Monday, March 24, 2014

Ta Da!!!!  My first finished Snowflake, after a break of more than 15 years.

It took four sessions to finish this, and they were a bit of a struggle, but I persevered.  By the time I finished, I was actually enjoying the process, instead of gritting my teeth and being frustrated at the slowness of it all.  I can't wait to start the next one, which is a good sign.
My stitching is much better than when I started, it was fun to watch the improvement happening; I'm getting nice smooth curves now, instead of herky-jerky ones.  It's fun to develop a new skill.

Ideas are starting to crystallise about the overall design for this quilt, and I'll start trying out backgrounds for the Sunflower blocks soon.  I'm starting to get excited about the project; once it takes on it's own momentum it will have it's own energy too, and I won't have to make myself sit down and sew on it.

While I stitch I think Deep Thoughts, and I wondered why I don't gravitate to this sort of intensive handwork normally;  there's a limit to how much time and effort I want to put into things I guess.  I'll sew madly away at my pieced quilts, I'll stay up late and get things finished, but I don't agonise over getting them perfect.  It's something I do for the love of the whole process , and the end product is for a magazine article, or to keep family and friends warm, or to donate to someone in need, or just because I love the colours and pattern. And I'm always ready to move on to the next project.

 I don't make masterpiece quilts, because I think there are better things in life for me to be doing, rather than creating something so painstakingly.  I can't justify putting so much of my life into one thing, that is susceptible to moth and mouse attack, or getting dirty and stained, torn or lost.  I don't want to make something to treasure; something to love maybe, but not a monument to my time and patience.  I love other people's masterpiece quilts, I'm so glad that they exist, but I don't want to make one myself.  I guess I'd rather my 'Body Of Work' consist of 400 useful quilts, than 4 masterpieces.

It's all relative though; if I was a pioneer woman confined to a cabin for 6 months of winter, and I had limited materials except for thread and time, I would probably make a quilt that was as detailed and complicated as I could make it.  The alternative would be to sit there and have nothing to do, so I would gladly applique the tiniest details, and quilt it with quarter inch lines, if it meant that there was something for me to do with my hands for all those long months.   It would give me a reason to get up in the morning.

 When I moved to Queensland in 1981 I had no money, and lots of time; I crocheted many, many things with ordinary cotton sewing thread, because it was cheap, a little bit went a long way, and it kept me busy when I hadn't the money for any other sort of activity.  The choice I make these days is only possible because I already have so many choices of what I want to do, and how I want to do it.  I'm very grateful to be in that position.


Dasha 7:28 PM  

I am totally with you there on the masterpiece quilts. While I love the actual process of the applique, piecing etc., I often look at the end result and think "there really isn't much USE for that". I am a practical person. I like nice things, but I like to use them, so my quilts need to be useful objects.

Jeanne 7:18 AM  

Hi Keryn,
I seldom leave comments on blogs, but your thoughts here really stuck a note with me. I make utility quilts also -- I'm close to 550 completions on my lifetime list. My quilts keep people warm. Every quilt I make will get washed in a washing machine. Babies and dogs lay on them and drag them around. They don't have 10,000 crystal beads or years' worth of hand stitching. I'm an artisan, not an artist, and I'm proud of my work!
Hugs ~ Jeanne

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