In the previous post, I'd completed the applique blocks for the 3rd quadrant of my friend Judi's African quilt, and was ready to make those final decisions on placement and what would fill in the blanks between. The picture above shows Judi's design wall when I took this project over. The pieces of paper are the patterns for blocks she had not complete yet but was pretty sure about where they would be placed. She'd used these and the finished blocks to help work out dimensions on her graph paper master. But as I mentioned before, she was planning on auditioning fabrics, had no firm selections at this point. Lots of blanks to fill in and some latitude on shifting blocks within those general areas.
I've tried to remain aware of what's going on in the quadrant in the opposite corner from this one, repeating fabrics and colors to maintain a balance in what could quickly become disjointed chaos, but also maintain the asymmetry going on in the rest of the quilt. It was important to bring in some of the turquoise because of that but also because of the turquoise in some of the dancer's blouses in the panel running long the bottom. I was a bit surprised at how good a strip of that turquoise looked next to the lion panel, so much so that I nearly bordered it all in that fabric. But nothing else in the quilt was handled that way and it just seemed too much for that section. Even a 3 inch strip on the side or a 4 inch strip on the bottom alone wasn't working. This tug and pull nearly derailed my progress as I kept auditioning various fabrics and shifting things back and forth over two days. I finally had a breakthrough when I let another obsession, those hands, get a trial run. The eureka moment was when I decided to use not one fussy cut set of hands, but several with fabric spacers in between. Several fabrics got auditioned for those spaces, but when I let go of my desire for a large uninterrupted piece of that turquoise next to the lions and laid the hands over it, well, problem solved.
With this one decision, I could see how the rest of the strips should fall. I stepped back pleased, but was a little concerned that the treatment of the strip with the hands was more me creeping in than an option Judi would have chosen. "Well, Judi," I said to the ether, "What do you think? Do you like it?" No bolts of lightning, nothing fell off the design wall, I decided she must be ok with it.
Of course, this section also has to balance with the one above it and I think it does. Now on to the last section for which Judi had set aside some blocks but had not started designing. I'm on my own now in more ways than one. I got the call yesterday that she had died around noon after lapsing into a coma Sunday evening. Yeah, it looks like my big breakthrough came not long after she'd gone into that coma, and it's nice to think that she was indeed guiding my hand before she passed to the other side. I will miss her good advice, both quilting and personal, and so many other things.