I made my New Year's Resolutions way back in the fall of 2012. I have made major progress in accomplishing the things on my list. The gist of my theme for the year is to try different methods of working, rather than just my own methods. The first one, that I am showing you here, today, has to do with quilting. I set one of my goals to be going back to basics. I am taking a Quilting 101 class. I drive an hour and a half for 3 lessons over a period of three months. How hard could it be?
How hard could it be???
Let me tell you, this quilting thing is about to break me.
The class uses a good book ... I am more than a little embarrassed to admit that when they sent us our class supply list, I went on Amazon to get the book and realized "Oops!" I already have that book in my stash.
The class is doing a quilt called Small Plates. Why it is called small plates - I have no idea. There is not a plate in sight! Maybe "plate" refers to temPLATES. ??? I don't know. The point is, when I finally cracked the book open, I was more than a bit miffed and unmoved by the quilt in the photo. If it wasn't on my New Year's Resolution list, and I hadn't already passed my credit card # and pressed send, I swear, I probably would have bagged the whole concept. I took one look at the photo and yawned. But it is about going back to basics and learning someone else's method, so I persevered.
I made a quick sketch with two colors of fabric from my stash, and figured the rest of the blocks would have to come from digging even deeper into my stash. Buying more fabric, at this moment was out of the question.
I gathered my fabrics. I have a lot of batiks from all the lampshade stuff I do, so that is what I am using.
I went off to my class, whipping along, headed south, my back right tire, almost free wheeling in the air as I swurved and hugged the cliff edges. I was on a mission. And then ... and then, ladies, I HIT THE WALL. What was I thinking? Quilting is for perfectionists! Quilting is for people with some semblance of math skills! Holy Toledo, Batman... I was out of my league.
They sent me home with my newly aquired ruler skills to cut and put together EIGHTY blocks. I almost choked at the number.
I, obviously, am not that skilled, so the name of the game has been "Trim, Trim, Trim".
And now my blocks are put together and square, all be it - a tad smaller than they are supposed to be. What a relief it was to get to this point.
I needed to put my blocks out and see what I had. Unfortunately my studio is EXPLODING with other projects at the moment, I have several canvases in various stages of, well, "yuck" at the moment, a few panels with charcoal drawings, a special project I don't want to tell you about yet, and Maggie is donning on more than one outfit that I am working on. The studio is a mess. I couldn't squeeze in a quilt even if I wanted to. So I have spilled out into the family room. The one bare wall has now been claimed as an official extension of my studio. (yay!)
I leaned two panels of 4'x8' insulation that I got at Home Depot against that nice, bare, clean, white wall. I covered both panels in white felt,which I pinned to the back by using my plain sewing pins. The fabric blocks stick quite nicely to the felt without pins, making it easier for me to put blocks in place and then rearrange them at will. I also like the fact that I could pin my sketch right to the board for reference.
I put them up, then, one by one ... a ridiculously long process, I stitched them all together. I had a trying time being that precise for such a long time. I am happy with the quilt top, though.
I must add, here, that picking out the colors was super fun and felt really creative. After that it was ALL WORK. You quilters out there should have warned me. The next two classes don't have me jumping for joy either - I make a "quilt sandwich" ... yoohoo! and then, AND THEN, I still have to quilt it. I don't know ladies. I don't think quilting is for me.
I did like picking out the colors, though. A part of me is thinking about playing hookie and skipping the rest of the classes... maybe I could just glue this quilt top onto a canvas and go from there.
From great madness, comes great possibilities.