Pussy Cat, Pussy Cat, Where have you been?

Two words: Custom Orders.

It's not that I don't like making custom orders. I enjoyed seeing these colours come together again. It's just that when I make these, I have nothing to say. Do you ever feel like that?

When I am creating something new, words spring out of me so that I can't help but write and share my feelings and processes. But when I make something over, something I've put into a pattern, so I don't want to share too much to respect my customers and my work....I am mute. I get into bed at the end of the day and realise I haven't blogged again. Not that I'm on a schedule or anything. I just find it interesting.

I finished off four drawstring quilts this week. I was happy to do this order because I do my colour wheels in batches of 6. I made the coloured quilt tops almost entirely from scraps, even unpicking leftovers from previous colour wheels. I was pretty proud of myself with that. My customer asked for Joel Dewberry's Herringbone for the back of two of the quilts so I decided to quilt along the white lines in white. I'm SO happy with that result.

And then yesterday afternoon, Tim and I sat on our back verandah and snipped sticky-outy threads because our generous neighbours let our kids come over and throw the ball for their dog. It was probably win win. :)

Fabric Fast Challenge #2: scrap wadding and other existential questions.

How do you sew "yourself"? I've had this question ruminating in my head for sometime, partly sparked by this post, (in which it was just talked about in passing), and partly by my latest quilt. This quilt is number 2 on my Fabric Fast challenges that are distracting me from my burning desire to go fabric shopping. I loved the look of Maureen's Quilt as You Go quilt and followed her tutorial to use up my masses of scrap wadding. Using scrap wadding is SO satisfying because you can SEE that mountain shrink dramatically as you use it. Unlike my scrap buckets which are just as full as they were 6 months ago, just with much smaller scraps.

I cut my strips 2.5" wide, split them into 'warm' and 'cool', sewed them end to end, then cut them 8.5" long. Then I  made these little squares and spray glued them to my wadding.

Then I quilted them really finely (about a 1/4" apart), trimmed them and sewed them together. (check out Maureen's tutorial for more pics and details)
As I was sewing them together, I wasn't convinced I liked the colours together like this. I started to think of ways I could attach sashing (I thought my ideas were pretty clever!) but in the end decided to stick to my original plan so the quilt didn't become huge or take forever, and because maybe like my last scrappy quilt, it would look great, despite the odds. Now I'm not so sure of my decision.

I mean, I don't think it's ugly, or a disaster. I even think it's pretty. And my friend Jo who was holding it for me when we went to the park today (hurray, sun!), said it was her favourite. I just don't look at it and think, "Yes!" or "That's so me!"

I backed the quilt with these flannels and I love the weight and texture. I do think it would make a really fun, robust baby quilt. I used this Seaside print for the binding. It's my favourite binding stripe so I always love when it goes perfectly. This is the first quilt I've bound, unpicked completely and tried again. Ugh! I attached the binding too far away from the edge so whenever it came to the think quilted seams, I couldn't stretch it over. It's still not perfect but it's sturdy! And I did have to put it down for a week just to see if I could find the imperfections a week later. I couldn't find as many! :)

So back to my musings...I feel like I've done a great job using my scraps this year, and other parts of my stash that I bought for specific projects. But now I feel like I'm on the hunt for some kind of self expression, not just emptying those buckets or ticking off lists. I know I've made some quilts like that this year. My Quilt for Moving On is a favourite. And my last scrappy quilt. And both of those used such different formulas. So I'm keeping in mind it's a journey. Some of my very favourites are really early ones, before I read blogs or bought celebrity fabrics lines. I didn't even know what scrappy was, but I just used what I had and loved it how bright and rich and sometimes clashy it was, like my first drawstring quilt here. (I would never use that rare AMH Centerpiece for binding now but I loved it, and still do!)

I'm always glad for good authors like C.S Lewis when I'm stewing about these things. In a quote I happen to have next to my bathroom mirror, he says about individuality and personality,

"The very first step is to try to forget about the self altogether. Your real self will not come as long as you are looking for it..."
                                                                             - Mere Christianity.

He says the same thing in other books about creativity and joy. The secret to finding myself is to give myself. So I will keep making, taking risks, trying new things, enjoying others' creativity, and my own. And when I'm buying fabric again, I want to think less about celebrity and fabric lines and what's on special, and more about prints and colours I like, and others I've learned I use a lot.

What about you? Do you feel like you've hit a groove and make 'yourself'. Do you know what you like and how to achieve it? Do you even care? (I know not everyone would think this very important.) And do you feel like there's a particular journey you take to get there? And how do you know you don't just like it because it's what everyone's making or selling?

 And look how short I am compared to my friend Jo! ;)

Heart Transplant

I've been staring at this Modern Medallion centre for a long time. I do really like this Anna Maria Horner Clippings, but I'm making this for a special friend, and I'd started to wonder if it was a bit too brave for a centrepiece. No one puts fluoro green and blue with maroon, brown and grey like Anna Maria!
So in order to finally move forward and feel confident about it, I decided on a heart transplant.

It's been interesting editing these photos and really liking it again. Maybe it's psychological because the surgery is over? Maybe the camera picks up tone and colour in a different way to 'in person'? Whatever it is, the original sat too warm and clashy. It's a look I often love, one that got me into fabric in the first place, but this time it was paralysing me. I just couldn't motivate myself to keep putting all that hand-stitching in if I wasn't sure she would enjoy it. So I decided instead on this Centerpiece, something much more cheery and safe, but still rich in colour. And in the photos, it sits much flatter. Hmm, interesting.

I cut out little bits of iron-on transfer paper to secure the top in place then cut around the new piece close to the orange Hugs and Kisses border.
I played around with the solids I had already chosen originally for the next border to make it a bit more cool and calm.

And then I sewed up the next round. I still feel pretty unsure about the overall feel. I'm looking forward to creating the next borders to enclose those light squares with some deeper colours, to bring in more green, blue and grey. Does anyone else find it hard to make for others? (compared to just making to try something new, or because you like it?)

Oh, I nearly forgot! I was here to announce a winner and got distracted!
My random number generator chose:
Congratulations Stacy! I'll email you now! Thanks everyone for dropping by and entering! Hope you get a fun email today too!
Jodi. xx