Wednesday, March 10, 2010

endless fields--the quilt that took on a life of its own

OK--the question is have you ever had a quilt that has taken on a life of its own? It refuses to wait its turn but demands that you make it right now.

Let me set the stage. First you need to know that I am fortunate enough to be doing the Smithsonian Craft Show this April 21-25.  This should probably be in all caps with exclamation points since this is not just a craft show, it may be THE craft show. It is incredibly hard to get it. Set in the National Building Museum in Washington, DC--an absolutely spectacular location with tall pillars, a gorgeous carpet and lots of history. Some of the very very best craft artists in the country are in this show with work so fine it takes my breath away every time I see it. The finest porcelain. Paper cutting so delicate it seems woven. I could go on--but check out the website for yourself:

As a friend of mine says you want to show your most stupendous pieces there.

And to make matters harder, I sold the quilt I had been using at the back of my booth in Baltimore. Not that I'm complaining--trust me, I'm not. But still--I need to make a new piece and I need to do it soon. There is no room for mistakes or error.

Obviously prairie sky is a great quilt that few have seen--you may remember it from my most recent blog.

I figured I already know lots of the secrets of this quilt, it would look great in my booth. A no-brainer. So, I buy all sorts of wonderful blues, purples, teals. Lots of stars. I am all set. I just need to pack and ship one small order and then I can start. Right?

Wrong!! Because of course on the drive back from shipping the order, was my mind thinking about prairie sky and how I could start making it? No, of course not. I kept thinking about the new quilt--endless fields--which I have never made before--I have never even made a quilt like this before. Each piece has to be significantly different from its neighbors--while still also being related to it. There are more than a dozen colors all with their own color progression. Design questions that I can't begin to know the solution for just yet.

Sure there are parts that I know. This is a quilt I have been pondering for years.

For instance "rivers of autumn" has great diagonal stretches of color. A good sketch for this quilt.

And the fields in "red barn, blue silos" though these are not the colors I have in mind. And I certainly don't want a barn or even the sky. Just fields this time.

And a couple of great great grand quilts--I guess you might call them--so old that they don't have digital images. But I am hoping I can remember bits and pieces of them as I work.

So why does "endless fields have to be made now? Am I a fool not to just tell this quilt "No, not now."
Has this ever happened to you?


  1. Oh, Yes! I know this well! You have to do something, but it is not the piece that you WANT to do... Why make the same piece twice? or in the prarie field case, three times? Each would be different, of course, but unless you really REALLY want to make it again, why not listen to the muse and follow the inspiration? It is always a difficult choice, because you are making these to sell and you know your clients... Hey, why not do BOTH? Is there time???

  2. Time--the problem for all quilt makers--we should all live in a universe with extra hours in the day.