An update on the project that started the Year of Quilting Fearlessly…
I don’t know whether I’ve had an epiphany or have just come to the conclusion I have to let go of some projects because I’ve grown to dislike them because I never should have started them to begin with, but I’m giving myself permission to let a few projects fall by the wayside, sell them, or just plain give them away. The conversations I had with quilters when I was at The Applique Society’s annual meeting keep running through my head. These were artists who have quilted longer than I have and knew more about quilting and quilts than I ever imagined learning.
So, I’m pruning. Big time. I’m keeping the projects that challenge me in a good way. These are the ones that speak to me, touch my heart, and inspire the creative instinct in me. However, the ones I find myself putting off working on or probably never really enjoyed to begin with are the ones that are now on the back burner. Lucy Boston, I think I have found you a new home. Snowmen? I will probably pick you back up at some point, but for right now a storage bin is your new home.
But Santa’s Load Dock? While infinitely challenging, I do love this quilt. I am discovering that the quilts I now enjoy making are the ones that challenge me every time I sit down and sew or stand at my long arm. Santa’s Loading Dock does this every single day. I am the one that must really figure out what technique to use in order to get the desired effect. It’s not spelled out in the directions (actually, very little is spelled out in the directions…). I have to decide if I am machine appliqueing, needle turning, or using freezer paper for the applique. In so many ways, this is really becoming “my” quilt.
Remember the struggle I had with that tree? The tree that had over 40 pieces? Lisa and I had some time together before I left for Pinehurst and she taught me a new technique with Inktense Pencils. This is her tree:
She invited me over on a Sunday afternoon and walked me through the steps, giving generously of her time, talent, and materials. She had traced the tree out on some Michael Miller fabric for me. She prefers the Michael Miller fabrics for this process rather than Kona or Moda because the Michael Miller fabric has a firmer weave. The tree was traced with a Micron Pen. Then, using nature as the guide, we began to color in the tree with the Inktense Pencils. Evergreens branches are darker the closer the branch is to the trunk and they grow lighter as the grow away from the trunk. We used to colors of green to get that effect. Then we blended the colors together with Liquidtex fabric medium, that was thinned with a few drops of water and then heat-set it with an iron. This Liquidtex has a slight shimmer to it to mimic the idea of frost and snow.
This is my “practice” tree.
After I returned last weekend, I worked on my “real” tree. I decided I wanted it a little darker than my practice tree so that it could contrast nicely against the white snow and dark blue background of my window. Compare this tree…
To the tree I initially made with the 43 separate pieces.
The new one looks so much better. Despite being a pain to figure out, this quilt does lend itself to many techniques. And in order to figure out which one is best, you have to pace yourself through different ones. It also allows you to try new techniques. This trial and error takes time, but this is a quilt of a lifetime. You don’t want to rush it and you want it to look beautiful.
And this is what it looks like on the background.
I need to start Rudolph and the candle this weekend and then I can put on the start and window panes. However, I do need to still work on a couple of Farmer’s Wife blocks and the block for the Quilt Club’s Mystery Quilt.
There is a wedding and dance recital this weekend…not quite sure how productive these next two days are going to be!
Quilt Fearlessly my friends!
Love and Stitches,
Sherri and Sam