Tuesday, August 23, 2005
I need to be passionate about whatever quilt I'm working on. When I'm not, it too often shows in the final result. Here's a prime example for you.
Back in 2004, I set out to make lap quilts for us since we hadn't brought any. Remember that I said I was foolish for thinking it doesn't get cold in Cairo? Well I am and it does. It can be particularly chilly inside, even with the central heat going, because the buildings are all designed to repel heat. Lots of marble and concrete walls. Great in summer, less thrilling in winter.
Anyway, for my lap quilt, I chose a style I'm quite fond of. Gwen's "Liberated String Quilts" has two examples, one modern which I love, and one antique that is okay, but still fun. More recently, Bonnie (over at Quiltville) has posted a couple of lap quilts done in this style and hers came out great.
So I decided to make a strippy using up fabric that I used to like, but now don't. Don't like the fabric - not a good beginning. I had loads of 2" strips, so I decided to use that width.
[Ooh, we've got gremlins in the plumbing. The water has been off for awhile and when it rushes back in it sounds really scary. The cats just freaked and fled the study - all bushy-tailed and low to the ground. I expected them to be in hiding, but they were very alert in the hallway - trying to decide which way to run.]
I did my best to sew them together randomly, not controlling placement of color, trying for a true scrappy effect. Okay, I admit I broke down here and there and made some deliberate choices. Wish I had made more.
Anyway, got this done and a year later I still dislike it intensely. I like it better in the photo than I do in person. I'm not saying it's a horrible quilt - just not what I want. I don't want that laying around in my living room, don't want to look down at my lap and see it. Ick. It's going to get donated to a charity project and will hopefully find a home with someone who appreciates it.
What did I learn? Follow Bonnie's advice and use fabric I hate only in very small bits. Forget about that random piecing stuff - I like my results better when I have some control.
And when I am not happy with what I'm doing I need to put it aside. I did that with my bed quilt with all the letters and when I came back to it six months later I was really pleased with it and it was a joy to work on. I have some other projects that I look at and think, why did I bother finishing that one? Obviously I didn't think it was thaaaat bad while I was working on it or I would have quit.
But is not that bad good enough? Shouldn't the mark be higher than that for a project I'm putting my time and materials into? Shouldn't I be wowed?
Not necessarily wowed throughout the project - about halfway or two-thirds done thru a big project I tend to get draggy and not so thrilled, so I have to compensate for that and try to differentiate between "this quilt is sucky" and "this quilt is taking too long and I like instant gratification."
Still it's a good question to ask yourself. Do I feel passionate about this project? Am I excited? When did I lose my passion - have I taken a wrong turn?
Okay, fine, good enough, and it'll do are not enough.
Okay, unless it's a crib quilt that is going to get thrown up on - fine is just fine for that kind of project.