I have had quite a few people ask me "where do you get all your ideas ?" I always reply, "they're all crammed in, up here"--pointing to my head. They dribble out when I least expect them.
I started thinking about that, today, and it's amazing to me that they come out in any usable form. There's no organization, no themed storage, no labels, no Rubbermaid containers, no Rolodex--just a whole bunch of random thoughts crammed, willy-nilly, into too small a space. I have a request--the next time He (or She) gets around to inventing humans, could we please have a "delete" button? That way, when we get old and have all the useless facts taking up space from the really good thoughts, we can just get rid of the ones we don't want. Good idea? YES!
I have to say, though, that once an idea is out in the open, I generally have a set way of dealing with it. I thought you might want to join me in the journey from idea to finished product of one of my quilts. I usually keep "progression" photos of my work, just for my own enjoyment. Sometimes, I'm totally amazed at how I got from Start A to Finished Z.
THE BIRTH OF BERRY PATCH
This one is a quilt I designed for the annual "New Quilts from an Old Favorite" challenge at the National Quilt Museum in Paducah, Kentucky. They always choose a traditional block and invite people to "do" something with it. That year, it was "Sawtooth".
There are many versions of Sawtooth, but mostly they are plain half-square triangles joined to a pieced triangle with jagged points. I tried a couple of ideas, moving blocks around on my design wall, but finally, I just sat down and drew
a free-form design that sort of looked like the block....to me, anyway.
The next thing was choosing the fabrics and auditioning them up on the design wall-standing as far away as possible to see if they "played well together". I even went outside and looked through the window. Good thing I was in a walk-out basement!
Then, I stuck little pieces of fabric up on the drawing where they might be going. Nothing written in stone at this point! You'll notice that most of the fabrics are solids or "reads as solids", because I knew I wanted the points to clearly stand out, since that was the only thing that really connected it to the Sawtooth block.
I liked that drape-y piece of fabric with my other choices, so the next thing to do was take down all the "try-out fabric" on the right, organize and make my swatchboard and put the greenish one up as a background. I had a second copy made of my drawing so I could cut templates from the drawing without having to unstick all those teeny pieces of fabric!
I cut the templates apart and used them to cut the fabrics, eyeballing the 1/4 " seam allowances, and piecing the curved parts.
All of the blocks were pieced, even the "berries" which some people mistake for melons or pumpkins. I prefer to think they are gooseberries, thank you very much!
The teeth were numbered and cut individually and fused in place, then satin-stitched.. I TRY to do raw edge applique, but I always wind up finishing the edges, somehow.
Did you notice the sneaky thing I did? I matched the triangle inset in the center of each of these blocks to the background, so, when they are applied, you think you are looking through them, but you're not--really! Ha!!
Everything was gradually pinned or glued into place, on the background fabric, with the edges turned, and then all the pieces were machine appliqued down and the fabric cut out from the back, so it didn't wrinkle when it was quilted.
The gooseberries were pieced last, and then the seams accented with one of the fancy stitches on my machine--teeny scallops--cute!
Then, It was time to deal with the border. I hadn't given it much thought. Sometimes you just need to wait and see what the quilt needs. I thought an asymmetrical one worked and sketched some "bloated" Sawtooth blocks for accent.
Now, it just needed to be put together and finished with Marilyn's beautiful quilting
AND HERE IT IS!! "Berry Patch"! Oh, yes!
And----it took first place that year--and is featured on the cover of the exhibit book.
So that's how it goes---except--- I neglected to mention all the phases of quiltmaking or any creative process, I guess, that we all go through. Just plug them in wherever appropriate! And, the next time you are at number 5, know that you are not alone!
2. Creative Euphoria
3. Industrious activity
5. Doubt and agony
6. Disgust and dislike
9. Awakening Interest
10. Repair, renew and rejoice
11. Euphoria--Done is Good!!
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Over-dyed fabrics by Quilt Tapestry Studios--Wendy Richardson
Dupioni silks by Country Keepsakes
Commercial cottons and batiks from my stash
Backing by Sew Batik
Thread from Superior Threads
Long-arm machine quilting by Marilyn Badger
If you have any questions about this or any other quilt that I have made, please ask away in the comment section.