Sunday, January 22, 2006

Quilt Intimidation

This is my theory for why there are so many UFO's (unfinished objects) hidden away in quilters' closets. Lord knows, it's happened often enough to me. We get a great idea for a quilt. We enthusiastically pick fabric to go in it. We energetically start the construction process. We are HOT! Then somewhere along the way, we start to doubt ourselves and all the choices we've made up to this point. The quilt seems to jeer at us, "Just WHO do you think you are? What made you think THIS was such a great design (fabric choice/embellishment - you fill in the blank)?" Unsure of ourselves, we convince ourselves we don't know what to do next, or the piece is a failure, or that we just aren't interested in this project anymore. The quilt has totally intimidated us, and in total submission, we put it away unfinished, hoping that at a later date, we can resurrect it or pawn it off on someone else.

I was feeling that way about my little journal quilt after piecing it. There was plenty of contrast between the two fabrics when laid side by side. Once they were cut up, the dynamic changed. I wondered if maybe it was too dark and muted. Would the design I'd be appliqueing on top show up well enough? I was already coming up with solutions to solve that problem before I even knew if it would be an issue. That appliqueing step, by the way, will be posing its own technical challenge and I had some question about which would be better: quilting before it went on or after? And let's not forget, I still feel unsure enough about my machine quilting abilities to instinctively freeze when I get to that point in a project. Yes, I was letting a little 8-1/2" x 11" quilt intimidate me.

What's the best way around intimidation? Screw up your courage and barge ahead! The quilt generally knows to get out of the way if it ultimately wants to survive. This little one apparently did. After finding ways to avoid it for the last few days, I decided I was being silly. Just do one little thing to re-establish dominance, I reasoned. I did. Now that wasn't so bad - worked just like you hoped it would. And I'm pretty sure that I need to quilt first, applique second. So I can at least pull the papers off the back and layer the thing. Didn't mean to actually sit down and quilt it today, but before I knew it, I was marking lines and threading up the machine. Before long, the quilting was done. Tomorrow I can work on the applique. Dominance re-established.

In the process, I got to looking at the swirling lines of the marbled fabric, considering whether I could enhance them with a few beads. As I did a mental inventory, I suddenly remembered some antique teal beads I'd succumbed to. When I looked through my bead drawer, I not only found teal seed beads, but a second bag of slightly larger teal beads. I laid the strands next to my top and think they will be just the thing. I also pulled one of my samples from the stamping experiment that might serve as binding. Things are falling into place - a good day at the office.

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