Thursday, August 27, 2015

Good save!

Several years ago I participated in a kind of round robin quilt design project organized by Terry Jarrard-Dimond.  After she sewed the finished composition together, I asked her if I could have the leftovers, because I just love sewing leftovers into quilts, especially leftovers from other people's projects.  I always think that the energy those others put into their work carries over and gives my work a new aura that I wouldn't get entirely on my own.

I sewed those leftovers into two separate quilt tops (see them here) and eventually quilted and finished one of the tops (see it here).  But the second top languished.  It ended up in my workshop box, being shlepped around to workshops around the country so people could see the back side of my fine line piecing.

Here it is on the wall when I taught at the Crow Barn last fall.

My students wondered why I had never finished it, and we talked about its compositional failures as an object lesson.  I said I didn't think the top half really matched the bottom half, and I didn't have enough of the blue and gray leftovers to really give those colors an adequate presence in the quilt.  I said I loved the yellow area at the top -- and then I blurted out "I really should cut this into two pieces!"

You have probably had such an experience yourself, where you are surprised to hear what comes out of your own mouth, and later realize that it was true.

So as the workshop went on, I took my seam ripper and opened the quilt top into two pieces.  Earlier this year I got both of them quilted and finished.

Fine line piecing has always reminded me of aerial landscapes, and these have names to reflect that.  I don't know if I would try to exhibit them as a pair, but that's a possibility.

Left Coast, 2015

Flyover State, 2015

It's taken almost five years to progress from leftovers to finished art, but I'm happy with these.  I've always believed that if you wait long enough, and keep your work within view, it will tell you what it wants to become.  And that's what happened here.


  1. Oh, these are both gorgeous, but I love the blue/red/yellow one the best. I also liked them as a whole, too, but what do I know about art :-)

  2. I really have to say I too, liked them as a whole. Still you are the maker so you know more about how it should be to be complete. Love your work. Have you ever ventured to Lincoln Ne to the International Quilt Study Center and museum?

    1. never have gotten there, but I would love to!

  3. I must tell you that I loved the undivided quilt in its strong colours - just a personal preference. En plus - I like your posts.

  4. I love these quilts and I really like this technique at which you are such an expert.

  5. I LOVE the revisions. I do think you could call the second one Flyover State--Kansas. That palette reminds me of home just about this time of the year when the soy and corn are at their peak.

  6. What a great lesson for all of us. Thank you for sharing. These are lovely, by the way. I really like them and agree that separating the parts was the perfect solution.

  7. Thank you so much for sharing this - the whole process, but especially this part...being stuck and then finally figuring it out. I've several projects tucked away in my studio closet that began because I was immersed in the process of making. Everything flowed and meshed...until I couldn't figure out what the next step was. You've inspired me to retrieve the works and let them talk to me again.

    Thank you!

  8. What a salutary lesson this is - but it's one thing to have the thought and another to have the courage to carry it out!
    It's interesting that you turned one of them through 90 degrees. What a difference that makes to the energy of the piece. One (the top) seems dynamic and positive and the other (the second) calm and gentle.
    I really like the two halves as separate pieces and think they would make a great pair if exhibited together, especially because of this contrast.