Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Serendipity strikes again

I wrote yesterday about a quilt I made for my International Threads group challenge, responding to the prompt "green.".  I'm embarrassed to say that in the rush of making three huge quilts for a Quilt National entry, I got way behind in my work for International Threads.  But I'm almost caught up now.  Here's how I made a quilt for our "autumn colors" challenge.

After I finished the Quilt National things, I decided I needed to do some cleaning of the studio and was sorting and consolidating a bunch of samples that I had made in Nancy Crow workshops a long time ago.  I came upon this piece,

noticed the colors, and decided it might be recycled into an "autumn" quilt.

My first thought was just to take the left-hand part of the composition, trim it to size and quilt it, but then decided that would be a kissoff.  It needed something more.
There were no leftover bits of the autumn colors fabric in the bag with this piece, but fortunately in my cleanup I had also come upon some yellow, orange and red fabrics that were sitting there waiting to be put away, and I used them for fine lines.  Here's what I came up with:

In my long artistic career I can't tell you how many times serendipity has played a huge role.  The fact that I hate to clean up the studio and put things away means there's often something sitting around wanting to play.

For my green quilt, it started with the pile of fabrics that I had lent to somebody else who needed some green, and never put away after she returned what she didn't need.  For this quilt, it was the found work-in-progress plus the red and orange solids.

I think that my messy studio is not a sign of moral turpitude, but an integral part of the way I work.  If everything had been neatly put away neither of these two quilts would have happened.  And I suspect that had I started from a clean worktable and an empty mind, I might not have had nearly as much fun.


  1. It's all in the way you work. For me, opening up the storage and looking at all those colors and patterns I haven't seen lately provides an explosion of delight that leads to inspiration. But of course I don't get nearly as much done as you do.

    Mary Anne in Kentucky

  2. I'm new to your blog (and to quilting in general) and while I'm not sure how I found my way here, I'm looking forward to exploring.

    That being said, I work much better in (barely) controlled chaos ... call it the stratigraphy of scraps. But there is indeed something to be said for the periodic (annual-ish) organizing that invariably unearths forgotten bits and leads to new ideas. Your post has reminded me that I'm overdue. Thanks for that.

  3. Wow! That change is so dynamic! and I love those quite vivid diagonal stitches that echo that most prominent diagonal stripe in the lower right. Somehow they become the thing(s) I see first.

  4. I have to agree with you about the state of the studio. It is much more fun to have discoveries in the piles that blend right into our current projects.

  5. The addition of the narrow strips plus the diagonal quilting lines make this really spectacular. Thanks for sharing -- I always enjoy your blog.

  6. It's amazing what that fine line piecing can do to a piece. This is a winner! I also like the way you quilted it in diagonal lines.
    Are these quilts shown anywhere or is it all online? It would be fun to see what the rest of the group has done.


  7. Incredible shift adding movement and depth. Hurray for serendipity! Oh and analysis, synthesis, and labor.

  8. Incredible shift adding movement and depth. Hurray for serendipity! Oh and analysis, synthesis, and labor.

  9. The diagonal crosshatch quilting really adds a lot of depth. Nice piece!