Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Pick Your One Favorite Quilt, Art Quilt, Piece of Art...

"If asked to pick your one 
favorite piece from everything you've 
ever done, what would it be, and why?"

I asked myself this question. I've been asking lots of tough questions in my quest for balance, but this one was easy. Hands down, the piece above was my all time favorite. 

This all came about as I debated about entering a show in which I would have to offer the piece for sale. A few days of careful thinking, and I decided it was one piece I would not part with. And that led me to consider some new ideas.

1. Why did I love it?
2. Why hadn't I finished it?
3. Why wasn't I making more things like it?

1. Why the passion for this rough piece? Because it's old, new, hand dyed, stitched, and has meaning. It's a log cabin variation--one of my favorite blocks. It was moderately planned, but more so evolved creatively with a rotary cutter late one night. The piecing was organic as was the quilting. The feed sack fabric belonged to my grandmother, and maybe the generation before her. I am deeply connected with it over and over.

2. It wasn't finished because I didn't want to screw it up. 

You see, it's fairly crooked/irregular, and I didn't want to put binding on it, but had never seen a piece just 'hanging together'. In other words, I was trying to follow someone else's rule. (I know. There are no Quilt Police!) So, I bit the bullet. I trimmed the batting to where I liked it, frayed one edge, and made a hanging sleeve. That was the point I saw I could use more stitching at the top, and I brought it home to add more stitches. It's not done, but it's well on its way to hanging on my wall.

The BIG Question!

3. Well, why wasn't I making more things like it? Excellent question! Probably because it doesn't conform, and a part of me understands that's a consideration in the quilting bloggers' world. Sometimes I wonder if there's ever anything new under the sun out here, and behind the scenes we bloggers talk about that. Just so you know. People visit a blog because they want to be inspired and see great ideas, but how far from normal is still okay? What if you push the limit, and your readers hate it? If you take the risk and flop, you own the flop! 

I've spent the last year or so doing more mainstream quilting, and it's been okay. But down deep I feel like much of it has been busy work, and busy work isn't meaningful work. If something is difficult and stretches me to learn--i.e. "I feel I could really screw this up"--I love it! If it's a repeat, well, it's ho hum. But it's summer, and I feel like I want to run barefoot and take risks. It's time for me to get back to significant work, and care less about what happens. It makes me smile as I write this.

This Past Weekend Was a 
Glorious Time to Dye!

Out came the dyes. The music was loud, and I felt whole! It was as if I had reconnected with an old friend. 8.5 yards above dyed in Oxblood, Amethyst, Coral, Blueberry, etc. (Don't you love the names of the colors?) I tested new fabrics I hadn't dyed before, and kept detailed records and notes. Timing, temperature, and measurements are all important if you want the same results next time around.

This fabric was a winner in my book.

Dyeing is messy as well as exciting. 

My bathroom doubles as a dye room. 
Not glamorous, but super functional.

10 more half yard pieces--

--and 10 more scheduled for tonight. Life has been full of sick kids, flat tires, and days that belong to someone else. But I feel like I'm back on track finally, and writing the story that I want to live. 

If I asked you to pick your favorite, and tell why it's so special, could you? I'd love to hear, and know others would too. I think our answers would be enlightening as to why we all find the process of quilting so fascinating. 

Come on, Doxie girls.
Tell us about your own favorite.

Linking up with~
Off the Wall Friday
Crazy Mom Quilts


Unknown said...

All the dyed yardage is lovely beyond lovely!! I feel like I see texture in some....did you dye print pieces? The brown looks so warm -- like soft suede, or very fine leather. In the early pictures - where you have 3 laid out horizontally - the depth of color is so rich. I love the magenta and the red - almost a deep salmon? They are all great! I am excited to think what you will create with these pieces.

Linda Swanekamp said...

My favorites are the small landscapes I made. They don't fit a fine art slot (gallery) or a regular quilt. I have been longing to make big ones like Ruth McDowell. I took a class from her designated heir of teaching, Ann Shaw, and learned how to use freezer paper to put it together. I am not a fusible person. So why has it been almost 2 years since I made one? Fear of getting so far and flopping. My other favorites are the surprise quilts- One block Wonder and kaleidoscope- you are out on a limb for a long time before you see what happens.
I think I have a core of quilt bloggers that always support me and encourage me. I don't enter shows, so it doesn't matter what people say. I just need something to get me over the hump. I need to get out of what is in my head out into my fingers. I know where I want to go, but am paralyzed to start.

