Thursday, December 27, 2012

Don't Squash that Creativity!

Don’t squash that creativity!

I remember in the 8th grade my art teacher told me to never go for a job that had anything to do with drawing because I was pretty bad at it.  WOW! What a thing for a teacher to say to a 13 year old.
I was heartbroken.  I had been drawing since I could pick up a pencil.  I remember drawing scenes of horses running in the wind.  I would draw lovely ladies in elegant dresses and I would design floor plans for my dream house.  I don’t remember doodling, but I did draw all the time.

I did not pursue any art classes in school after that.  She was a teacher!  She must have been right…

Flash forward to my early 20’s and I still drew.  I was obsessed.  My sister signed me up for art classes at a local college because of my unhappiness at not being able to satisfy what I was trying to achieve.  One thing I learned in the college level art class was how to finish something.

I have had a life lesson of art.  It isn’t how well you can draw; it is what you do with your God given talent.
Quilting is just one more art class in my life.  There is so much more to creativity than just being an artist.  I was asked once why I was making one more afghan.  Why did I need to make it?  I need only  one to keep warm.  That person was a stifler.  She managed to make me feel like my 8th grade art teacher had made me feel and I fell for her negative remark.  I moved on to another art form.

Today as a quilter, if that stifler were to mention that I only need one quilt to keep warm, I would laugh at her.  I don’t “need” any of the quilts I make.  What I need is a way to express myself.  Quilting is my expression.

I make quilts for the love of it.  For the love I feel when I give them to someone and for the sheer joy of creating.  If something so simple can please me and make me feel this good, it’s too bad I don’t know how to put it in a bottle and sell it.  I would be rich in more than just joy.

Friday, December 14, 2012

Scrap Management

Scrap Management

One of the magic moments of quilting is realizing that any fabric plays well with another as long as something ties it all together.

I spent at least 18 months convincing myself of this very fact.  

Finding fabrics that work well together when I did not purchase fabrics for something specific has always been the bane of my creative existence.  I have bought tons of fabric in my lifetime and I have made most of my choices solely on the way the fabric looks.  I like the color, or I like the texture.  I rarely look at the pattern, what I am after is a color value.  Many times my foray into a fabric store was to purchase a color that was missing from what I had in my cupboard.  I seem to use up some colors faster than others.  I wonder why!

My love affair with fabric is a mystery to me sometimes and I worry that I have gotten in over my head.  When I want to start a new project I usually find a block I like and then I sit down with my EQ7 program and design a quilt top so I can do the math and know how much fabric I need.  Since scrap quilts are my favorite, I want to know ahead of time how many fabrics to pull.  If there is a focus fabric I have it on the table to see if what I pull works with it.  If I don’t have a focus fabric, I make sure the quilt I am designing will have sashing or a border I can use to tie all the scrappy fabrics together.

There always seems to be something left over so I will cut it smaller and put it in a box to use in another project.  As the pieces become smaller they still have usefulness, I just have to be more creative!

Trying to use it up becomes scrap management and I like to design projects that the little pieces can star in.

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Newest Quilt in a Box

Quilt in a Box continues...

On a recent Monday night at Pattie's house I was perusing her stack of quilt magazines that is always handy and I fell in love with a quilt. In the issue of America Loves Scrap Quilts Spring 2008 was a A Pathway to Nowhere calling my name. 

It isn't like I don't already have enough projects in boxes to do, but I fell head over heels and knew immediately what fabric I would use.

I pulled out the stack of plain fabric I have been gathering for several years and found through my calculations I needed 120 blocks and I had just enough plain fabrics to use each one 3 times for a complete quilt top.

This quilt isn't quite a "no waste" one, but the left over strip for the color is just over 16" and will go into a box for another Scrappy Trip Around the World which I have done before from Bonnie Hunter's website and one I want to do again, as I gave the first one away.  (The first one is actually pictured on Bonnie's page for the directions for that quilt, what an honor that is!) 

I cut my strips and neatly stacked them in the box.

The wonderful part was I needed a new leader/ender project and the little black and white 4 patches are perfect for that. Between blocks of scrappy strips I am making the 4 patches for this little lovely. 

I just had to assemble one block to see what it would look like. For the rest of the quilt, I will keep you posted on my progress!