The Square Deal Falls Apart

I think the term square deal gained popularity thanks to Teddy Roosevelt who said, ” When I say that I am for the square deal, I mean not merely that I stand for fair play under the present rules of the game, but that I stand for having those rules changed so as to work for a more substantial equality of opportunity and of reward for equally good service.”

The words fair, honest, just, and equitable are used in many definitions of the term. However, my square deal began with cut squares of leftover fabric, ranging in size from 1.5 to 2.5 inches. I have bags of them, thanks to Bonnie Hunter’s scrap system, and I felt a need to put them to use.

So, I started sewing squares together, mostly into nine patches. Then I mashed those combinations together, filling in with strips where edges didn’t meet, or whacking off bits that hung over the edge.

To calm the chaos I divided the squares into four sections, separated by striped strips, and added a golden striped section beside each of the sections. That looked too tame.

I decided to deconstruct the connected squares and have them escape into the golden section. Just one or two looked lonely.

After consultation with an art quilt group I created many escapees, and padded them with batting. All the edges were turned under and stuck down with starch. I went through many arrangements of the squares, including squared up and crooked. Before I made my final choice I quilted the piece with a grid of different colors.

Crooked won out as I thought that better suited the idea of seams coming apart and squares flying off.

My quilt’s colors are bright and cheerful, yet I fear the outlook for the square deal in our society isn’t so optimistic. Would that our current president proposed a program like Teddy’s.

I’m linking to Off The Wall Friday.


Filed under Commentary, Completed Projects

22 responses to “The Square Deal Falls Apart

  1. So much fun to see those renegade nine patches “escape”.

  2. Judy Spencer

    I loved the way you share your thoughts as your quilt progressed. It turned out great!j

  3. Penny

    How fun, Joanna! I love the “escapee” squares. They add movement and playfulness to your piece. I looked up Paula Kovarik’s blog–truly inspiring and interesting! Do you ever sleep!?

  4. I appreciated seeing the steps of your visioning. And I love the end result.

  5. No matter how contemporary my art quilt tastes become I still love a bunch of colorful squares! It was fun reading/seeing some of your process and your end result looks great. You have a skill for composition (even without group help!).

  6. Sue

    Fabulous! As I scrolled through the photos my smile got bigger, and at the end I thought, “Oh, now you’re talking!” Thanks for sharing this.

  7. I love how the creative mind works. As I looked at the photos I though traditional, traditional, beginning arty, medium arty to art quilt. Rearranging is the key and I’m sure taking lots of breaks in between each choice helps to bring fresh eyes to the process too.

    • Kind of sums up my quilting evolution. I spared you all the different arrangements I tried. I’d go to bed thinking I had nailed it, and then exclaimed in horror the next morning.

  8. I’m with Kerry, it was not my favorite of your works. I really wanted to flip one or two of the horizontal sections the other way so I could see what it looked like with the big golden section to the left and the small squares to the right. But I really like the finished piece! And I love the red binding.

    • That’s why I filled in the golden sections with the squares, besides the point I found I wanted to make with this one. And it’s not my favorite either, but I did use up a lot of squares.

      • Well, the only reason it isn’t my favorite is that I like so many of your quilts! I just looked at a lot of the work in your “art quilt” category, and I still couldn’t pick my all time favorite. I love Primary Directives and also the one you did with the canal, the Bullseye quilt and so many more!

      • You get the tactful award of the week. Really, it’s okay that a quilt doesn’t appeal to you. If everything I made was wonderful, then life would be boring.

      • No, I do like it!!! I really, really like it! Even in its first incarnation, it wasn’t that I didn’t like it, it was that I just wanted to rearrange it a little and see if I liked another option better. But once you added the little escapees, I really liked it! Do you know the artist Hundertwasser? It reminds me of one of my favorites of his, The Windows’ Homesickness, a piece that I have wanted to capture in a piece of my own but never have.

      • It’s not everyday that I get a reference to Hundertwasser. Okay, you like my piece. I totally get the urge to try rearrangements and it’s too bad I didn’t try flipping the sections as you mentioned. But…there’s always next time. I still have lots of squares already cut.

  9. I can honestly say I pretty much hated this . . . until I got to the final photo and now it really appeals to me! It’s almost like a minimalist jigsaw puzzle, with those squares waiting to be picked up and assembled into more blocks.

    • Thanks for helping me see the other side of this one – glass half full, half empty. I had envisioned it as squares coming apart, but if the piece is turned on its head, then the squares are coming together. Guess I’ll need to sew a hanging sleeve at each end.

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