Embrace the Wobble

DSC_0135I don’t know how much I have described my quilting style, except that if you follow me on this blog or other forms of social media, you may know that I work in a liberated form of quilting. Slow quilting for sure. Making parts and pieces with design decisions along the way. Generally no patterns (there are exceptions occasionally). I also work from a design wall. Putting up bits and bobs and leaving them there as I work, sometimes for weeks, or months. OK, usually months.

special pieces

Truth be told sometimes I take stuff down because I get tired of looking at it and working on it. I’ll put up another WIP or start something new then come back to the original. Or not. As a result of this method what I am working on typically does not travel well. Taking it off the wall seems like too much effort.

When I travel to my quilting bee at friends’ houses (we rotate who hosts) it can be difficult to know what to stitch. Last fall I grabbed a bin of overflowing strings with the intention of starting a series of log cabin experiments. The first would be a single log cabin block, worked in the round. Some people would call this improvisational. I don’t. Whatever.

DSC_0137Traditionally, the center of any log cabin quilt block is red. This represents the hearth and center of the home. The light and the warmth. What we love to gather ‘round. I added skinny strings at first with no sense for color placement. There is no measuring. In fact, the strings were not measured when initially cut. They are not straight widths, some have bias. I trimmed them with scissors when I got to the end of the row. Early on I pressed only every few rows. As it got big, then bigger, I had to press after every round to keep it “manageable.”

IMG_0005I started this quilt without an intended recipient. Quilting for quilting sake. No rules. Embracing the wobble. It was quick stitching. About 2.5 feet wide in one night.

But life throws you curveballs.

In early January my aunt was diagnosed with lymphoma. Overnight this quilt had an intended purpose, no longer relegated to giving me something to do as an entremet to my main project.

The beauty of this type of quilt is its meditative nature. Each string is attached in the round with stitches love, and hope, and strength into the seams. A prayer quilt (yes even non-believers pray sometimes). I worked fast to get it finished and gifted. Some things can’t wait.

IMG_0017It uses some coveted fabrics like fancy French cake fabric purchased in Tokyo. What is the point in hoarding saving these fabrics anyway? They should be used, and loved.

IMG_0010IMG_0025This quilt doesn’t lay flat despite my best efforts to press it into submission. And it is certainly not square. I actually thought it best to just trim it up freehand (sans ruler or measurements) on the kitchen floor after quilting since nothing else in it is square. It seemed the right thing to do.

DSC_0146Life throws us curveballs and sometimes all we can do is make a quilt and embrace the wobble.

#fuckcancer


Details

Title: Embrace the Wobble (Log Cabin #1)

Size: I forgot to measure. Big enough to wholly wrap up in. Likely about 65” X 75”

Materials: 100% cotton strings. From stash processing, from friends, from other friends, from the floor at retreat. Cotton thread. 100% cotton batting (three big pieces frankenbatted)

Started: September 2014 Finished: January 2015

For Pammy.

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DWR Inspiration

How’s your quilt coming along for the New York Modern Quilt Guild Double Wedding Quilt Challenge? Mine? Not so much. But today I received my daily email from The Quilt Alliance  blog (you do know about them, don’t you?) and I may have to start one. Like, now.

4F-88-13B-224-TexasWinedale-a0a0t5-a_6589_stringquilt

See what I mean. Don’t get me wrong. I love the traditional look of a Double Wedding Ring quilt, and I am especially fond of the Pickle Dish variation and hope to make one one day. But this quilt. MAN, oh man. As I wrote to some friends today–I love, love, love, love, love this quilt. As a liberated quilter, this one has so much more appeal to me and has such a modern feel. But check the date, yo. 1930s.

I realize it isn’t a true DWR, but it sure feels like a very interesting “modern” interpretation of one. And it’s made with strings. Note to self: Add this to list.

To find out more about this fabulous quilt, check the full entry here. 

(not so) EZ Dresden Quilt Challenge

So we’re now on Day 6 of the EZ Dresden Quilting Challenge and by now you know all of the details and the PRIZES and have seen some really talented quilters in the likes of Lee, Kati, Victoria, TanyaVal, and Leigh. Are you inspired yet to join the challenge, or are you still on the fence about committing (although we’ll have all summer to stitch)? If you’re already on board GREAT! But if you’re still undecided because of time, or overcommitment, or whatever, I offer the following insight that will hopefully get you to change your mind.

The Idea

I am process-driven. I am not in a race to finish a quilt a week, or even a month (as my guild members can attest at my lack of show and tell). Combine that with the fact that I am a list maker. I make lists. I’ve always been this way, but started making lists even more frequently in college. It is not uncommon for me to write something on my “to do” list that I’ve already completed just so I can feel like I accomplished something cross it off.

I currently have 18 “planned” quilts on my list. 18. That were in my head, and then made it to the list. Not to mention the fact that the list needs to be updated. Sometimes I feel overwhelmed by my own hobby. How wacky is that?

So when the idea came about to organize and participate in a Dresden Plate quilt challenge, honestly, I felt a little lukewarm about it. Don’t get me wrong–I LOVE Dresdens. And I love my friends at EZ Quilting, especially Darlene Zimmerman, so how could I not participate in a challenge to celebrate her 20th Anniversary of making my quilting life easier? So the big question for me was how do I fit this challenge in to my “quilt schedule?” Currently it is on the list as number eight:

#8 EZ Dresden Quilt Challenge: “Gingham” inspired, navy, off-white, grey, beige, brown, color (yellow? Red, orange (sm. Gingham))? Asian? Use real Japanese. Homemade (Gwen 37 Sketches) gingham.

How is that for a ridiculously complex description of a quilt? I clearly had some initial ideas about fabrics and colors. Although what I had in my head then, was not what I am working on now. Continue reading