September 22, 2011

the quilt that is testing every ounce of my patience

I've been having a pretty good run of creativity lately. I made a bunch of new quilts (7!!) for my show at Park University in the span of about two months. They all were easy peasy - get an idea, dye the fabric, piece the top, quilt the thing, done. No issues, no ugliness, just a series of good quilts. Then it all went down the drain. There is going to be a Kansas City Art Institute Faculty show in October and of course, I wanted to make a new quilt for it. And of course, it should be kind of big. At first I thought queen size, but there will be 35 of us in the show and a queen size quilt seemed like a space hog. So I went with twin size (65" x 88" ish).
Nothing is going right with this quilt (you can read more about it in my last blog post).
Here it is in phase 3. I didn't take pictures of phases 1 and 2 because I forgot. And they were just too dreadful. To be fair, phase 1 wasn't really that bad. It just wasn't great. You know? It was fine, but boring. Phase 2 was pathetic and looked like I was trying too hard. Phase 3 is everything that happened on Saturday night, if you're following along. I really love the piecing in the lower left quadrant of the quilt. That will have to come back in another quilt, with slightly different colors.
In phase 4 I decided this was a winter quilt. So I dunked the whole bottom half in thiox (a really pungent chemical that strips dye out of fabric) hoping it would turn white. It turned a weird light greenish-tan. I knew that would happen, I'm not sure why I thought thiox would do something different this time, but there it is. So then I thought it would all be magically fixed if I dyed the bottom half a really pale blue color so it would like kind of icy. It didn't. It looked green. Bright, acid green with some sections of pale blue. Gr! So phase 6 was stripping the color out again (!!!) with thiox. Phase 7 was to dye the bottom half black.
All of the lovely piecing is still there, its just now all brownish and blackish and purplish. This is the thing after I quilted it for the second time. That's right, second time. The first time I quilted the bottom with some green thread that is really very lovely in theory, but in practice it looked like hell so I spent nearly 2 hours ripping out all the quilting. I'm happy. I think. Maybe I'm just happy to be nearly done with it (only binding to go).

Does anyone remember the Barbie doll who would say "math is hard"? There was a commercial for her I think when I was in high school, which would have been the mid 90's. She was annoying and made an even worse role model for girls than she already was. Anyways. Quilting is hard.


  1. quilting is hard (so is weaving!) - but the good news is I really like the last one! your reward for sticking with the process.

  2. I once heard "Nothing worthwhile is ever easy." Don't know who said it, but it's so true.

  3. I'm not even lying when I say...we just sold 2 of those barbies in our yard sale and we had at least a dozen before that. The thing about that barbie was that only some of them said math class is hard, but it started some controversy and they were pulled off the toy store shelves. Ask me sometime to tell you how we came to get a dozen or so of them. Also...I like the last quilt best, but I keep looking at it as 2 halfs and not a whole. What would it be like if you reduced the top half to the bottom third only? Also, another option is to consider turning it 90 degrees. Thought it might seem less like a starwars scene scape this way. All these comments sent with love...I'm a big fan.

  4. one thing about the difficult process is that it forces you to come up with genius workarounds or solutions. i like the black lower portion of the quilt, especially if its used to showcase interesting quilting.

  5. Two thumbs up for the black. It was a fantastic choice. I want to go to there.

  6. I agree, everyone. Difficult things are good even thought they don't feel good at the time. They make you problem solve and often turn out much more interesting than easy things.
    Jaime - I'm so excited you know about the Barbie! I can't wait to hear why you had 12 at one time.

  7. whenever something creative i'm doing goes south, i usually set it aside and never finish it. i admire your persistence, and the final product looks great.