I seem to turn out a lot more quilts than I used to but I think it’s because at least half of what I make are sketches rather than full blown “important” works. I like working small scale with very limited expectations beyond slap the fabrics together and see what develops. I sometimes set limitations to work within, such as my fabric has to come from my “to be filed” box, or I can use only light colored fabric.
I do try to at least quilt and finish the edges of these works. I can always use them as quick gifts or pads on a table.
It seems I’m not the only one who is into quilt sketches. Gwen Marston chronicled her sketch series in 37 Sketches (published in 2011). No, I’m not comparing my work to hers. I gather from the one negative review (and the only review) on Amazon and the book’s limited availability that this isn’t her most widely recognized book. You can read more about it at See How We Sew. Here’s a link to how to order a copy from Gwen. I haven’t gotten my hands on a copy as no library in the state of Ohio owns it and I don’t know if I want to spend $30 for a 96 page book, however lovely.
While Gwen made small (about 9 by 10 or 11 inch) pieces she completed in a day, I usually spend a few days on each sketch. Also, my pieces tend to be larger, about 13 by 18 or 19 inches, but no larger than 24 by 24 inches. The first rush of design and piecing takes me about a day, and fine tuning and finishing go on for a few more days. Sometimes this happens in one fell swoop, but I’m more likely to let my first drafts age a few days before revisiting them. A few have been aging in a drawer for years.
Of course, sometimes I never finish the piece as I decide it’s fatally flawed. Sometimes I reach that conclusion after finishing it. And sometimes I set it aside to use in a larger future piece.
Why do I like doing this? It’s therapy for me to sew bits of fabric together just to see how they look. I feel freer to slash through a piece that’s not working and try something else if it’s not a “good” piece. I get bored easily so a small piece can be finished faster, in theory. I can work on two or three sketches at the same time. And they make a nice break when (not if, please note) I get stuck on a larger piece.