Sunday, August 31, 2008

Major Mess or Mindful Masterpiece?

The verdict is still out, but the commitment has been made. This is either a "Wow" quilt or "What was she thinking" quilt. A major mess of threads or a mindful masterpiece inspired from masterful quilters...wishful thinking? Time will tell.

Did I mention that I've been honored to host two national longarm teachers in my studio? Last fall Sherry Rogers-Harrison and this spring Jamie Wallen....In my studio I have two little class samplers hanging - one each from their workshops. The first is a really nice little wholecloth with formal feathers that I quilted in class with Sherry (and yes, that's a second place ribbon from one of the local guild shows, thank you very much), and the other is Jamie's trademark dragonfly that he quilted while here (I just added the binding and made it a little quilt). Well, early this morning when I came into the studio to "think" before breakfast and getting ready for church I noticed these wallhangings....and that lead me down my current path.

Hum...somewhere on the computer I had a whole file full of digital photos I'd taken of each of their sample quilts...why not take them to the local one-hour photo joint and have a collection of masterpieces to look at for inspiration! Great idea! There was a corner drug store with a photo kiosk on my way to church. Perfect!

I also made the decision to be brave. Instead of matching thread is your friend why not just go wild and have thread play that will show up. Scary thought actually. I would run the risk of ruining this quilt, or worse yet, making it look like a quilt teacher's sampler instead of a real quilt. (whatever that means). It would be a chance to step outside the box. A "no turning back" journey once the commitment was made. Could I live with the end results? Was it worth the risk of disaster? or worse yet, having a quilt that wouldn't be understood at guild show and tell? It bordered on the brink of insanity...and I guess I must have woke up in an insane mood, because I have taken the plunge. Down the river of no return. I hope no regrets. But what's done is done, I don't plan on unquilting -- no matter what the mess!

I am still shaking in my boots, still unsure of the overall picture. Will it look like it was quilted by a foolish woman? Will it be unbalanced and unforgiving when it's complete? Will the quilt hate me for ruining it's life? (grin) I still don't have the answers to this as I am only two rows down in a quilt with seven rows. (sigh) I can't visualize the whole thing yet. Hum. That's not the way Sherry teaches - she's so well thought out and planned. Many quilters are that way - sketching things out first, making things just so. Jamie draws before he quilts, lots of doodles in notebooks. Somehow I missed out on these genes. Too free spirited perhaps? But I'm a fearful free spirit. How did that happen?

Up close, when working on a particular design element, it is fun. I'm enjoying the process. My husband tells me that's what I'm suppose to be doing, enjoying the process - not rushing to the end result (how did he get so wise?). It's been fun to try to mimic the examples from those photos of Sherry's & Jamie's quilts. Oh, I don't pretend that mine are anywhere near the caliber of theirs, but I'm being a good student and practicing. I've always said it's more fun to practice on a "real" quilt instead of muslin...and it just have to be willing to accept the sacrifice in case you ruin the quilt. I'm sure you are thinkin' she must either be a fool or a real risk taker (grin) to be sacrificing a quilt with such sentimental value. Ha, but here's the flaw in that thinking. It's just fabric. GASP. Yep, I'll say it again. It's just fabric.

The other day I was notified by the curator of the quilt exhibit in Galveston that they were taking down the quilt show and that I had the option of coming to get the quilt that day or allow them to put it in their safe until the scheduled pick up at a later date -- the option was provided due to the uncertainty of the current hurricane approaching the gulf...I emailed back that I felt my quilt was in good hands, one way or the other, storm or no storm...that while I valued my quilt - indeed, that quilting was my pleasure, my passion, and my chosen profession - but that it wasn't my life. If something happened to the quilt, then so be it. People are what matter to me, and of course my cute puppy Pixxie (grin). But the point is, as much as I love quilting, it's just fabric. Something I delight in, but bottom line, it is worth's just fabric. And I have lots of it (double grin).

I may need reminding of that when this quilt is finished, when the verdict is final and the end results are's just fabric. I'm having fun. I'm enjoying the process...yes, I'd like for folks to like my quilt...but if they don't...well, what's the worse of it if they don't? they can't take my birthday away from me now can they?

Here's what I accomplished so far on my day off today. It will probably be a week before I can zip it back on and play some more. Who knows which masters I may choose for the next advancement on the quilt frame...I have wonderful books and DVD's by so many talented quilters...who knows what I may decide to practice later. But for today, it's Jamie's and Sherry's class notes that I've referred to. I hope they think I've passed (grin). Despite the student, both are excellent teachers!!

1 comment:

Denise in PA said...

Karen, I think I will put that quote in my sewing room - "It's only fabric" - I think we all need to be reminded sometimes!