Jan 29 11
Congratulations go out to Jan Hood, who is the winner of the most recent fabric give-away! Thanks to everyone who played and I hope Jan can make something neat out of those fabrics that have been languishing on my shelves!
This has been a weird past couple of weeks because of my wrist; it’s been frustrating to refrain from as much sewing/quilting as I would normally do. The last few days have been remarkably better, though, and I spent a big part of yesterday out of my splint. I’m shocked how much muscle mass I’ve already lost in my hand and I can definitely tell a loss of power. My goal for this week will be to see how much I can resume and build strength while avoiding a setback. Because I don’t have much new work to show, I’m going to answer a question with some photos so you’ll get some kind of “quilting buzz” from your visit here. This photo raised the following question:
How do you come up with your designs? Do you draw them out free hand or use a
library of different designs you have collected? Your stitching once again
leaves me wondering if I’ll ever be able to do something like this?!?!?! I know
practice, practice and more practice.
I’m stitching these designs out freehand, but it’s a lot easier than what you’d think. Before I start showing you photos, I want you to know that I’m just like most of you. I have no formal artistic training and I haven’t spent hours painting or drawing. I learned how to draw by doodling with my sewing machine needle. I found that for myself, the most wonderful things would emerge if I simply allowed myself the freedom to just play around with designs on fabric. This means going into it with less of a preconceived notion of what the outcome should be or will be. Do I have a library of designs I’ve collected? Yes! I have a library in my head and a physical library of fat notebooks filled with quilt sandwiches covered with tons and tons of designs I’ve stitched out. But really, the secret to innovative free motion quilting is that you just keep re-using and re-purposing the same designs in different settings. The petal designs above are a great example; they’re swirls or curly-cues that flow from a slightly curvaceous “stem line.” Can you see the similarity in the asymmetric feather below:
Here, you see those same swirls and all that’s changed is the structure from which they flow. Here’s another example:
In this case, the swirls flow from a circle which serves as the inner spine line of the feathered wreath. Same swirl designs, just a different substrate. And in this photo, a smaller version of swirls also flows from circular base, but in this case, it’s the wreath spine itself:
So, at least for me, the key is to keep finding novel ways to use design elements that are already familiar to me. The curly-cue or swirl is a great example, because there are 20 million ways to reconfigure it. If you can even get 15 minutes of free time to play on a quilt sandwich that doesn’t matter to you, go for it! You’ll be surprised how much more creative you can be when you have no expectation for yourself!
And now on to the next give-away spurred by my ongoing sewing room clean-out. I’ve got a set of quilt blocks purchased off ebay many years ago that are looking for a nice home:
If you would like to piece this quilt (the blocks are in good shape; I just didn’t take the time to iron them before I took this photo), leave a comment to this post by 11:59 pm (eastern time) Saturday, Feb 5, 2011. I’ll pay shipping!