I’m alive! I don’t know how often I’ll realistically be able to post to the blog, but I have a few finishes to share that I hope to at least get posted. It turns out starting a new career is exhausting and overwhelming and a lot has happened over the last few months since moving to Orlando. But I’m slowly starting to get my sea legs and finding pockets of free-ish time.
But for now, I wanted to get some of these finishes posted.
Shortly after QuiltCon 2015, I contacted the MQG and asked if they’d be interested in a Quilt Design A Day (QDAD) special exhibit for QuiltCon 2017. They were excited about the idea, and I brought in Michelle Wilkie @ Factotum of Arts to help coordinate (read: she did all the work). The QDAD format we follow is once a day a photo and palette are posted, and people make their designs using the photo as inspiration and use the palette for their designs. For the exhibit, we decided we’d do a single inspiration image and palette, everyone would design and make their quilts, and we’d have a display of them together to show the range of possibilities from the single image and palette.
It’s been a couple years now since I’ve participated in QDAD. After a year of it, I had learned what I wanted to learn and was ready for new experiences. But as the founder, I really felt that I should participate. Although I was going to be terribly embarrassed if my quilt didn’t get in, which added a wee bit of extra pressure I really didn’t need to give myself.
So I started designing. I made quite a few designs, using the design techniques I’d played with during my year doing QDAD. But I wasn’t happy with any of them. I did get two to a point where I was tweaking details and figured perhaps that was a sign I should try making them in fabric. I ordered fabric for one of them and I made a mistake in translation of an angle which made all my cuts wrong. While debating whether I should order more fabric and try again, or do the other design, I chatted with my friend Rebecca who was also doing the challenge.
She asked me, “Which design are you most excited by?”
When I sat and thought about it, the answer was truly, “neither.” She mentioned it seemed too late in the process to do another design, but I knew I wouldn’t be happy with either. And also I’m maybe a little [lot] stubborn.
I spent some time brainstorming what the hangup was, and I tried to really figure out why I was struggling with the design. I realized that I was using my QDAD techniques, which involve picking out shapes or angles and designing around that. These are great for doing quick sketches and when you’re doing a different one every day, you certainly don’t go deep into the inspiration. But I’m in a very different place as a designer 2 years later, and my quilts lately are what I call “story quilts”, which is something I am really drawn to – trying to capture a feeling or story through the design.
So I went back to the inspiration image. Looking at the apartment buildings I thought about how I have never been able to feel at home in an apartment. And I thought about how in reality, I haven’t felt at home in a long time. I have moved over 25 times throughout my life, and in the last three years I have lived in 3 different states. There’s an unsettled quality that comes from moving so much – everything starts blending together, but the differences can be really jarring.
I wanted to create a quilt about seeking a place to rest in the chaos and trying to find home in the process. That was the emotion I wanted to try to capture with my quilt design.
I started out with the simple square in square, mimicking the apartment windows. But it was too static, it didn’t capture that chaos I was going for. And I did love that angle in the original image. At first I tried to keep the angle the same, but realized that the whole point of inspiration is that you can take it wherever you want. So I changed it to a typical HST angle which had the added benefit of bringing in the idea of roof tops. And then the rest of the design just fell out of my head over the course of about 10 minutes.
The quilt itself is fairly simple and went together quickly. I did make one change from the design, in which I “turned on the light” at the orange home.
For the quilting, I wanted to reinforce the frenetic energy, so I used vertical and angled lines. For the vertical lines, I also spaced them in an uneven pattern to convey the unstable feeling of moving. I was running out of time so I didn’t get a chance to quilt the angles as densely as I might have liked, but overall I think it’s fairly successful.
And of course the best of all! My quilt got into the exhibit and the exhibit was fantastic! I took photos of every quilt in the exhibit, and will hopefully get that on the blog in the future to share.
Name: Finding Home
Dimensions: 56″ x 72″
Finish: November 2016
Fabrics: Kona Charcoal, Shale, Snow, Prussian, Mediterranean, Carrot
Binding: Kona Prussian
Thread: Aurifil – some light grey or another (I should really write these down)
Telling me I can’t do something: Good way to get me to do something