Monday, November 26, 2007

Cleaning and finding

Slowly I have been going thru the items in my sewing room. (Cleaning it out for a remodeling that will take less time to do then the cleaning out.) I have been quilting since 1984 and because of needing samples for teaching and taking "how to do something" classes I have many UFO's. I know that UFO's are not unusual for quilters, but I have them in boxes, plastic containers and bags. Today I found pieces from Primative Patchwork class taught by Ricky Tims when AQS first started their show in Nashville. I must finish some of these things.

Much of what I found were my own designs that I made in multiple color ways to use in classes. I would complete one top or quilt and then have another quilt or two started to show how to sew parts of the quilt together. I could not begin to guess how many flying geese I have made in various sizes, colors and methods in different steps. Some of them have "homes" to fit into particular quilts or wallhangings, but many are just sitting there with no matching blocks. I think a utility quilt may need to be created of all the blocks that don't go with anything. It will take some creating, because I have blocks of all different sizes and styles....and oh the colors changed as often as my moods changed.

Some people only work in one or two color pallets, but since I also teach color classes I would push myself to try color combinations that were out of my comfort level. I learned that there are colors other then blue and blue and blue. Actually blue is not a color I work with easily. I would much rather work with pinks, purples and yellows then add the brown, rusts and reds working my way down to blue. I can put green in most any combination, but it must be the right green for the project. Then when I have used blue in the past it was more of a variation away from the true blue. Believe it or not I can use orange easier then blue.

I am now working with blues due to Patti's traditional batiks (
Many of what she has are very pretty blues that go well with one another. I sometimes look in awe at what others have made with the blues and wonder why I have such a difficult time visualizing what something will look like made with the different blues. So again I am pushing myself to a new level. Samples need to be made for Spring shows and now is the time to start. Actually some should have been finished for the Fall shows, but some supplies didn't arrive and some fabrics needed coordinates that "were on the way".

I look at each time new fabrics come out, which is at least twice a year, but some manufactures are putting out mini lines four times each year, it is a challenge to use the new designs and colors. This is especially true if only one or two pieces is in your collection from the manufactures design lines. Then the challenge is to coordinate that "must have" fabric with what you have in your stash or you must buy something to make your new piece look good.

I like to look at older quilts to see how colors were used. Many times there was no rhyme nor reason as to why piece one was put next to piece two. Sometimes they blend so well, but other times it seems like the aging process is a blessing to the over all look of the piece.

Then I start thinking about the makers. Sometimes I think one block may be made from pieces of clothing from a child that may have died at an early age. This block to us my look like a hog pog of color, patterns and textures, but be a very special block to the maker.

Today if two or three friends attend the same quilt show each will remember different quilts. Sometimes it is because of a particular pattern used to make the quilt. Other quilts are remembered because of color combinations or special decorations. I know at the shows I have attended recently some quilts are not really pretty until the quilting is added. All of the dimensions and contours are created due to the quilting, quilting threads and have very little to do with particular fabric choices.

My particular passion when attending quilt shows is first applique, then color. Looking in the booths of vendors at Quilt Festival in Houston I noticed I was attracted to two things. One being bright vivid, but unusual color combinations and then primative pieces. Now can anything be farther from each other then that? I love the African, Australian and the Batiks, but I also love the wools and things made to blend well together in muted tones. Maybe it would be easier if I just like one blue!

1 comment:

Joseph said...

Oh my! I can sure understand the plethora of blocks and partial quilts left over from teaching quilting classes!!! I have tons of those in my sewing studio, too! Add to them tons of finished and half-finished overdyeds, hand-painteds, rusted, earth-dyed, and various other experimental dyeing methods ranging from fat quarters to yards and beyond left over from dyeing/fabric painting classes. We won't even BEGIN to talk about the textured fabrics and so on....! Whew!! I don't envy your task! I recently did the same thing...and will be doing it again in the spring when I finish building my new studio out back!!