Over these holidays I'll spend more than a normal amount of time with my rotary cutter, stash, Bernina and design wall. Each day I try to balance my dedication to fitness, friends, family and fun with my intense desire to make. Sometimes I find balance and sometimes I just get lost in the process. Already I have chalked up many hours in the studio and as I work through my pile of projects I wonder a lot about what motivates us as quilters to progress our projects. For many years I have lovingly gathered images of Folk Art designs thinking..."someday I'll use these." So as the weeks of holiday open up before me my eyes land here and the process begins.
Folk Art motifs have an endearing appeal gathered over generations of minds and hearts looking at and loving the same simplistic representations of life. Some things just resonate with all of us...the idea of ornamental love hearts, fanciful mermaids and virtuous unicorns, proud birds, tulips, lions and deer like paintings on rock walls remind us of enduring concepts that speak a language we all intrinsically understand.
As is so often the case, the mind merges the fascination with textile possibilities and things start to happen in the design space. Armed with a sample pack of Jenny Kingwell's new Gardenvale range I dropped everything else and got busy.
This is also a time when I turn to the stack of products I want to experiment with in my making time. Circles and curves have been catching my eye. There are lots of ways to cut them so I started experimenting with a few different methods.
Circles and curves are all about seam allowance and accurate cutting. The actual sewing is no more difficult than the straight line blocks once you get used to it. Using the Quick Curve Ruler by Sew Wonderful made the curved pieces easy to cut and sew adding a soft edge to the alternating blocks. Big barrier broken...during the year I look at these tools and think how fun they look but learning takes time and concentration. It was nice to have clear space in my head to start thinking it through and now with the videos on line it is easy for a visual learner such as myself to get a start with a new toy. Curves are my new black...move over stripes, plaids and spots! It is also interesting to note that projects evolve over time. I started with a bit of an idea about folk art motif designs, circles and fabric and before I knew it I had several design ideas drawn up and now that it is nearly joined together it looks nothing like any of my first ideas. Go figure!
Next up on the drawing board is preparation for a workshop I'll be doing this year with Mary Koval's Tree of Life Panel. This game changing panel is 46" x 90" and full of fabulous colors to work into borders. Already my sheets of graph paper are full of design ideas for the borders which means I really need to get my folk art piece off the wall!!!
For the past few years I have stood beside Wendy watching her work her magic with the wool felt in the shop. She is the kind of friend that is so skilled at what she does that it is hard to imagine walking into the arena. However, I have entered the ring of fun with wool and started a project with my fascination of Magpies and or crows!
In the evenings all the whirring of machines and rotary cutters stops for a bit of hand quilting. There is an unbelievable release of all the issues of life when I allow myself to sit and stitch. The rhythm of the neede and slow progress is unsurpassed in gratifying endeavors. As soon as I finish this one, the next one is there to be quilted..
I am curious as to when the motion of my projects moved from frenetic energy to slow moving progress combining so many different techniques and ideas. I suspect that after a couple of decades of trying new things the things I love seem to fall into place in a myriad of combinations. Challenges are found either in the combinations of the fabrics used or the techniques but in every case there is something familiar to bring it all home. I am simply enjoying the process of discovery both in what is new and what is not. Over the next few days we'll all turn our mind's eye to what is new in 2015...how exciting is that!!! Enjoy the NEW! even if it is old! k