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! ;)