As you can see I am on role as I completed another crazy quilt block last night. Once again I had done the embroidery but I needed to do the beading. The scan is a bit dark as the colours are burnt autumn tones. Thanks everyone for the compliments left on my post yesterday. A special wave to Dawn Smith of Crazy Quilt Central who conceived the original Crazy Quilt discussion list. (Go on Dawn live dangerously and drag out your CQ stuff – I would love to see stitching up a storm again). Rita asked if the flower on the left was embroidered – yes it is and since the fabric behind it was taffeta it was a bit of pain to stitch. It is done in single strand DMC threads using long and short stitch.
There is other work in progress to report on as well. I have to head back to work today but my workroom is in a huge muddle as I am in the middle of doing some piecing which I hope I will be able to return to next weekend. As I said yesterday I usually piece, then stitch, then embellish. With our recent trip to China it won’t take much to guess what the main influence with this batch is. The colours in Chinese brocades are so bright! I actually like the slightly more subtle colour combinations and have always lent towards them. I have worked in strong colour combinations before but always knocked them back a little. I don’t think I have worked with such bright strong colours but they are the colour combinations of China. That’s what is available. Reds, yellow and shades of gold dominate not only in fabrics but in the historical places such as the Forbidden City and the Lamasary we visited. So I decided to stick to what I saw and start the year with a riot of colour to celebrate.
Arlee left a very good question on yesterdays post. She asked if I was ever “non-inspired” using this process. Firstly this way of working developed because I have a busy life. I simply don’t have the luxury of piecing when an idea strikes. I envy quilters who can create the small journal exercises for I know that I would not have the time. To cut off the blah feeling I create a number of blocks for a key project, and then I create other blocks that are totally different so that if I tire of one set of colours I have other stuff to hand that looks different. I like 8 inch blocks so I stick to a standard size usually – although lately I have made up some 7 inch blocks. From scraps I make up smaller items like small bags for gifts and the like so that if I tire of blocks I have other little things to keep going. Usually when I open my box I find something that looks fun to work on. Towards the end of the year when I have picked out my favourites and worked them sometimes I feel I need a boost to get me going and that is where I draw on my bag of tricks to get me going. Primarily I turn to my visual journal as in that I have print outs of stuff that has caught my eye, I have noted stitch combinations I thought I might like try out ‘one day’ and noted ideas for designs and techniques. When ideas are coming thick and fast I note them in my visual journal. You know those days when you have three good ideas before breakfast and everything in your head is just bounding around. I note them down as a visual journal can be a bit like a personal piggy bank – then when I am not inspired at all I go through it and look at those ideas too. Usually this gets me going. Once I start working on block I usually lift out this too as each block is an interesting design challenge. If a block is not going anywhere for me I put it down and find another and work on that and I usually find when I return to it I don’t feel stale.
I always flag three quarters of the way through a large quilt. This since I know it always happens I just push through. Once again the visual journal helps. The only time this has not worked was after the fires here. For three months I did not pick up a needle. Usually when I am upset about something a needle and thread is my way of dealing with it, but this time it was not the case. I can’t remember a period in my life when I did not stitch so this was an unusual period. The way I lifted myself out that one was I participated in a swap – it was enough to push me along a little and three months later I was back in the swing of things.