I've let too much time go by since my last post again. I have to admit that I've had trouble focusing lately. Feeling at loose ends is a fairly rare thing for me, but then there's been more turmoil in the world than I've ever experienced before. First there was a base level of chaos from the Trump administration and it seemed like daily decisions that made me cringe. Then we added campaign for the Democratic nomination; so many well qualified, inspiring candidates, but so difficult to know who would have the best chance of ousting Trump. Now the pandemic is disrupting life even more - a cancelled vacation, questions about whether my niece's June wedding will go ahead as planned. My little internal pep talk tells me that my lack of focus is understandable.
Understandable yes, but I also realize that I need to focus on something to get me through this period. Thankfully, an idea came to me sometime in the night a couple of days ago. Of course,it involves art and sewing. Though I haven't made a bed-size quilt in close to 30 years, I decided to make one for our king-size bed. I figure that's a project that should keep me focused for a few weeks!!!
I've spent a good part of the last couple of months doing random piecing, using up scraps. It's my keep-me-going activity when I don't know what to do next. I made perhaps a dozen "squares" ranging in size from about 24"x24" down to 6"x6." I just kept going even though I had no idea what I'd do with them. I just knew that they'd be more usable than bins of tiny bits.
I did find a use for one of the pieces when I made banner for the tent I use for outdoor art shows.
Making that kept me focused and busy for a while. When that was finished, I wasn't ready to go back to random piecing. I kept going with handwork projects, but I have to limit how much I spend on stitching to avoid sore hands. I needed a machine-sewing project too. It was such a relief when I thought of making a big quilt.
I spent maybe an hour thinking about making one following a pattern with regular-sized blocks. I looked at a bunch of books and found a couple that I liked and could imagine working on. I even started figuring out block sizes and whether I'd do a straight or diagonal set. Pretty soon I realized that doing that much preplanning would take much of the joy out the project for me. I much prefer starting with only a vague idea of what I want to do and figuring things out as I go. I wondered if I could follow that method for this.
So...I had several of the random pieces I'd already made that were in the colors I wanted to use, some bigger, some smaller. I took them downstairs and laid them out on our bed to get an idea if I could make bunches of random sized pieces and just fit them together to make something attractive. It seemed doable. So I made some more and I looked up instructions for the "quilt-as-you-go" method to see if it would be feasible for me to do machine quilting . It did, so now I had enough of a plan to commit to it. Yesterday I ordered the batting. This morning I did one more test layout to see if I could incorporate the 2" fabric strips my son gave me for Christmas as lattice between the "squares."
It's pretty crazy, but honestly I'm having a ball with it. I know the look will settle down more as I rearrange and add to it and when I am finished it will be a quilt full of memories. I'll keep you posted. Now I am going to piece some more.
Mother & daughter, Ann Lee & Sonja Lee-Austin share their joys and struggles in their art and lives.