New Work, Subject to Change

The point of blogging and the point of quilting, for me, is enjoyment. And self-expression. And moving things around until I get them “right.” I just finished reading a blog post by Austin Kleon, author/artist/poet who wrote Keep Going, among other books.

In his blog post, Kleon calls blogging a “forgiving medium,” because even after a piece is published, the author can edit easily. Usually no one is the wiser, and if they are, usually they are kind about it.

Quilting is like that, to a point. I’ve changed quilt tops in small ways and large, at all stages of construction. Of course, once quilted, it’s harder to make changes. Even then, though, there are opportunities to embellish, add stitching, or judiciously change colors with markers or paints. My friend Joanna Mack The Snarky Quilter changes finished quilts regularly, to positive effect.

I have a new project, and as with almost every project, it already isn’t what I expected. I started with this:

It’s a basic star-in-a-star featuring a large flower from a showy print. The outer corners, if you aren’t sure, are very dark navy, not black. They do rather disappear into the background. In fact, they disappear so much, they are the first thing I changed, substituting white corner triangles.

After modifying the block, I considered how to frame it. Now imagine me, chin on hand, eyes directed upward, much like a cat that isn’t really looking at anything. (We call that cat “Stuart,” even though he hasn’t lived with us for thirty years.) Pondering, pondering… And it came to me, I should frame it with the same showy print that inspired the center.

The showy print is one I bought, if I remember correctly, in Taos in 2014. And again I don’t know for sure, but it might be an Alexander Henry piece. Long ago and far away… But it’s BIG! and SHOWY! and DIRECTIONAL! And it has one more challenge: I’ve fussy cut chunks out of it a few times.

When I decided to use it, I also decided to set the center block on point. I had enough of the big print for setting triangles, if I cut very carefully.

Yeah, you can guess what happened. I cut two big squares and cut them each on the diagonal to make setting triangles. But because the print is directional, I needed to cut one square from northwest to southeast, and the other from southwest to northeast. And I didn’t. ugh. Luckily I could cut another square almost big enough and piece over a missing section.

It worked. I framed the center block with a very fine yellow line, and then set it in the showy print. Because of the visual weight, I needed to balance that with a weighty border. After rifling through stash, I had a nice array of pinks, oranges, blues, and greens.

Along with white, they became hourglass blocks to surround the magenta spacer strip.

I’m not sure what’s next. That’s okay. I can take my time, ponder the possibilities a la Stuart. I can make and unmake, do surgery to remove or transplant parts. There is nothing precious, even a piece of fabric purchased long ago and far away.

25 thoughts on “New Work, Subject to Change

  1. Elizabeth E.

    I’ve had this post bookmarked for ages. Today I started another medallion project, and thought of you all day. I don’t feel like I have your skills for modifying/speaking the medallion’s language, but I’m pressing forward. Anyway, you were on my mind today. πŸ™‚ E.

    Reply
  2. zippyquilts

    I got a chuckle out of your comment that this quilt, like most, wasn’t exactly what you expected. Sounds like real life to me! And I’ve been thinking of you because I recently made a couple of large blocks that are constructed as medallions and I found it a challenge πŸ™‚

    Reply
  3. Jane Shackleton

    Melanie, it is lovely to have you back posting, and now making another medallion quilt. It is certainly your specialty! Thanks so very much for sharing your progress.
    Jane

    Reply
  4. katechiconi

    That yellow spacer strip is totally successful. I don’t think I’d like the whole nearly as much without it! PS: it’s very good to have you back and blogging again πŸ™‚

    Reply
    1. Melanie McNeil Post author

      It will take a bit to rebuild the habit, and I’m still not going to make promises, but I’m glad to be back. Thanks as always for your comments and your friendship.

      Reply

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