Wednesday, July 22

quilting

I feel like apologizing every time I blog, because it is so long between posts. I am sorry. I am a little checked out these days, and I'm finding it hard to come up with witty and interesting posts. But I do want to share my quilting with you before it is so far in the past that it is obsolete.

So. I have always wanted to quilt. In high school, I made a few quilt squares by hand with some of my mother's scrap fabric. I like how quilts often have histories and contain objects of the past. And I love the patterns you can make with fabric, and how practical they are. So when my mother invited me to join her at Session 3 of Haystack this summer, I was immediately attracted to the Quilting as Art class. It's an interesting choice, really, since what I love about quilts is their tradition, and the point of this class is to break tradition.

We started the class by doing a bunch of creative exercises with color and line. Part of this involved us each picking an image or object that we found interesting and playing with it. My image was a dress. I placed in on my square in different ways and played with applying dress images onto different fabrics. I was also interested in exploring quilting lines and how one can draw with texture just using stitches.Throughout the two weeks, my dress evolved, until at one point I decided to make many squares using just details of the dress image, and to piece them together into a small quilt. (Unfortunately I don't seem to have a lot of photos of this process, which surprises me, frankly)

I drew out 9 details of the dress, which I thought could translate into 9 squares. I made cardboard templates and cut them out, and then I cut out fabric and made 9 squares. Except that I didn't like how all of them went together, and then I thought that 9 looked sort of measly, so I made 3 more squares. And I rearranged them and made more, and I dyed some red and yellow fabric that I thought might look good with my green and blue theme. Basically, I guess you could say that I approached it like a piece of art. But that's probably typical for this sort of thing, right?I also learned how to sew angles, which was pretty fun.

Once I had decided on my squares and sewed them together, I had to figure out a border.These are just a few of my options. I decided to go with green, with a thin brown border around that. But it's still not done.

When I realized that I wouldn't have enough time, I took a few of my cast off squares and made a mini quilt. You might also call it a rectangular pot holder, or a mini-placemat. it's really not much of anything, except an exercise. I took these two squares and made them into a quilt, so I would learn how to sew a binding on, and how to quilt it, and all of that, while I still had quilting colleagues to ask advice of. Of course, I didn't photograph this piece, and I left it in Maine...

Here is how my quilt looks now, along with some of the fabric I dyed for it. Yeah, I didn't finish it. And I left it at my parents' place in Maine, since I figure I'll finish it when I go back up there in August. But it's a start. I still have to figure out where to put my quilting lines, and then finish that border.

I feel like I have a dialog with my little quilt, and the fabric that reminds me of water and the sky at the same time. It will tell me where to put those lines.

I don't know how many more quilts I'll make. Frankly, they aren't so portable, and I find them much less tactile than knitting. But we'll see. I do have a lot of fabric that needs to be used...

3 comments:

Kristina Dimitrijevic said...

I just started to quilt too. Its surprisingly intimidating!

Hilary said...

No need to apologize -- we all get in blogging funks, and, well, we have lives to deal with, too! But I really did enjoy this post about your quilting process - fascinating to read. I would love to get into quilting, but just can't take that first leap. I also worry about the non-portability and that it would take up so much space in my small, city space. I can't wait to see your finished quilt -- it's looking really gorgeous!

t does wool said...

I am so behind Eliza...
your quilt is coming along quite nicely! don't apologize...it's going around ;)