Julie said...

I think not knowing how to categorize mine was what started my own questioning. Interesting. And I also am a Ruth McDowell technique fan, with two of her books currently laying on my desk.

I have never entered a show either for judging or display, but felt that was something that was mentally holding me up. When I committed to doing just one, I saw how it was actually inspiring me to think about others. Now I'm tentatively looking at two this summer. One hump I feel yet is making a piece specifically for a show as people do. That seems to bring on a lot of pressure if it doesn't work. Creating good work in general of my own choosing, and then selecting from that work to enter seems a better chain of events. So creating a body of work, and not giving everything away is one of my current goals.

Also, Linda, do you journal? Do you commit your ideas to paper, and work them out there before you start? I find sometimes working the whole way through a new project step by step on paper helps me think about where I will hit a snag before I ever start. Yes, that has sidelined a few projects altogether, but saved me the time and grief of an expensive flop in terms of fabric and time.

I just love your wording of "Out of my head...into my fingers!" I feel that, too! It's time to start something while you're aware what's happening! We can do this!

Stitchin At Home said...

I'm happiest making landscapes, love the challenge of taking an idea or image and making it in fabric. Like the mini I made for Sandra. Oh heck I like challenges whether it's a new design I'm working through or a technique. Do I have a favourite piece when I started really thinking about it I have to say not really as I keep evolving as an artist and quilter. Is there a piece I wouldn't part with I would say at this time it is my Canada quilt I made for Canada'a 150th as a BOM for my guild and now sell the pattern on Craftsy.

Danice G said...

Beautiful dyed fabrics. You did an excellent job on them. Reminds me of something a teacher told me while I was an undergrad. A friend called for her and asked where she had been lately, and her husband answered. She had been busy a few days dyeing fabric, so her husband innocently told the caller that she "dyed last night". The caller, not being artsy, thought he meant "died"! Talk about misunderstanding, lol.

Lisa J. said...

I absolutely love this piece. I love it's wonkiness, the colour combo is my favourite and I love the hand quilting.

audrey said...

Your favorite piece is very inspiring! Love it for so many reasons. I think my favorite quilt is one most people don't 'get'. I made it mostly from the scrap bin and orphan blocks, really pushed myself to develop a mood. It's quirky, dark, almost primitive looking and yet there's a modern feel to it as well that seems to reflect my quilting journey in totality. It felt like a celebration of my growth as a quilter!

Julie said...

Audrey, it sounds like you have stitched lots your own perspective into this piece. I like how you describe it, and how you feel it reflects your path. Was your path dark and quirky, or did you dabble in improv, scraps, and vintage fabrics? I wonder how many of us associate things in our lives or how we felt while a quilt was in process? I imagine a lot. A bit of a tangent, but I remember looking at my old maternity clothes could be enough to make me nauseous! No lie. Some quilts probably have better memories than others, too.

It seems I hear you saying this is a special quilt in many ways, but mostly because it's so personal. A celebration of your journey through the quilt world must be a very good thing in your life, and I feel blessed to be a part of it. Thank you for sharing, and cheers to more special quilts in our lives.

Kate said...

Love your died fabrics. All of them are so vivid. Looking forward to seeing them show up in the next project. I'd be hard pressed to pick just one favorite. I learned something with each quilt I've made. In some ways, the last one finished is always the favorite.

jan said...

The vintage quilt is wonderful, love the irregular shapes. And your died fabrics are beautiful.

Rebecca Grace said...

Hi, Julie. I can see why you wouldn't want to part with that blue and white piece. It's irreplaceable! Very cool, too -- I love the hand stitching and I think the raw edges add something profound, like the edges of a distant memory beginning to unravel. I don't have anything like that, not that I've made, but I do have a cache of embroidered handkerchiefs that used to belong to my favorite grandmother. I haven't decided what to do with them yet, but I know that would be something I wouldn't part with. As far as my favorite thing that I've made? Well, at the moment I'm really digging my pineapple log cabin quilt. Unfortunately most of my favorite ideas are still trapped in my head rather than released through fabric!