Discouragement

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Yesterday I made myself sit down and finish the straight-line quilting on the new quilt (that I talked about yesterday.) Sure enough, I was right. I don’t like it. Its not very interesting. I won’t be entering it in the contest. I was so discouraged. I started that bad thinking–“what are you doing? what made you think you were an artist? what’s the use?”

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I left it on the design wall and headed out to the gym, not knowing whether I’d ever quilt again (haha, drama queen.) I had to stop at the post office and pick up a couple of quilts that had been returned from a small gallery showing. I opened the box and looked at them. Ahhh, a glimmer of hope. I LIKED these quilts!

Of course I felt better after my workout. Still, I might never make another worthy quilt…

When I got home, I decided to put the two little quilts on the design wall to enjoy them for a bit. And then I had the idea to put some more quilts up there. I cleared all the works-in-progress off the wall, and put up my own little quilt show. Wow, look at all those quilts I’ve made THAT I LIKE. And that quilt you don’t like–it isn’t such a bad little quilt. It just needs a little help (like the Charlie Brown Christmas tree.)

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I’ll be back in the studio today, just sewing a couple of pieces of fabric together…

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The Value of Journals

I am a journaler. I’ve got the journal collection to prove it. Mostly they are journals of my spiritual life, with some daily rubbish musings thrown in for good measure. When I started quilting, I started doodling designs. And when I started the housetop quilt series, where I combined God’s word with my quilts, my journals overlapped. I take my daily spiritual journal to church to take sermon notes, and more often than not, there is a quilt idea in there–a verse or a new theme I can explore, or a beginning doodle design. Sometimes I have the start of an idea already in there, and it gets filled out while I listen to the sermon. Sometimes I go to a quilt seminar, and I have another journal or notebook with me, and a new idea gets started in there. That’s the trouble. I have a lot of journals. More than one going at one time. And they all have ideas in them. Oh well. As long as I can find them when inspiration hits, I guess that’s what counts.

So here’s an idea progression. I actually had to find three journals to see the evolution of this idea that I wanted to share with you.

Remember the little 7X10 quilt I did in January? I liked that quilt. So I played around with different ways to include a cross and a circle in the same quilt.

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Then, when I was at the Ricky Tims’ Quilt Seminar, I was doodling. I had done this once before, and I really liked it. The idea was to stitch different sized squares and make a feather that would just fit within the confines of that square. I was having so much fun drawing these little feathers that it was very hard for me to make the decision to put the cross-hatch designs into the drawing. Once I did, I loved it.

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Then I was at a conference called Intersection of Faith and Art. Again, a lot of lectures, so I had ANOTHER journal with me. And I drew the design with the circle behind it. I liked it!

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And then I noticed that there was a contest online. I could do this design on this hand-dyed fabric. Lovely. I’ve been working very steadily on this quilt (its 26X32.) I’m about 3/4 done, and now I don’t like it. The contest deadline looms. If there wasn’t a deadline, I would take a break and think about what needed to be done to make it better. So now I have to decide whether to abandon the contest, or to finish it as is, and enter.

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Either way, I do need to finish the quilting that I have started. Yesterday I took a break from it. I did not make one stitch on it. But today I will get back to it. Who knows? Maybe when its finished I will like it again.

Etsy!!!

I did it! I made it a goal to add my two new quilts to Etsy. The first one took forever, and was rather painful. The second one was a snap.

These two quilts were so fun to do, and really got me back on track, working consistently in the studio. Unlike what I do many times (finish a top and then put it away to “think” about it) I decided I needed to quilt these, finish the edges, AND put the words on them. In other words, COMPLETE them! What a blast. And then as I was completing them, I thought, why not challenge myself to list them on Etsy, as this seems to have been built up into a near paranoia in my mind.

Done, and done! Wow, that feels good.

The Eyes of the Lord:

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Close-ups:

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And, in The Signature of Jesus series (because a cross appeared in my ‘improvisational’ work):

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Close-ups:

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You can see them in my Etsy shop by clicking here.

Back at it!

Saturday I felt good enough (caught a cold at the end of my trip) to try to get back in the swing of spending a day in the studio. I was having trouble starting work again in my brand new space–you know, the inevitable messiness of a new project.

So I started out small, with an orphan block and a few solids I had left on the table before I left on my trip (remember, I made a little travel quilt to take with me.) And pretty soon I came up with this little composition that I really liked.

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There were still some bright solid scraps left on the table, and I was feeling pretty good about my accomplishment, so I thought I’d go ahead and make one more little quilt top. I went into my bin of solids to add a few colors, and pretty soon I noticed that I was choosing much quieter, more subdued colors. So I decided to just go with that. I wanted to make some smaller pieces. I made four, and then found a bit of a pale print to frame them, and I thought I was done.

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But the longer I looked at it, I realized it needed a little something more. So the next day I just took the scraps of the same colors and started adding them onto the sides.

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I really liked this composition too! So much so that I decided I needed to go ahead and quilt it today.

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(close-up of the quilting)

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SO! MUCH! FUN!

And best of all? Look–my sewing table is still clear, waiting for the next project!

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Maybe with the additional space I’ll actually be able to start a new habit of putting things away when I’m done with them. Well, I can dream, can’t I?

P.S. Here is a shot of the design wall in place. That dark piece is one of Ricky Tims’ hand-dyes. I have it up there auditioning for a big project I have in mind.

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