Friday, November 25, 2011

don't stop thinking about tomorrow

Now, don't get me wrong. I love my abstract landscapes "painted" with wedges of fabric. The freedom of the piecing. The controlled exuberance of the colors. The endless quests for the horizons. But--and this is the big but in this post--on my drive OUT to Evanston last August I spent some of my time as I drove past endless cornfields thinking about the new quilts I wanted to make with the very thin strips of fabric. The ones that would have even more of the pop of the sun in capturing the sky. You must remember this quilt.

The power of the thin pieces in the sun. The sophistication and intensity of that square of purples and lavenders and magentas.

The same power of detail in the eyeglass cases.

 I wanted to make whole quilts based on these colors. This effect. Can you imagine that? Indeed I had experimented last winter with a larger piece based on this concept. Days of working on a concept. Teaching myself how to do this.

Of course--sigh--as my loyal readers know--on the drive BACK from Evanston I had other things to think about. So I did what I had to do. Got the studio more or less in order. Made the eyeglass cases that I know will sell. And practiced working in the new space making quilts that had a bit of familiarity to them. Meanwhile thinking of the samples I had made that floated downstream because of Irene.

Still though--in the brief lulls, the early morning hours of the Paradise City Arts Festival last week-end I realized that I wanted to move forward. Indeed I needed to push myself more. After all, I hadn't gone through all of the hard work and emotion of re-establishing my studio just to make eyeglass cases. No matter how lovely they are. Besides I had sold my quilt mist on the ocean.

So I decided I just had to start a new quilt with the thin strips. Now I hope I will get it done before the Washington Craft Show next week-end. But even if I don't, there will be CraftBoston or the Baltimore Craft Show in February. Certainly I can show it in my new studio. Besides, I want to see what it looks like.

How tiny it looks at first. How long it takes to do the piecing. Is this the best use of my time, I worry again?  After all, I do need money to buy more fabric. I do have orders to fill. Isn't this the time to make those eyeglass cases and potholders? Now is the season to sell, after all. In January shoppers hibernate and I do need money to pay rent these days.

Still I persevere. I think of my father-in-law--now confined to a wheel chair and requiring constant assistance--he still dreams of cross-country skiing this winter. Sailing on the open ocean. Thinking about tomorrow. And yes, that song runs through my mind as I start piecing this new quilt. How slowly it grows. Each strip an effort to figure out which fabric works. How tiny the quilt looks. Fragile and tentative right now.

The new quilt may not be as large as I want--this time. I will have to juggle the smaller items with the new quilt. But it feels right and I can't wait to see what it will look like. After all, this is who I am and what I do. And I need to think about tomorrow. So I admire the progress and keep cutting and sewing.

And you--do you think about tomorrow? How do you do it? How do you balance the dreams, the vision with the reality of day to day life? And will you be in Shelburne Falls for Moonlight Magic this year? Will you get to see the new quilt? What do you think?


  1. Thank you for this post. It says so much. For me, it is really difficult to spend so much time on a new idea, only to find that it didn't work. But often, when I look back at it weeks later, there are bits that did work and deserve more exploration. Again, thank you.

  2. Love your work!

    I've tried a few quilt-as-you-go techniques with varied success. What is your favorite method for concealing the seams on the back?


  3. Thanks so much Sherri for your thoughtful insights.

    Janet--I cover the seams with a binding which I whip stitch in place. Very simple and efficient although one of my least favorite aspects of making a quilt.