Monday, May 31, 2010

Processing

I hope all my friends in the US had a good Memorial Day. As I was pondering the meaning of the day it occurred to me that my family has had one or more members in a branch of the Armed Forces from the Civil War onward. If the knowlege I have is correct that is.

I didn't spend much time online over the weekend but I did see the Process Pledge button on Julie's blog and had to go check that out. After reading Rossie's post (and the ones she links to) I immediately added my name to her list and added the button to my sidebar. Since most of my posts have to do with my personal creative process anyway it didn't feel like much of a stretch for me. But I've been thinking about it and I do believe I can go deeper or share more of what goes into the creation of my quilts and things. At least, on those days when I'm not suffering from brain fog due to chemical exposure. ;- )

To that end I will tell you now that I put my scrappy Trip Around the World top away, out of sight, while I worked on the top for the BASICS Quilt Gather. As the Memorial Day sales ramped up I found myself with two fairly good size quilt tops needing backing and nothing in my stash that was quite right or anywhere near big enough. I mentioned in the previous post that I found something to use on the back of the BASICS quilt at my LQS Friday. The other top was lurking in the back of my brain though, still wanting attention.

During the course of learning about how the Process Pledge came to be I read Naptime Quilter Cheryl's post about how modern quilting isn't really so modern in her eyes. Well, it may be modern but it isn't particularly new. Anyway, her comments got me thinking again about my scrappy top.

It felt like I had to go way back to remember how and why I ever started that project. It was all about frugality and not wanting some of those prints to be lost from my sight. Mostly it was about frugality and turning something not obviously useful (scraps and bits leftover from other projects) to the casual observer into something useful if not exactly beautiful. (I seem to have this perverse obsession with making quilts that I know full well no-one will ever pin a blue ribbon on. But they'll keep a body warm!) And then I took apart that disintegrating flannel Four Patch quilt and figured I needed to have something to take its' place.

But when I had all those scrappy blocks in place I thought it looked a mess. It could be that the visual chaos of that quilt top is just more than I am comfortable with. At any rate, after having it tucked away for a couple of weeks and reconsidering the various forces that prompted me to create it in the first place I was able to look at it with fresh eyes. It now puts me in mind of some antique quilts I've seen in books and in the International Quilt Study Center's collection online. (I tried to link to specific quilt images but couldn't get the links to work. Nor could I get the pictures to upload. If you are so inclined check out the results you get when you use 'crazy' for your keyword search.) I feel better about it now. I've even decided against a border of any kind. This was never meant to be a bed cover, it's just supposed to be an extra quilt. It can live in the closet and come out when it's cold or it can live on or near the couch and be used as a throw when we're watching TV. I was putting way too much pressure on myself and on this innocent scrap quilt.

So today I went back out to look for something appropriate for the back of this quilt. I believe I found the perfect fabric in a large scale Jacobean print. It doesn't show well in the photo but the colors in the print pretty much encompass the colors that predominate in the top. I intend to split the 2.5 yard cut down the middle and insert a pieced panel of some of my other favorite prints that have been around too long. I expect to bind it in something dark but will leave a more precise choice for later.

There's actually a sense of relief that I have finally figured out a way to use at least some of those older prints in a quilt we'll keep around the house. A lot of them are novelty prints that I thought would be the focal point of a quilt someday. I have come to the conclusion that that day isn't coming for many of those prints. I still want to keep them around though, as a sort of souvenir of times past, like items that would get pasted in a scrapbook. I'm already toying with names like "Scrappy Trip Through Time" for this quilt.

3 comments:

Britty Willard said...

Hi! I searched your name on yahoo after reading your article in the Ensign. I just wanted you to know that you are very inspiring and that I will keep you in my prayers!
Love,
Sister Willard
Missouri, USA

Quiltdivajulie said...

Lovely, thoughtful post ... one I can totally relate to (i.e., putting too much pressure on myself and on any given quilt).

Love that jacobean backing fabric, too!

Plays with Needles said...

I love scrappy quilts for exactly the reason that I got all excited when I saw your quilt here today. I love how you can combine little bits of all kinds of fabrics to make something so alive and wonderful. And I think the backing fabric is great too! Good choices all around. Maybe some day I'll make one...