Sunday, November 14, 2010

placemat quilt swap 4 - sent

alternate title - process post

i've seen on other blogs, quilters writing about the process of making a quilt. instead of "here's my latest finish", the post is about the process of thought and/or technique of making the quilt. there's even a button to add to your blog in case you are interested in joining. the process pledge also encourages us to show works in progress. and since this was a secret swap, i only shared a little of the process.

ready for some honesty?

pqs4 sent

kim/bahamadawn and i decided that we would swap two placemats. she mentioned that she liked my houses, birds and words. she also mentioned that she liked red + pink together and blue + green together. the first placemat i made was the red/pink house one. it was like i was on auto pilot and using a formula. sadly, i didn't put much thought into beyond what fabrics to use. i have made so many houses that i could almost make them with my eyes closed. and it shows in this placemat. (sorry kim)

being busy, having less time to sew, getting ready to go on vacation - with all these reasons, part of me thought that i could just whip these placemats out and move on. well, after finishing the first one and realizing i didn't have time to make a replacement, i knew i would have to put some thought into the second one. i couldn't just plug fun fabrics and a few blocks into a formula and be happy.

i started thinking about all the placemats that i have made. out of my favorite ones, why were they my favorites? i like lots of fabrics, a scrappy look, a slightly chaotic look, a balance of color, a full design (not lots of empty spaces). i like my placemats (and quilts) to be a visual feast. something you can look at more than once and still "find" things in it. maybe that's why i like i spy fabrics so much.

now look at placemat #1 again. hmmm. didn't meet my requirements. no wonder i'm not thrilled with it. it's a bit of a snooze. see that rectangle of different red fabric up in the left corner? that was the last part of the piecing. i think it was my attempt to liven up the placemat.

pqs4 sent

now for placemat #2. after deciding on the main elements - word + bird and blue/green, i used lots of fabrics. i decided to put a little orange and a little black and white into the mix. i admit that i picked "joy" for two reasons. it was short and i didn't know what to use even though i poured through kim's pictures and her blog. after i made the bird and "joy", i realized it needed more. hello tree. after laying all that out, it needed some filler. instead of a "background" fabric, i pieced together some strips to put on either side and down the middle. that filler catches the eye instead of blending in. while making the filler strips, i tried to balance out the colors with what was already in the placemat so that no one spot was heavier in a particular color than another. do you see how the black and whites in opposite corners balance each other? and the orange in the bottom left balances the orange in "joy"? and even with that orange and black/white, the overall placemat still reads as blue and green. lots of color, a scrappy and chaotic look, a balance of color and a full design. done!

placemat quilt swap 4

there you go. my process. making these placemats and writing this post have clarified for myself how i think when i am making a quilt. i hope you enjoyed a glimpse into how i make decisions when piecing a quilt.

kim, it was a pleasure making these for you. even though i'm not thrilled with placemat #1, i still like it. if i had the time to make it over, i would have.


this was not a post where you reassure me that my placemats are good and not to worry about placemat #1. this was a post to show my thoughts. i'm sure we all go through liking and disliking our quilts. it happens. not every quilt can be spectacular. i don't want to get to a point where i am always trying to out do my last quilt. yes, i want to improve and grow, but i also want to make quilts that make me happy. my goal shouldn't be the oohs and ahhs and people marking pictures on flickr as "favorite".


Mary Perrine said...

Hey.. your honesty is awesome and I feel that way a lot. The goal is to Flickr members ooo and ahh, but also to make the recipient oo and ahh. I love eye candy and in my quilts I try to make lots and lots of detail. That is probably why I like your houses so much too : )

Anonymous said...

I love your thoughts. It's so easy to get caught up in trying out outdo your last project. Then I find myself frozen and not able to do anything. The process itself is fun and whether anyone else likes it is just icing on the cake, as they say.

susan said...

I really enjoyed this peek into your thought process. I think I need to do something similar. I love how altho there is a lot of color in the 2nd pm it does read as blue/green still. Great post

Kris said...

This was so great to read. I like how you describe what you like. It helped me think about what it is that I like about the quilts I've been drawn to recently. so thanks! :)

Tine said...

Great post! I like this look into your process. I think I will have to sit down and think about how I make my decisions. So far, I don't know! How strange is that??

Anonymous said...

nice to hear your thoughts.
I always try to tell a story with the fabrics...sometimes I draw a picture and that really helps me plan it better but I usually just get in the mood and let the fabrics talk. I like to put them on flickr to see what folks say and usually when they don't say anything I think maybe it's not so's fun to just have the freedom from a pattern to make what ever too! I must admit I love your word placemats- the give thanks still makes me smile.
I just finished the dishes and am going to take a shower and then put on my jammies and watch Elf.
Merry Christmas to you and yours, my friend!