getting our courage up

Does much of anything beat starting a new quilt! I love pulling out fabric and seeing what goes and what doesn’t; and then choosing the ones that don’t necessarily go as well as the harmonious ones.

I recently found, when I was looking for potential quilt backs – (which are fabrics I bought because I loved them but when I get them home, I just can’t see how I’m ever going to use them on a quilt top) – , anyway I found some panel prints. That is prints that could simply be sandwiched, and quilted as is without any piecing.

I’m never sure why I buy these. I imagine I fall in love with the graphics but when I get them to my studio, I am flummoxed. I don’t want to cut into them because they work so well as a whole. On the other hand, what I do is cut into fabrics. So I need to remind myself that nowhere is there anyone who will arrest me for cutting a gorgeous panel into many weird sections.

So much of quilting, and any art, is about courage. Having the courage to begin. To stare at a black design wall or a blank piece of paper, and have the courage to audition fabrics and play with designs.

For us quilters, having the courage to actually cut into the fabric takes a lot of umph. Supposed we make a mistake?!?!

Good news! There are no mistakes! And there is always more fabric. The pioneer women, piecing log cabins while they rode across the prairies in their covered wagons, had to make do. And one of the unique hallmarks of our art, one that I love, is that long heritage of making do with what is at hand – or, in other words, if you cut up too much of one fabric, you just grab another.

This shows a flexibility – okay maybe born of necessity but still – of design. Maybe it was  simple practicality. No fabric stores on the Chisholm Trail. But it comes down to us as the right to improvise. And to  be not quite so rigid. After all when we look at those amazing antique quilts, what do our eyes light on? Always the different piece of fabric.

So sometimes we need to remember that our heritage as quilters includes this tremendous gift – the right to complete our quilts as we see fit. I think we get hung up in the “rules” – the ¼ inch seams, the stitches-to-an-inch – all the things that stifle our creativity. Whereas we are actually the descendants of women who were constantly improving. Is that freeing, or what!

one circle q

So anyway I am thinking of somehow pulling together these fabrics in a quilt. I have been staring at them all for days. And days.

And I have finally figured out that what I have pulled out is two quilts. One is going to be basically red and black and I’m starting on it first.

The other is going to have to live on the design wall for a while longer because I have no idea where it’s going.  But I am cutting up fabric and having a great time. And improvising right, left, and center. Whee!two focusing in