Tuesday, April 30, 2013


For as much time as I've been spending in the studio, I've seemingly made little progress on the African quilt. It's been a constant game of musical fabrics as I dig through available fabrics and ponder WWJD - what would Judi do? Because I tend toward a lot of structure and precision in my own quilting, I think a lot of people envision my work space as neat and tidy, all under control. To the contrary, when I'm designing by the seat of my pants, the studio soon becomes chaos.

Yesterday got particularly chaotic as I worked to resolve two problematic areas and felt panic setting in as the clock quickly ticks down to my self-imposed deadline. Four rulers and some books joined the fray.

I'm determined to have this done to take with me to Judi's celebration of life service. I leave on Friday and want to have it done by the end of the day tomorrow. Somewhere in that chaos are solutions.

Not just chaos on the work table though. There's chaos on the sewing machine table so close to the design wall.

There's even a bit of chaos on the floor below the design wall. Solutions could be there as well. A neat and tidy, organized and structured way of working this is not.

But eventually, one must quit second guessing and just start cutting and sewing parts together. Before leaving the studio last night, I thought through what I needed to do today in order to finish without panic on Wednesday. It started in a simple place - extending the length of this strip to fit its space. Getting a good match can be tricky - I started by pressing the 1/4 inch seam under so I could line the pattern up on the piece to be added.

Didn't quite get it right the first time...or the second either, and even this is not perfect, but it's pretty close and close enough.

Here's where the strip will go, although I still have some measurements to work out before I can sew it on. The rest of this section is all seamed and can't be added to the section below until the strip goes on. The left part of the picture shows that entire section - my apologies for the poor lighting.

There are two large areas that have been giving me fits because they are too large for just fabric but I didn't have any more blocks to fill that space. I dug through some of the animal fabric to see if I could find more motifs and came up with two possibilities, including this giraffe. I could have made more progress earlier if I had not been trying so hard to get out of making more blocks. But in truth, when I asked What Would Judi Do, it was pretty obvious...Judi would be making more blocks. So I sucked it up and copied as best I could her crazy log cabin piecing technique to fill a critical space.

The rest of that space finally got resolved with the heart block and the leopard's head. That part of the quilt really benefits from the grey colorway of that leopard.

The heart and leopard are part of the other problematic area which I'll be working on tomorrow, and so can't be added to the section below yet. But yeah, oh hurray, that huge section shown above did get seamed together today.  If you compare these pictures to ones in the last post, you may be able to see how much the arrangement changed over several days.

And so I met my goal while a late spring snowstorm blew through, and am on track to finish this up tomorrow. Will be working out a new applique and then the final seams can be sewn.


Chris said...

Loved this post. I think chaos must be part of the creative process. My room usually looks like yours as I am trying to work things out. At some point I have to clean up because I cannot work anymore!

The Idaho Beauty said...

Yes, Chris, I realized that my actual free space to cut was getting smaller and smaller and I was struggling to find pieces I KNEW were in that pile. Envision rifling through it flinging left and right! As the need for options decreased, I took a few minutes yesterday to sort and fold and stack the fabric I knew I would not be needing under the table so I'd have some breathing space and room to lay out the big pieces when it was time to pin them together.

Lucia Sasaki said...

Hi Sheila!
Thanks for posting, I am sure that you are going to finish this work of love in your deadline.
Although my work is so small and simple compared to yours, sometimes my worktable becomes a mess too.
Here in Brazil is Labor Day, so I have an almost entire day to sew some blank books. Coptic this time.
Know that I admire your work for Judy.