Monday, December 5, 2011

Patchwork introspection

I love quilting. You may think that I've been day dreaming about being Amish, or practicing for my sixties, or pretending I'm a shut-in. And you'd be right. Quilting, to me, is the perfect combination of wild creativity, solemn perfectionism, and focused solitude. These are things I'm drawn to lately.

It's not as boring as it sounds. I know "quilting" seems like an oxymoron. What business does a hand made blanket have posing as a verb? If you hear "quilt" and picture pastel calicos and dusty doilies, I understand. I really do. But that's not what I'm talking about here.

I've spent the last several weekends hunched over my craft room table cutting, piecing, ironing, and stitching. When I sew, I'm a combination of Sponge Bob Square Pants (a veritable frenzy of enthusiasm) and a Tibetan monk (meditating on seam allowances and color selection). Here's why.

It's a craft for problem-solvers, puzzle lovers, and type-A personalities. It's challenging to start with the end result in mind and then figure out how to assemble all the pieces to get there. The more precise I am, the better the results. There's nothing like the satisfaction of organizing fabric in the exact size and colors you want.  

I saw a picture of a particular quilt recently and fell in love. It was made from two dozen or so stars, all different colors, on a white background. The stars weren't symmetrical. I love asymmetrical quilts. They're all the rage (put the classic "bonnet girl" quilt pattern out of your mind).

One set back with this new-found quilt design: I don't have a pattern.

I LOVE this predicament. I can see the seams in the photo, so I can break it down to individual strips. I see that each star is made from five squares, interlocking with the four stars around it. So I made my own pattern. It's real scribbly but I think I get the gist of it. Time will tell. 
I sometimes feel like I'm cheating when I use tools like table top mats and rulers and rotary cutters. Sort of like receiving a bouquet of beautiful flowers, then realizing they're fake. Oh well. This "cheating" isn't something I dwell on. Since I can't create anything out of thin air, this is the next best thing.

Quilting is introvert-friendly. On Sunday I was in my PJs for HOURS (covered in lint and thread) with unwashed hair and floppy socks. I'm no Martha Stewart, but she's got nothing on me when it comes to commitment to creativity. It's engrossing. I lose all track of time.

It's also a forgiving craft. Every uneven edge and wad of string gets hidden when the quilt is assembled. The most rewarding part of making a patchwork block comes after all the edges are sewn together, the seams have been ironed, and I flip it over to see the front. Success.

I wanted to include a bunch of pictures, but if I keep waiting to post til I remember, it'll be another week at least before this gets published.

Photos to follow.

In the meantime, here are links to other people's quilting photos that inspire the heck out of me.

1 comment:

  1. Emily - would you make a quilt for the AAQI? Please! ( Mariarose