Friday, February 28, 2014

Making it my own

Recently I have been thinking a lot about how I can take a technique and make it work for my quilts. Oh sure, I know there are those who try a method once and then move on to another style. It may be fun for them, but for me I want to know what it is I can do with it--what are the limits--how can I get it to say what I want it to say. I need to know it and play with it until it becomes  almost second nature to me.

Now those who have been following me know I have been resisting quilting on top of my work for years. Oh, sure I occasionally try it just to see what it will look like. And in the past, I have rejected it since it seems to confine the wonderful prints that I use in ways that I don't like.

But I have known even when I made winter light with my new straight lines, that there was something missing. How though to add it without feeling like I was just adding it to be in with the in crowd if you know what I mean.

winter light--quilt--Ann Brauer

This was even more true for dreaming the rainbow. Now I love this quilt. And I am pleased to say it has a happy home. There were others at the show who also loved the many fabrics that I used to create the white on white canvas. But still it seemed to need more and indeed I had dreamed of adding quilting to the white part but just did not visualize it.

dreaming the rainbow--quilt--Ann Brauer

Until that is--the Baltimore show. I was kitty-corner from Erin Wilson's work. Her new quilts have a minimalist quilting stitch that works so perfectly for their design. Not what I was looking for but it got my mind to thinking. You can check out her web site here: As did Lisa Call's quilts which are now using the quilting stitch as a brush stroke--exquisite.  Her website is No I did not take pictures. I did not want to get too close to their technique. Just wanted to absorb the essence and see if that gave me clues to the question whether I can add machine quilting on top of my quilts and have it add to the quilt not just seem extraneous.

And then I decided I just had to try. I dug out a table runner I had started a couple years ago when I was trying to learn my straight lines and decided I could play with that. If I wrecked it, I would not be unhappy. Not bad, is it? And not as agonizing as I thought it might be. I love the substance it gives, don't you?

table runner--12x39"--Ann Brauer

detail of table runner--Ann Brauer

Time to try another. What happens if I switch the black lines to green? Will it still work? Will practice make the quilting straighter?  How do you get to Carnegie Hall? I choose a few fabrics and cut them out. Make a design that worked the first time. Sometimes I have to make things several times just to figure them out.

table runner--green stripes--Ann Brauer

Yes, that works too. Maybe not as well as the first one--but not bad. So now my mind starts to race. What else can I do? What fabrics can I use? I think of a design. Colors I want to try and cut it out.

Hmm. May not have been the best choice. What happens when I quilt it?

mauve--table runner--Ann Brauer

Slightly better. Certainly there are possibilities here--though some of the fabrics had too much design and the red should have been more consistent. Sometimes I just reach too far. Live and learn.  Isn't this part of making a technique your own? One more try. I have been dreaming of yellows. So again, what happens if...

A little too bold and ordinary without the quilting, isn't it? But still I am curious.

table runner--gold--Ann Brauer

Yes, it does seem to be making more of a statement. The lines are getting straighter. The fabric selection is getting better. Now to finish it and then re-examine the process. Will it work where I want it do? Probably make a couple more as I think about a larger piece. See what happens. I know I will take a couple of them to the Paradise City Arts Festival. Get a reaction. For more info on the Paradise Show: You can even get $2 off your admission if you go to this site.

What do you think? Are the table runners too simple? Can I use this for a larger quilt? And what hints do you have for making a technique yours?

1 comment:

  1. Hi, I just found your lovely work recently via pinterest. Thank you for sharing how your new technique is evolving in this blog. I am a novice quilter and noticed your comment that you don't quilt the front of your designs. I just wondered how you keep the layers together, particularly on your larger quilts....?