I’ve missed chatting with you, but I’m not going to list excuses. We all have them, and – I hope – you’re here to share what I’ve been doing in the studio. One side note – my husband and I spent the month of April in Australia visiting family and touring. Will the beauty – and friendliness – of this country influence my work? That is yet to be seen.
In the meantime there’s activity in my “Sticks” series. As I mentioned, this series originated from a Nancy Crow workshop in 2011. In the 2012 workshop I did Nancy’s new exercises but continued in the same series. The result is three new Sticks.
The quilt tops I do in workshops are never finished products – far from it! They are learning tools that sometimes – in this case, two out of three – become new works. Two of the exercises I brought home, took apart, inserted new colors and reconfigured before I was satisfied with them. Here are the results, as yet unnamed. Suggestions are welcome.
So what happened to the third sticks exercise? I chose to work with smaller shapes – or perhaps that was the assignment, I don’t recall. I also decided to work in a relatively neutral palate. Why do I challenge myself and, after much frustration, come out with zilch? Do you ever do that?
I cut hundreds of 3-inch squares in neutrals, slashed them diagonally, inserted a neutral strip in the middle and sewed them together. Here are the stacks: When I started putting them up on the wall, I started arranging the squares, which after piecing were irregular rectangles. I put them together as light, medium and dark in an all-over pattern resembling chopsticks. Aha! A name – Chop-ed Sticks.
Then I started to sew them together. Ack! The squares – cut and pieced improvisationally – looked good on the wall, but sewing them together was awful. The edges didn’t match; none of them were the same size. I know how to fix that in larger pieces, but these were so small it became frustrating. I decided the only way was to trim the blocks to a common size – 2 ½ inches wide by 3 inches tall.
When I put them up on the wall, they fit easily together, but something was definitely wrong. They were too structured! They weren’t “me!” I took them all down, put them in a bag and relegated them to the UFO basket. I didn’t have a pity party, Jeanette, but I did eat chocolate.
When we fail, it isn’t satisfying. But when we fail, we often learn a lesson about ourselves. I like to work with larger pieces of fabric. I don’t like to work in “blocks.” I like to work improvisationally. I don’t like to match my points and have everything even. Did I know this before? Of course! Every once in awhile I just have to prove it to myself … again. Here’s to more successes and fewer failures … for all of us!