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?
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.
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!
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".