Friday, February 22, 2008

Meditative Work

Thanks for the comments on my Take It Further Challenge project for February which I posted about here. I'm glad you found it interesting and not perfectly obvious that I was working with an image from a rotary phone. I'm not surprised that hoof prints came to mind. The more I worked with it, the more those straight-on dials looked like horseshoes to me.

Once again, I am opting for closely spaced parallel lines for the quilting. I'm growing very fond of them, and feel each time I use them, I'm building on the idea, not just repeating what I've tried before. They are not unlike the echo quilting found in heirloom antique quilts. No wonder I'm drawn to the modern version. Perhaps my grounding in traditional antique quilts also explains why I'm more apt to pick a color of quilting thread that blends rather than stands out. I think that's where I'm headed here with this one. I think the middle thread is going to win out - a slightly variegated King Tut cotton thread - but I may throw in a few lines of the solid rayon too. I'm planning to sandwich up a sizable sample to try them out on.

I've started marking in my lines with a soapstone marker, using my mock-up on the full-size pattern as a guide. It's reminding me of that zentangle thing, very meditative, very enjoyable. I know, I know. Most machine quilters would not bother to do this, but just freely go for it. But I am not that confident. I've had to rip out too much stitching because I thought I could quilt from the image in my head. These lines take some unexpected turns, and I'm much more comfortable with a good road map to follow. This is part of my resolution to not be bullied into doing something I'm uncomfortable with or can't execute with the expertise I want just because everyone else is doing it.

I am going to have to make a decision though. Am I brave enough to try quilting all these lines with the feeddogs down? I certainly won't be able to manipulate around those tight curves in the centers of the dials with my walking foot. Yet I'm very concerned that the long straight lines and larger curves be smooth; I can't always maintain that smoothness when I have to stop with the needle down to rearrange my hands and the quilt. And I sometimes lose my concentration and veer off the line in an unattractive way. I may use both - use the walking foot on the lines that it can handle, then switch to free motion for the tighter areas.

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