Quilt Retreat Day Six


Another Day

Gosh the time goes so fast! I can’t believe I’m ready to start my sixth day at my LCITW (little cabin in the woods). We had storms forecast for our area again last night. They predicted two waves. One was to occur somewhere between 10:00-11:00 pm and the second was due to roll-in around 2:30-3:00 am. Storms make Sadie, my five year old Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, very nervous. She has anti-anxiety meds that I can give her to help calm her down. I knew the medication would really help her out but wouldn’t last long enough for both rounds. To help minimize her stress I chose to stay up and work on projects until the first set of storms had rolled on by. Sadie kept a close eye on me as I moved from my sewing machine to ironing board to cutting table and back again.

Progress Is Slow

Making improv blocks definitely is a much slower process than blocks made using a pattern. Especially if I’m struggling with my approval of the block. I’ve been working on re-purposing a set of blocks I received through a block swap and the process has been incredibly slow. Sometimes I think their reincarnation may not be worth all this effort. About the time I’m ready to throw-in-the-towel I look at the block from a new perspective and voila, I’m back in business.

A Final Chance

The block I tried to salvage tonight had elements that were appealing. If it were not for those factors I probably would not have taken another stab at saving it. As my evening progressed I made cuts here and there while also adding strips of new fabric. All of the expended energy was suppose to bring about a pleasant outcome. Things don’t always go as planned though.

As my frustration increased I decided to call it a night. Just before turning off the lights I made one last effort to pull together fabrics that just might save my block from the recycle bin. This is a photo of the block with the new potential addition. Hopefully it will breathe new life into it.

A Touch of Red.jpg

Stranger things have happened!

Possibilities

While pulling fabrics to audition with the block I stumbled upon a couple of combinations that just might lead to new artwork. Here’s photos of the two possibilities.

Option One.jpg

 

Option Two.jpg

Time to move on from this recap and start making new memories.

Rescue?

I’m not usually a quitter but the block I ended my day with yesterday proved to be a challenge. There were many small segments that really appealed to me and so many others that made me want to gag. I really didn’t want to admit defeat but this block was testing my patience. I set the block on my cutting mat, reached for my rotary cutter and began hacking away.

One of the many ideas I learned during the class with Rayna Gillman (I talked about her class in yesterday’s post) is her philosophy on ugly blocks. She impressed upon us that there is almost no block that can’t be rescued. If you can’t seem to make peace with it, grab your rotary cutter, and slice your block into segments. Using those segments as your new building blocks, begin the process all over again by adding new fabrics, new colors. It’s a clean slate.

Clean Slate

I definitely had a clean slate. Do you remember the fabric strip I had pulled to audition as a possible addition to this block? Using the red strip I added it in multiple areas. But, even after making those additions I wasn’t satisfied. I had big hopes for the red because I really liked the design and texture. Oh well, on to the next!

Chosen for my second color was a lime green. Lime green falls into my favorites category, when it comes to classifying colors. The green was chosen because it was already represented in one of the other fabrics. Rayna told us to make certain the colors we used were represented in multiple areas of the art piece. This practice helps to keep your eye moving about the quilt.

Now What?

After adding the green I was really disappointed. The green seemed to draw all of my attention. It was screaming, “look at me, look at me!” (Insert BIG sigh!) Okay! Now What? Well, I figured I needed to add something that would drastically tone-down the screaming green. What could be more opposite from the green than black?

I rummaged through the tub of fabrics I had brought looking for a piece of black. At the very bottom was a generous sized piece. I laid the black on my cutting board then set my stubborn block on top. The transformation was amazing. The black really made my block seem quieter–more pleasing to the eye.

I cut several strips of the black and inserted them in strategic places then stood back to survey my new item. For some reason I also decided to investigate how the piece looked on the backside. The colors were definitely more subdued and the texture created by the multiple layers of fabric had an organic or earthy feeling (insert aha! moment). Hmmmmm…what if?

What If?

What if I designated the back as my new right side, or top? I enlisted the assistance of my camera and phone to take photos. I flipped back and forth between the two sets of photos trying to decide which one was more appealing. The earthy, much more interesting side is the one I chose. Finally I had an art piece that I could fall in love with!

