Tuesday, November 22, 2011

a brief history of a quilt

Sometimes it is the little things that matter most in making a quilt. A few weeks ago I had in my mind's eye a quilt similar to gentle dawn. But with more of a horizon. And the sun--I wanted the sun to have just risen with the reds and oranges, the yellows and pinks streaking across the sky. A joyful dawn.

 Now those who follow my work know that I have a constant fascination with the sky, the horizon, the promise of the dawn. Just look at prairie dawn. A quilt from a few years ago.

Or prairie sky. Another piece from a couple years ago.
I wanted it similar. After all, I am still getting used to my new studio. One day at a time. One step at a time. But still I wanted to use the knowledge that I have gained since making these pieces. What can I now add? How can I say more? Some days as it is I feel like I am just treading water. It is not that I am not trying--there are so many quilts that I see just beyond my grasp. But there is only so much I can do. Besides, I love these colors and these quilts. I love working with the rich blues and purples of the sky. The reds of the sun. So why not?

Of course I begin by piecing what I know. The gradually changing colors of blues and lavenders. Pinks and yellows. How happy and cheerful on my design board. Pin up a piece of red to see what it will look like.

Not bad. But it lacks the zing of the color changes I want to add. Let's see what happens.

OK--still seems a bit stilted though, doesn't it?  Shouldn't I use more oranges?  Magentas? Where is the pop? Let me play with the colors. Cut lots of strips of fabric. Lay them out on the table.

 Better. But should I take even more risks?

Yes, that marble looking fabric does help--doesn't it? Not sure who donated it to me--but thank you so much. Amazing how much one fabric can add to the quilt. I play a bit more and piece. How does it look?

Not bad--but could it be even better. Step up the yellow a bit more.  Take more risks. I take out a few rows. Try again. Gotta love my seam ripper.

 Yes, isn't this what I want? Doesn't it sing? It always feels like such a risk to begin sewing it together.

 But yes, I like that effect. Enough yellows and golds to make it pop. Not so bright it feels garish. Now, I can't wait to show it at the Washington Craft Show December 2-4--check it out at http://craftsamericashows.com/WASH_main.htm

 What do you think?  How much do your quilts change as you play with them? How do you move forward?

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