Saturday, August 15, 2009

It's the Journey for Me

If your favorite kind of blog entry is one about a finished project, my blog probably won't be on your favorite's list. You see, I just don't seem to get many things to the finished stage. Don't get me wrong, I love a happy dance as much as the next gal, but it's not what drives me. For me, it's the journey.

I usually start a new project with the pattern. I am not and will probably never be an "art quilter." Maybe it comes from my history as a cross-stitcher, but for me, my jumping off place for a new quilt is the pattern. I never feel comfortable when I try to start a quilt from the fabric-pulling stage - I always have a pattern in mind when I raid my stash. Now, that doesn't mean I won't make changes to the pattern - quilt or cross-stitch - but I don't like to start from nothing. I have to have a plan to work from.

I've even considered translating a photograph into a quilt. But I can't just look at the photo and start creating the quilt from bits of cloth and thread, oh no. I have to come up with a way to enlarge the photo onto paper so I can make templates. Of course, the easiest way to manage this is with a projector and a dark room. Unfortunately, I don't own or have access to one. So, I'm stalled, waiting for inspiration to strike and show me a different way to get my templates.

Don't get me wrong, I love the process I choose to make my quilts. That's what keeps drawing me back to the craft. The more handwork a project has, the more I love it. I'm actually considering giving my rotary cutters and cutting mats away and going back to templates. They're tried and true and I get much better results using temmplates than I ever did with a rotary cutter. Plus, it connects you to your project more, the more you handle it. You stitch more memories into it the longer you work on it. Heck, I've got projects that I've been working on for over 8 years, and I love them as much now as the first day I started working on them. I'm almost afraid to finish some of them - it will be like losing a good friend that I could sit down and enjoy the evening with.

On that note - I'd like to share a couple of things I did manage to get finished. These are my carry-along goody bags. The first one is my current favorite. I got the pattern as a free insert from Connecting Threads when I purchased a fabric pack. You can find it here, with a different fabric pack than the one I bought.

(I have no idea how the link to the above picture was goofed up...sorry - I also don't know how to fix it)

I changed the pattern slightly by stuffing one of the inner pockets with fiberfill and stitching the top closed, rather than constructing a round pincushion for the bottom of the inside. I still want to add beads to the drawstrings, but I haven't made the time yet. As you can see, it holds everything I need to work quite well, and when it is closed, it becomes small enough to toss into my bag for work so I have everything I need for breaks and lunches.

This next one is another favorite of mine. I made this one from a pattern that was given to me (I don't know where it came from). I modified it again by making the outer layer of fabric a solid piece, rather than construct the flying geese that the pattern calls for. It's a good way to use a favorite piece of fabric.

The ends are stuffed so they can be used as temporary pincushions. Long-term needle/pin storage is inside the flap, though, so nothing comes up missing during transport. It holds quite a bit, as well, and is very compact, too. You may notice on the close-up of the following picture that the end circles are a bit worse for wear. That would be because Pips, our dog, got a hold of this when he was a puppy and thought it tasted very good. Luckily, I was able to rescue it before he did too much damage, and just a bit of minor repair got it back to decent shape again.

Oh! And in case you thought I had forgotten about Summer Days, I finished the 3rd border last weekend! I tried to get "artsy" with the photo, so it's not the best, but I'm still learning how to do this whole photography thing. I'm working on the last border now and hope to get it done in the next week or two.

1 comment:

Exuberant Color said...

I'm with you about finishing some of the projects. I know that as long as they are in their unfinished state, no one else can own them. Once they are finished, it is like a friend who is saying good-bye.

I have to say that I think rotary cutting is more accurate than templates and also faster. You do have to have the right height table though. Rulers slip if the table is too high, and backs hurt if the table is too low.