August 5, 2005
Not too long ago I was clicking my way across the internet and came across dioramarama, where Kim posts about quilting and fabric and other creative stuff she’s into. Before I knew it, I’d bought two quilting books just because she wrote about them (Denyse Schmidt Quilts and The Modern Quilt Workshop), even though I have many, many quilting books already, including the color book by Bill Kerr and Weeks Ringle, the people who wrote the Modern Quilt one–and now I’ve decided to join her Modern Quilt-Along. Sure, I’ve barely managed to do any quilting at all in the last few months, but I’ve never done an -Along and maybe that’s just the thing I need to spark my creativity again.
There are lots of patterns in the book I can see myself making, but for the purposes of the Quilt-Along, I narrowed it down to two, because I had Big Ideas for them. The Big Idea, in Kerr/Ringle speak, is the jumping off point for picking colors and fabrics for a quilt. Since choosing colors and fabrics is my favorite part of the whole process and not something I struggle with, I’m skeptical about whether the Big Idea idea is for me. Still, it’s good to try new approaches because who knows what I might learn, so I’m starting from a Big Idea (or at least an Idea).
I considered using the gem room at The Field Museum as inspiration for Boomerang, an exercise in sharp points and transparency. I think it would look great in amethyst and emerald and ruby and aquamarine on a black background. (My crude rendering of the pattern from memory is here; I couldn’t find a picture online.) But I don’t want to fuss with templates and tricky angles right now, so I’m going with the other plan.
I’ll be doing the Treehouse pattern (which I swear I read an article about in some magazine but when I went looking for it I couldn’t find it). It uses lots of different fabrics so I won’t get bored and it doesn’t require templates or a lot of precise cutting. My big idea is skiing. At first it was skiing in the trees, but that would mean a mostly brown and green quilt–as Mr. Karen made me realize when I asked him what colors he associated with the idea–and I wanted to work more with snowy colors, whites and blues and greys. (They seem especially appealing in this hot muggy weather we’ve been having.)
To start, I did a few experiments in EQ. I started with whites and greys and creams with brown and dark green branches.
I tried popping in a few brights to represent the colorful outfits people wear on the slopes.
I played with making the branch pieces wider–still thinking about skiing in trees, when there’s more forest around relative to snow and sky.
The wider branches look clunky to me, so I won’t be doing that. I’m undecided about the bright accents, but I don’t have to decide about them right now. I liked the overall concept enough to start pulling fabric. Anything that could reasonably be described as white or icy or grey made the cut. I included some taupe and cream, too, mostly because those were the lights I had in my EQ palette when I was playing. After I’d gone through my Fairy Frost and Lakehouse stacks, I decided to look more closely at some of my skiing pictures, like this one from Grand Targhee, to see what colors there actually were in those scenes. I played with the image in Paint, shrinking it and stretching it and zooming in; it looks like white and greys (warm and cool) and blues, so maybe the taupes and creams will have to go. We’ll just have to see how it looks in the fabric. There isn’t any brown or green in that particular picture, but there will be in the quilt, because I know the trees under all that new snow are those colors and most ski days they’re not covered up.
Instead of writing morning pages today, I pulled more fabric. By the time I left for work, my stack looked like this:
I think that’s enough to get started (just call me the mistress of understatement). I’ve told myself I can work on this quilt only if I also work on the baby quilt I abandoned during my recent malaise. I did get the backing for that ironed and the layers basted the night the Modern Quilt book arrived, so this Quilt-Along has already started to re-energize me.