My life as a quiltmaker (for chronological order, read oldest post to newest)

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

52. Baby quilts

I began this account of my working life with one baby quilt, and I'll end with two. Now there's progress for you!

Here are the two quilts I made for my two incredibly precious granddaughters, cousins born just four months apart. Now there's togetherness for you!

I carved linoleum blocks with flower and leaf motifs and used them with fabric paints to stamp the central design of the quilts. There is a stray flower on the "June" quilt, where I accidentally dropped one of the inked blocks. Now there's a mistake for you!

I 've told the stories I needed to tell of my quilting life from then to now. How do I wrap it all up? No need to summarize--enough said. Now, at long last, there's brevity for you!

Saturday, January 30, 2010

51. ForestTree

The simple act of sewing pieces of fabric together has yielded many complicated projects--and also many moments when the effort/result equation just doesn't seem to balance and I know I can't sustain the attention required to finish. Throwing away such labor-intensive samples is too painful, so I live with the stored scrap piles that result. Flotsam and jetsam from at least three of those projects unite here in ForestTree.

I had been pulling out some old bits and pieces to make a few pillows for a quick sale, when three separate "false starts" just fell serendipitously near each other onto my floor, and I saw how the gray strips, green curvy triangles, and pieced leaves from long-forgotten projects could work together. The act of beginning to work had offered up a quick and satisfying solution to a problem I didn't know I had been considering (after only hours and hours of failed efforts on the original components, but who's counting?).

The edge treatment was unusual for me: I left the lower edge uneven and unfinished, following the forms of the "trees," the white batting defining the bottom edge of the piece. That's what felt right, and it was satisfying to create something that had a feeling of rightness about it. When all is said and done, that's what I'd like to continue to do. Seems simple enough, but it is just as difficult as it has ever been. The distractions of life pile up. There's a planet to save. People to care for. Rejections to withstand. The occasional success. Physical limitations. When I began to write these blog entries, I said that I'd arrived at a sweet spot. Now I'd revise that to "bittersweet"; all this revisiting of my past work has unearthed a complicated feeling of nostalgia, which encompasses loss as well as gain. I used to think about things and then do them. Now I think about things, do them, and then think about having done them. I am less sure about the results, but more content to trust the process. My own edges are unfinished, occasionally threatening to unravel. There's much more chance and much less control in life than I'd like sometimes, but there is that feeling of rightness to keep me going.