Monday, December 7, 2009

Quilting on the Edge

First of all, thanks to Fiesta and West Michigan Quilter for their comments on my last post.  It's always great to hear from my readers, so thanks to all of you who've commented in the past, and hopefully will in the future.  I always find your comments interesting and they often get me thinking.

The comments on my last post had to do with my "Creative Journey" quilt.  Both quilters asked for the pattern which is hard for me to give out because I don't have one!  It's one of my blessings, (and curses!), that I like to fly by the seat of my unfortunately substantial pants, (I need to lay off the peppermint bark!).

In previous posts I talked about how I used to be the prototype color-within-the-lines person.  The advantage to that is that I developed discipline as well as great hand-eye coordination, a must for being a good quilter.

It's the classic girl-meets-art story.  I ran from the artistic side and worked on the technical for years before slowly realizing that it wasn't doing it for me anymore.  I found that making something that perfectly matched a picture in a magazine or on the cover of a pattern was very unsatisfying.  It didn't make me happy or even make me feel like I accomplished anything.  If I hadn't taken a few steps outside the lines I don't think I could do the kind of work I do now.

I'm not knocking quilters who follow patterns.  After all we wouldn't have so many of our great quilt block patterns if they weren't fabulous ways to make quilts.  I do use classic quilt styles in my quilts and hope to eventually start making patterns from my original designs. 

However, there is something that I'm very passionate about and that is drawing the artist out of every quilter.  The fact is that selecting fabrics and patterns and successfully putting them together is art.  Any of you who spend hours in quilt shops looking for that right fabric, or who get excited when they find a fabric they absolutely have to have, you are the people I want to reach.

I hate that so many people are told too often that they aren't "artistic" or that their quilts aren't "good enough" or that they aren't "real artists," (I did a whole post on this a while ago).   The fact is that anyone who takes a real interest in quilting is the kind of person who wants to express themselves.  It doesn't matter if that expression is perfectly completing a pattern, or coming up with an original design.  The point is that none of us would do this if we didn't enjoy it.  Heck, even the pioneer women who needed quilts to keep their families warm expressed themselves in what they were able to piece together.  That's what it's all about for all of us.

I've been doing some more work on the "Creative Journey" quilt.  The last time I decided I needed to add some blanket stitching and thought I'd try something "coral" for the edges of the flower.  I like the way the variegated thread looks, and I decided to leave the light pink chain stitching around the edge because I thought it gave the flower a little more depth.

If you look at the photo above you'll see one of the fun things that come up when you're experimenting.  I swear that I did not purposely line up the swirls in the blue batik with the pink pattern of the petals when I appliqued them on.  Since I did the petals in reverse applique I couldn't have lined it up if I tried!  It wasn't until I started adding the beads that I noticed it.  How cool is that?  It doesn't happen on every petal, but there's enough of an overlap of pattern that I'm going to follow it with my beading.  I think it will add some unexpected zing.
So, I'm going to continue on my "creative journey" and will continue to share with you the progress I'm making towards making quilts "my way."  I hope you'll join me!

Happy Stitching,


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