He is risen!
Someone asked me to explain my process for choosing fabrics for a new project, so I thought I’d document my process here. Maybe it will cement it in my own mind : )
This new project is an offshoot of the sketch that I drew for my quilt kit. I liked the way the drawing looked, and I started thinking about making the double wedding ring with a single pattern piece, instead of using the two inch blocks for the pattern. In talking it over with my friend, she suggested the idea of doing the kantha stitching in the pattern (I keep saying pattern because that piece is not an oval, and I don’t want to call it a football!)
Right now only about half of my stash is in the studio, and only about a tenth of it is readily visible. And yet, I found inspiration in those few pieces! I started out with these two pieces that I had bought recently. I do love the color and the patterns on these.
And then I started trying to find fabrics that would go with them. I was looking for a “color wash” effect. Nope, one’s too bright, and one’s too dark. That pale one might work, and for sure I like the gray/blue paisley.
My solid fabrics were in the house, so I tried those next. Nope, too solid. I wanted patterned fabric. But not TOO patterned : )
Trying more solids. Nope. Give it up. You’re going to have to take a trip out to the storage shed.
Oh, but before I go out there, I auditioned the contrast colors that I had spied in the studio–oh yeah, those are going to work great!
Trying out more mostly solids in that red/magenta/coral/orange color way. These pieces could be solid colors, because they would have the kantha stitching on them, and I don’t want too much pattern to distract from the stitching.
Alright, out to the storage shed, where I picked through my blue and red/orange/pink tubs to see what I could find.
I found quite a bit!
And then narrowed my choices down, and laid them out neatly so I could keep walking by and looking at them.
Sometimes I am stubborn, and leave in a fabric that I love, even though it seems to stick out (like that dark bright blue in the middle front.) Sometimes those fabrics surprise you, and they do work. But lots of times I am finally forced to eliminate them.
And that’s how I choose the fabrics for a project. Most of the time I do not use all the fabrics that I have chosen, and most of the time I need to go to my stash for another color or pattern. Many times this is the fabric that I need to make the quilt “pop.”
Choosing the fabrics is probably my favorite part of the process.
Have I talked about this before? I really like pre-cutting all the pieces for a quilt and making my own little “quilt kit.” The first time I did this was before I had my carpal tunnel surgery. I knew I was going to want to sew, and I figured if the pieces were already pre-cut, I could probably manage to sew them together. It worked great! Here is a link to all the work I have done with my “zig zag double wedding ring.” I really love sewing the squares on this way.
I had been thinking about doing another of these double wedding ring quilts, and then I bought a charm pack. They are a nice way to start the collection for a quilt. Then of course you have to go through your stash to try to find enough fabrics that will go with that charm pack. I thought I would try making the backgrounds deeper colors of the pastels that were in the charm pack. And then I had the idea to add a big print to the quilt. So I decided I’d better check it out before I cut out all those little squares. Here’s the drawing I did. I liked it!
So the next day I got busy cutting out little squares and big squares. Before I cut all of them out, I did do a test block to make sure I had the right amount of little squares to make each oval.
And here is my quilt kit, all ready to go. It was the perfect thing to have on hand as there was more renovation going on this past week. I didn’t have a lot of time to sew and no time to think, so in my spare minutes I could just go out and zig zag a few little squares to one block.
For the first time, I have enough room to host my little group of sewing ladies! We meet together once a month to sew and chat. With the living room renovation, and the studio added on, there is enough room for all of us to fit into my house and have room to sew.
I decorated the walls last week:
The wall by the sewing machine. The empty frame is a bulletin board for inspirational thoughts or pics.
The wall by my comfy chair:
And one of my favorite quilts, by the back door:
And this afternoon, I put most of the stuff away (SO GLAD I have a closet in this room!) So this is as clean as this room is probably going to get. All ready for the good times tomorrow!
Oh, and this morning I put together my “big board” ironing board. So excited to have this. I have a little pull-out ironing board that I use for piecing, but this will be great to use when I am making my quilt sandwich, or just needing to iron larger pieces of fabric. You can see that I made it to fit on top of the little desk, so the desk can do double duty as a cutting and design table or an ironing board.
My contractor was nice enough to pick up some plywood and cut it to fit. I made it only about 1 inch bigger around than the desk. Its 3/8″ plywood, so it is not too heavy or awkward to carry. I covered it with 4 layers of batting and stapled those in place, and then I laid it on the top layer of cotton fabric, and stapled that in place.
I am so blessed to have this new room that is dedicated to my art. It is a peaceful place to work.
This post could be subtitled “The Extreme Value of Having a Mentor.” I have spoken frequently of my love for the work of Marianne Burr. I have mentioned occasionally that she has been a real mentor to me.
After my last post, here is what happened next. Marianne Burr sent me an email offering her ideas to fix the little quilt, but only if I wanted it. Did I want her help??? What followed were a series of emails that ended with me actually cutting off a bit from two sides of the quilt to take the cross out of the very center of the quilt. And I added a second “circle” of hand-stitching to echo the one circle. I used a contrasting fabric for the binding. There are some other ideas that Marianne (and also Loretta, in the comments) added, and I might eventually add even more to this little quilt, but with Marianne’s encouragement, I did as much as I could before the deadline, and then actually entered it in that competition. I have no illusions that it will win, but the whole process of continuing on, re-evaluating, and refining a piece of work was extremely valuable for me.
Here is the quilt, with the changes made:
And a close-up:
Do you have a mentor?