Saturday, January 24, 2015

The Beginnings of a Quilt

I've had an idea for a quilt I want to make for some time, in fact it's been percolating on the back burner for months. When I found some rather beautiful shot cottons at the New Zealand Quilt Symposium's merchant mall, I decided that the time has come to try it out. But it's always so much easier to imagine what I might make than to actually make it. (Possibilites and visions are cheap - doing the work takes guts and determination!) So I'm combing the bright solid cottons with greys in all values - greys are currently my favourite backdrop for brights - and started by making several bright blocks which included light-colored greys and then adding other blocks which shade all the way to medium and then dark grey. I'm making the blocks in columns, which will be joined so that there's a flow between them (I hope), which will ultimately be strengthened by the quilting lines. Being in the thick of this whole process has reminded me again that making original work is about risk-taking, about taking a concept and fleshing it out in fabric. And all the time, there are no guarantees that it's going to work. Maybe it will and maybe it won't. But like anything worthwhile, it's only by trying and with practice that it improves. And sometimes the reality is what you had in mind, and sometimes it takes on a life of its own and is even more successful than you'd imagined, and sometimes it's a complete flop. But there's nothing I'd rather be doing - this interacting with fabric, cutting a sewing and pressing, listening to what it wants to add next and deciding yes or no. It might be sometime before I can get back to this again, as we'll be on the move for the next three weeks, but I had promised to share some of my "works in progress", and this is one of them. How about you? What are you busy creating?

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

A Change in Climate (Place, Focus, Activities, etc.)

A week ago today we arrived in New Zealand. I had promised myself I would post a blog before leaving, but it was not to be so, so here I am straddling two worlds as I bring you up to date on my quilting and life. I was determined to get my newest African Sunshine quilt top completed before we left, which may be why I didn't get the blog written. And it went in the post to my favourite machine-quilting friend - Arlene MacKenzie of On Point Quilting - the evening before we left. It's in a different setting than any earlier African Sunshine quilts, and I am excited to see how Arlene decides to quilt it. I give her total freedom in choosing both threads and
design. But that feels like lifetimes ago now, as I take in my first impressions of New Zealand. We were met at Auckland Airport by my daughter, Emily, and have driven down the length of the North Island to Palmerston North, where we will be spending the next two weeks. I've been so busy taking in new smells and sights, that creating anything new has been out of the question. It's time for what Julia Cameron refers to as "Filling up the Well". Noticing the smell of jasmine drifting on the evening air, listening to the cry of Tui birds in the tropical vegetation, picking a lemon for my ice drink right off the tree in the backyard, watching the sheep across
the road graze along the hills, and walking along a river and through a forest of new-to-me trees (I don't even know the names of most of them yet). Many well-known philosophers and artists have commented far more eloquently than I can on the importance of paying attention, of noticing the world around us, and it seems that being in a new place sharpens our powers of observation more than almost any other experience. It helps that we've found summer here too. Longer daylight hours and warm breezes and bare feet. Blissful. But I have brought some fabric with me, as well as my Traveller's Blanket, and so stitching of one sort or another will be part of this adventure too. Too soon to see what might emerge. I'll keep you posted . . .