I added additional black strips around my block forming a frame. Some of the strips still have the fringed edges that were there when I purchased the fabric. I decided to leave them because I thought it added more texture, more character.

Tada!

So there you have it! My new art piece. I can’t wait to quilt it. Below are a few photos of my new piece. I’m calling it Art Quilt # 21: Backwards.

Backwards with Lime Green Added.jpg

After adding lime green

Backwards with Added Black Fabric.jpg

After adding black strips

A View of Backwards From the Back

A view from the back

Backwards Ready for Quilting
Art Quilt # 21: Backwards

Backwards with added outer border

What’s Next?

Do I continue rehabbing the leftover ugly block swap squares? Do I work on the three kits I purchased to make pillow cases for my granddaughters? Or, do I start a brand new improv project?

Pillow Cases

To give my artistic side a break I chose the pillow cases. The pillow case kits were purchased from a local quilt shop. I got the pattern years earlier from another shop. It’s been a while since I made one and I know the directions are poorly written. Let’s see if I can read-between-the-lines.

The first pillow case proved to be a challenge. Reading between-the-lines didn’t work too well. I ended up having to take most of the stitching out because the pillow case didn’t go together correctly. After reassembling the three pieces, this time in a different order, and stitching it once again, I was able to successfully finish. Before proceeding with the other two cases I made notes on the pattern, filling in where the author left off. The other two cases went together perfectly. Here’s a photo of all three.

Pillow Cases.jpg

I’m Done!

It’s been a very productive day and I am very, very pleased with all I was able to accomplish. Tomorrow’s another day. Time to turn out the lights. Before I do I would like to thank you for sticking with me to the very end. I know this was a terribly long post but I had so much to share. I hope you enjoyed following along on my journey.

If you would like to start at the beginning of this series and read the other segments you will find them here: Day One, Day Two, Day Three, Day Four, and Day Five.

You are the reason my blog is successful. Without your interest and participation my efforts would all be wasted. If you would like to stay in touch and receive future posts signup to receive updates via email. I know you will not be disappointed.

Go and create your own art piece!

Cindy Anderson

Smash My Stash: Bye Bye UFO’s


Smash My Stash

Followers of my blog are well aware of my desire to “Smash My Stash,” also known as finish as many projects as possible. After experiencing my rebirth from quilter to creator of art quilts I felt a tugging to re-address my stash.

I took a look around my studio at the UFO’s (unfinished objects) as well as the list I had assembled earlier this year. While the stacks of patterns I had once thought worthy enough to make, let alone purchase, had maintained their place in my list of things to do, I thought much differently about them now. The loyalty/obligation I had felt to follow through was fading fast. Their presence on my list felt like a burden. One that haunted me every day.

In order to release those ties I had to make a decision. Leave them on the list or set them free. After drawing in a deep breath and slowly exhaling I made my decision. It was time to bring out the axe and whack off the projects that no longer spoke to me.

One by one I pulled out the totes that held the patiently waiting bundles of patterns and designated fabrics.

With gusto I separated them from one another, organizing them into two different piles. Item after item was released from my guilt-driven UFO stash.

The whole process was absolutely liberating. Sure there was a small sense of remorse at the amount of money I had expended on patterns (I will have to coach myself every time I enter a fabric store to not purchase new ones) but I look at it this way, I won’t just throw them away. They will probably remain on a shelf, for a time. Then perhaps they will be donated to a guild or some other interested party.

By the time I had revisited each of my UFO’s I had a large pile of patterns on one side and a huge stack of fabric on the other. The patterns were placed in a basket. The fabrics were added to my stash.

My list of things to do had shrunk exponentially. Remaining were a few kits I had acquired to make quilts or wall hangings as well as my Mom’s UFO’s.

Their permission to continue to reside there is tentative. Who knows whether their fabric will be harvested for other projects or not. For now they have been spared.

So what happened to the fabrics that had been released? I’ll save that for another time.

Thanks for taking the time to visit and read my post. I hope you found it to be a worthwhile experience. I look forward to your return visit. If you have the time, before leaving, leave me a comment and let me know how I am doing.

Cindy Anderson of In A Stitch Quilting