A Window On My Creative Process

Geometry gets quite a workout when I set out to make a new quilt.  I circle around an idea, triangulate placement of fabric, develop odd angles.  In fact, the only thing my process doesn’t do is follow a straight line.

I wish I could tell you I develop a design on paper, work out my colors, and then fine tune on my design wall.   Sometimes this actually happens, but I’m more likely to grab a bunch of fabrics I think should get to know each other better and then figure out how they should relate to each other. I don’t use any software such as EQ because I fear that once I get the design looking the way I like I won’t bother actually making the quilt.

One commenter asked if I ever wrote about my process, so I thought I’d give an example.  This is a long horizontal piece I’ve named Alex’s Windows.  It’s pieced but not quilted as I have a few decisions yet to make.

Alex's_windows_closeupI began with a pile of hand dyed fabrics that I threw up on the design wall.  I don’t mean that literally, but I guess you could take it that way, given the messy nature of the dyed fabric.

Alex's_windows_fabricThen, I began shaping three sections with big chunks of this fabric plus scraps from my storage boxes.

hand_dyesNext I decided to unify the sections with long thin strips of fabric that would run through and across the sections. I toned down that pink and orange.

A's_window_2I also tried a different orientation. Nope. I decided I wanted a horizontal orientation, turned the pieced around, and left it up.  When my son visited he remarked that it reminded him of windows, so the piece gained a title.

I added coping strips to even out the sizes of the sections and trimmed up the edges.  Then I got to thinking about windows.  Windows often have curtains.  I pulled out some green sheer fabric and tried positioning that over about a third of the piece.  I liked the softening effect and decided to try making large strips of the sheer to hang free over the front.

A's_window_curtainAnd that’s where this piece now stands.  I haven’t figured out yet if/how to finish the edges of the sheer.  I’ve read about a technique where you burn the edges to seal them.  I don’t want to try turning them under and sewing them as the material is slippery and I fear it will stretch, ripple, or simply ravel more. Of course, I could simply leave the edges unfinished. I plan to face the quilt’s edges so I can enclose the top edges of the sheer strips in the seam.

I can’t say exactly how much time I’ve spent on this as once something is up on a design wall I’ll drop by and fiddle with it for a few minutes over the course of a day or days. Of course, I’ve also been known to ignore a piece for weeks if something else takes my fancy or I get stuck.

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