Those ‘aha’ moments

I’d been pondering quite a bit about how to put together my Log Cabin with a Twist Quilt. Simply alternating polka dot and Log Cabin squares just didn’t seem interesting enough. I wanted something that really blended the traditional and the innovative into a whole composition. Searching for those ‘aha’ moments isn’t easy- and in the end the best ones always take you by surprise. Thankfully mine came, in the middle of my routine morning yoga practice, and I instantly new it was the way to go. So, I made an even larger Log Cabin center whose own center is a polka dot square. I realize that might not make much sense at first, so here it is:

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I’m going to arrange the smaller polka dot squares around this central square, and the Log Cabins around those. I’m thinking of the entire quilt as an expanded Log Cabin square in and of itself. This will probably make more sense as it progresses. You may also notice I added a few polka dots to the central square- when it comes to polka dots, more is more; I decided it’s worth the extra time.

Speaking of time, I stumbled upon another brilliant idea this week that will enable me to make better use of mind. It’s all thanks to an old Summer 2006 issue of “Quilting Arts” which I happened to be flipping through when I came across an article on Jeanne Williamson, a quilt artist who was in a creative rut and decided to make one small art quilt per week- which she did for seven years, thus creating 365 little quilts! My first reaction; way too ambitious. Yet the idea intrigued me… and just wouldn’t leave my mind. The next day I started my first mini quilt and yesterday I finished it.

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It’s made of strips of three different black and white fabrics, sewn together, cut andrecombined. The most unusual part is the curly cue which is a rolled up piece of fabric that I attached with large, spaced-out stitches andtwo buttons to the quilt top. Why? For the sake of experimentation, to expand my quilting repetoire, to keep the wonderful process of quilt making fresh and evolving.0034

I truly believe that Jeanne Williamson is on to something brilliant. Certainly, part of the beauty of my larger quilts is that they’re a commitment, a long and devoted process. In making them, I fall into a rhythmic and steady process with the final product in mind. On the other hand, this doesn’t leave much room for spontaneity. I’m also much more wary of applying new techniques to a larger product- what if I spend months on a quilt only to realize I don’t like the overall effect? These little quilts (about 12 by 12 inches) are like the quilting equivalent of sketches- you needn’t fear imperfections or experiments gone wrong. I even took Jeanne’s advice and used a zig zag stitch to seal up the borders, nothing fancy.

Hopefully, these mini quilts will allow me to continue evolving as a quilter as I complete my larger projects. I’m really thrilled about the idea- especially since there’s so much I want to do, from dying fabrics to puff quilting. In addition to new techniques, I like the notion of having some that are more ‘journal’-like. In fact, this one was vaguely inspired by a Ben Kweller concert I attended since the most persistent image of the evening was the black and white acoustic keyboard set against a bright red drum set. Admittedly, I strayed pretty far from this initial vision, but that’s really the point. Of course, I’m going to date them (I decided to record the Sunday of each week):

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Right now I’m feeling invogorated- though I realize this is quite the undertaking and I’m going to have to let go of some of my more perfectionist tendencies to realize it. That being said, this first mini quilt has hardly prevented me from progress in other areas. The Birds in the Air quilt is tied and has about 2 more feet of border to stitch up before completion!

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Well, the ties are hard to see but if you look closely there’s red, blue and green. I’ll probably finish up the border this afternoon.

As for knitting, I’m in the midst of swatching a polka dot pattern using Cascade Yarns Sierra. While that project begins, I’ve also returned to a long-neglected project that I began this summer. It’s very simple- shockingly so for me- just a pink pullover in stockinette with a ribbed border:

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I’ll admit that the simple design is not incidental. It’s due to the fact that I’m using Classic Elite’s 100% cashmere Romance yarn. For projects like this, the material sort of ‘takes over.’ Yarn this luxurious (both to wear and to knit with) doesn’t need any embellishing. I’m not sure how the project fell so far off my radar for the past few months, but I’m back on it with renewed determination!

In non-crafting news (if such a thing really exists in my life) this coming weekend is full of Birthday celebrations; my boyfriend’s 24th tomorrow to my 22nd on Monday. This means that I’ve been feverishly working ahead all week, getting a head start on readings andpapers, so I can have a joyful weekend full of my favorite things; home, family, friends, good food and plenty of time for quilting and knitting- so I guess there really is no such thing as non-crafting news.

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