too pale, but when I got it home, that was the only thing I liked.
3a) I made 5 test blocks of the very pale and a light aqua. They have curved piecing, which I thought would contribute to the organic nature of the piece. I did not like them.
3b) I thought a lot about what else to try. I didn’t want to just put a slab of the very light fabric next. Then I thought about what my sister Cathie would do. She has a little more intuitive approach to her medallions, and I figured if I could mimic her, I might get it right. (Hilarious, huh? A calculated attempt to do something spontaneous…) Irony aside, I decided to put squares on point, but make them smaller than the width allowed. That meant more squares and a little more delicate feel. But I needed to figure out how to fill the width. I chose having a darker color outside and extra of the very light color next to the center. Also because all the squares and their setting pieces are on the bias, a strip of lavender on the outside edge stabilizes it and gives it a more defined finish. This muchI like. The next challenge was figuring corner blocks.
3c) Corner block attempt 1: built 4 corners and attached 2 of them, and attached that border. It didn’t work.
3d) Corner block attempt 2: disassembled all corners, modified them which included cutting new pieces and rebuilding. It didn’t work.
3e) Corner block attempt 3: disassembled all 4 corners, cut new pieces and made new corner blocks. It didn’t work.
3f) Hurray! It pays to go through stash one more time. The first 3 attempts were for pieced blocks. I thought an unpieced corner would be too obtrusive. But the batik print I used is blotchy enough that it doesn’t call attention to itself. It also brings out some of the yellow from the center, giving me the opportunity to use it again in the next border.
Okay, so the score card on that is 1 major change to the center, 1 major change to the second border, and 3 major changes to the second border’s corner blocks. Five big changes in the first three segments (center plus two borders.) THIS is typical, and it’s all okay. Each time I tried, I failed better. This is part of the experimenting, trying something, learning from it, and trying something different.
I haven’t failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.
Thomas A. Edison