2015’s Big Idea

Mulling over my relationship to quilting has led me to adopt “quilt slower” as my phrase for 2015. No, this doesn’t mean I’m planning to hand quilt everything or turn a big pile of UFOs into cause for pride.

I intend to create quilts more thoughtfully, to better define the subject of my quilts before I begin. This means more preliminary work before even picking up my rotary cutter. To date I’ve been more an intuitive quilter, though in 2014 I did plan a landscape quilt from photo to drawing to top, and a series of variations on a square.

Mack_marsh_pinnedWorking in Series J. Mack aqua squares 3

Maybe because “quilt slower” has been on my mind I’ve noticed others are preaching slowness. Recently I came across The Slow Stitching Movement. This is Mark Lipinsky’s latest venture, complete with getaway, blog, and magazine. Then, there’s The Slow Fix by Carl Honore, which I’ve just started reading.

It remains to be seen how useful these sources will be as I suspect they may simply dress what’s already known in a new outfit. My goal is to stop and think – I believe this is called planning – before sewing. What is my purpose? How will this be used? These questions are easily answered for a bed or lap quilt; harder to answer for a purely decorative piece.

I may do a series to explore several takes on an idea or make fewer pieces that are more complex. One of my leftovers from 2014 is another, larger view of that marsh. It’s all drawn out on muslin, so I just (ha,ha) need to choose fabrics and sew it together.

I ask one favor of you. If I ever, ever use the word mindfulness, would you please slap me upside the head.



Filed under Commentary

10 responses to “2015’s Big Idea

  1. Complexity is over-rated! I recommend doing a complex piece that is deliberately an exercise in complexity. Otherwise don’t strive for it.

    Mindful: “pay attention” is a good alternative. Paying attention to what is going on NOW is the point of mindfulness. It helps keep from thinking too much about past or future.

    • On reflection, I think what I meant by a complex piece was one that wasn’t just a practice piece. I have started a drunkard’s path piece that draws on what I learned with a wall hanging. It will be complex in terms of size and working through a layout. Right now it’s at the cutting/piecing stage.

      I just flashed on “We look before and after, /And pine for what is not.” (Shelley’s To A Skylark) with regard to paying attention. If I recall, Shelley was envious of the bird’s soaring, joyous song.

      • Ah yes, I think I get what you mean. My reaction to complexity is based on my current project. Complex. I hope that it will be worth it, and not just come across as a big mess. I’ve learned so much about design over the last couple of years and so many of my choices are very deliberate because of what I’ve learned, but I still have a lot of learnin’ to do!

        Thinking about the past or future is not the problem, of course. Spending too much time in either place, neglectful of where we are right now, is. At least for me.

        stay warm!

      • Just think how boring quilting would be if we knew it all. I hope you feel proud (as you should) when you look at what you’ve created over the course of the years and see maturation in your work.

        And I hope Iowa is no colder than Ohio, where it’s now a balmy 16 degrees F, with a wind chill reading of -2 degrees.

      • Thank you. 🙂

        It’s 7 now, surely the high for the day. Sun is bright. We’ve had sun dogs repeatedly over the last 2 or 3 days.

      • Sun dogs — are they unique to Iowa? And what are they?

      • Not unique here. Ice crystal ring around the sun, similar in idea to a rain bow.

      • I miss those. Saw them regularly in Minnesota and Nebraska as a kid. Made a cold day into an exhilerating (sp?) one when you would go outside and lookup. Meant the day would stay sunny and clear.

  2. jennyklyon

    I missed something-what’s wrong with mindfulness?

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