Monday, September 18, 2017
Not exactly recycling...
I've been trying for the last several months to get rid of things that I no longer need, but keep coming across boxes of stuff stowed away in closets and under worktables. Sometimes it's straight to the grab bag pile, but other times I find work in progress, often things that I started in workshops years ago but never finished. And often those things aren't half bad, just not exciting enough to have made me work on them once I came home.
I've thought, seriously, that perhaps my next body of work should be using up all those partially pieced expanses. Because my fine-line piecing is so complicated and labor intensive, there's an awful lot of work invested in those little bits, and I hate to flush it down the drain. Uncut yardage can always be donated for charity quilts, but who wants to inherit a bunch of little modules of varying shapes and sizes that cry for more intricate piecing to match?
Last month I found a box with leftovers from an experiment in piecing with stripes. It happened at the Crow Barn in 2007 or 2008. I was struck by this array of batiks in the fabric store, variations on brown and chartreuse. I was just starting to experiment with striped fabric as the very fine lines separating my small shapes, so the striped fabric was also appealing. I also bought a chartreuse fabric marker so some of the white dots in the brown-and-white fabric could become green.
I sewed up a bunch of samples and was unimpressed. I have never been a fan of brown, and though I love chartreuse, there was too much just-kinda-plain-wishy-washy-green in this bunch of fabric. But I carefully folded and bagged up everything and took it home with me, to languish for a decade.
Halfway through I realized that I needed to make a quilt for my International Threads challenge, on the theme of "integration," and this could be it. So I made the piecing fit the IT size, quilted it up, and sent it back to Europe with Uta Lenk, who was visiting.
Not a masterpiece, but finished. Actually, not half bad -- I like the graphic contrast of the light and dark, and the many different variations on the simple three-color palette. And I love how all that long-ago sewing paid off in the end. There's plenty more unfinished piecing where that came from, and maybe I'll start working with those UFOs. I have enough square footage already sewed to occupy me for the rest of my life.