Left Brain, Right Brain

I know some quilters who focus on one major project at a time. They may mull over ideas for other new pieces, but the actual cutting, piecing, sewing, and quilting  are confined to just the one piece.

Then there’s yours truly. Without consciously deciding to work this way, I always seem to have at least two big projects actively going. They are often quite different kinds of pieces. It’s as if my brain needs to have both hemispheres stimulated.

Right now I’m finishing up the top for a paper pieced project that features four color gradients. I just need to buy more of the narrow rickrack as I want to place it differently than shown. The hand dyed border strips aren’t sewn in place yet, so that’s why they may seem off kilter, and the end of the day photo doesn’t help.

leaves_topMy inspiration was a Craftsy course on color taught by Joen Wolfrom. I’m only about halfway through the videos but I just had to do a color gradient or two. The leaf pattern was developed by Deb Karasik.

My other work in progress is also related to an online course. I mentioned earlier that I’m taking a landscape quilt class and am using photos of a salt marsh in Annapolis Royal, Nova Scotia, for my inspiration.

Mack_marsh_pinnedThis piece needs a lot more work than the leaf one. Right now it’s tenuously pinned to a board. None of the edges are turned under. Because the pieces are cut oversize to make sure there’s enough fabric for complete coverage, they are larger than they will finish up. There’s been lots of trial and error and some creative adjustments based on the fabrics I had available. I’ll be fiddling with fabric choices for another day or so, and possibly longer.

Each of these pieces has called on a different skill set. For the leaf one, choosing the gradient fabrics was the most creative (and fun) part.

leaf fabrics

I paper pieced little bits of fabric together the same way 32 times. The biggest challenges were to make sure I covered all the edges with fabric and to remove the paper. I also did a lot of ironing and starching to get the blessed things to lie flat. I did fiddle with block arrangement. Once I sew on rickrack and the borders I think quilting will be straightforward work with my walking foot.

The landscape has required much more auditioning of fabric, and stepping back and squinting at the effect. I had to be ready to change the pattern shapes to accommodate the amount of fabric I had and the coloring of the fabric.

After I make final fabric choices I’ll have to iron under exposed edges for invisible applique or prepare the fabric for fusing. Some of the water pieces are so skinny that I think fusing will be the only way to go, and the grasses in the foreground will be fused. The quilting will be improvisational and free motion.

Both pieces satisfy different parts of my quilter’s brain. With the leaves I enjoy predictability; with the landscape I flirt with ambiguity. Now I need to keep focused on these pieces and not hare off to begin yet something else.



Filed under In Process

10 responses to “Left Brain, Right Brain

  1. Wow, these really are different! I like both a lot but really love the leaves–I always find stylized and geometric more appealing, it seems. I’ll look forward to seeing how the landscape one evolves!

    • I guess the only point these two have in common is that they are made totally from my stash. I’m finding the landscape more challenging, in part because there are so many steps to making it.

  2. Patty

    I usually work on one piece at a time, but have future projects floating around in my head. Right now I have three going on! Two are improv pieces although they are different blocks and one project that will be nine patches that I actually used a ruler to cut the strips. Your projects are very different and both beautiful!

    • What, a ruler???? From your blog I can see that you’ve got projects in heavy rotation, though the Michael Miller one looks to be near completion. It’s always nice to have a project that just needs busy work, like sewing a binding. Gives the brain a rest.

  3. I have a multitude of projects going. Some are new and some are very old–I’ve been excavating! None of mine are particularly creative but I’m enjoying the process of getting through them and for now that’s all I need. Maybe once the backlog of UFOs is tamed I’ll be able to tap the creative side!

  4. Both projects are great and I can see the benefits of moving back and forth between the 2. I wish I could limit myself to 2 projects at a time!

  5. jennyklyon

    Interesting thought that you are working both sides of your brain. I love, love the leaves-would love to take an immersion class with Joen.

    • I took a day long in person landscape quilt class from her, and found she was more relaxed in that setting than she is in the Craftsy videos. And she was extremely responsive with feedback after that in person class. Glad you like the leaves. My husband thought they were feathers.

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