Thursday, June 15, 2006

More Irish Eyes

Blame it on the dog. She is such a task master.

I hadn't planned to sew today. The morning was earmarked for running errands, the afternoon for computer time. But animals are slaves to routine, just as people are. When Jesse and I headed upstairs after lunch, she did what she usually does - stood in front of the studio door waiting for me to open it and get to work. Sometimes I'll do that even if I'm not planning to work in there just to get her off my back. (Her stares and sighs can make me feel so guilty.) She flops down in what little floor space there is and I go about my business across the hall in the bedroom set aside as an office. Depending on her mood, she may join me sooner or later (her couch is in the office). Today I thought, well, I need to take an updated picture of Irish Eyes for the blog, so in we went. Picture taken, I paused at the door and said, "You think I should sew, don't you? Well, maybe I should - just a little." As in, I'll just sew some of the blocks into a few rows. But just like my painting experiments, once I get going, I just can't stop. An hour and a half later, rows were all sewn into a top ready for borders and Jesse hung in there with me nearly the whole time. Eventually, she opts for the softer couch over the hard floor, but I must put out positive vibes when sewing that she picks up on and enjoys. She never seems happy with me when I'm on the computer.

Anyway, here are all my blocks arranged on the design wall before sewing them together. I made the remaining twelve 3 x 6 "sashing" units yesterday, another day that needed the calming diversion of repetitious sewing to keep me from having an anxiety attack over my impending move. (I'd finally bought my tickets for the house-hunting trip next month which moved this whole project from a "maybe it'll happen" fantasy to a more scary "I'm really going through with it" reality.) Once I'd arranged them around the outside, I was a bit disappointed. I'd gone from an interesting design with movement (click here for picture of that stage) to just a busy design. There was a momentary urge to replace them with white rectangles, but then what would I do with those pieced units? I'm really adverse to creating more bits and pieces needing a home and negating the effort of the day. Considering that this quilt is going straight to a friend's six year old, rationality won out and I will just make a note to myself to eliminate that outer round of pieced sashing should I make this design again.

You'll note there's a narrow strip of the blue fabric along the left side of the quilt. I'm trying to decide about borders. I'll use that fabric for sure, but at what width? One of my mock-ups included a 1-1/2 inch border of the green from the 4-patches, then a 4 inch blue border. Of course, I don't have any more of that fabric, but I could use white. But I'm really not motivated to do a double border. I just want to get this done and gone. So should a single border be 4" or 6"? I think I have plenty of fabric for either, but the 6" width feels intimidating when I think how I might fill it with quilting. Any opinions out there?

Margaret commented, "It must be a sheer pleasure working on this one!" In many ways, yes. I so enjoy working with batiks and hand dyes like the ones incorporated here. But I note that there's a certain uneasiness lurking as well. I've pinned it down to the white background. I don't use white much in my quilts, and as I thought about those that I have, I remember that same uneasiness when making them. You'd think fresh and clean would be a good thing, that dark and drab would be depressing. It seems to work the opposite with me. Maybe it's my black dog or the fact that I'm not overly meticulous with keeping up on housework. White you have to be so careful with in terms of keeping it clean. Every flaw and dog hair shows up glaringly. Any errant bleeding of fabric (or me!) is immediately apparent. White is unforgiving. Working with too much white makes me nervous and it's hard to relax. It's no wonder so many dark quilts were made in the 1800's. I can sense how anxious I am to be done with this so I can go back to mixing my batiks and hand dyes with non-white fabrics!

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