June 6, 2012
Over the weekend, I got out my sewing machine for the first time in quite a while, because I really, really need to get the baby quilts done for the grand-nieces while they are still babies. I had a bit of a setback when I discovered that the batting I’d bought especially for these quilts was too small (yes, I should have measured the tops before I headed off to JoAnn; I’m out of practice since it’s been ages since I’ve been at this stage of a quilting project). Fortunately, I found two leftover pieces of batting in my stash that I could use (one I had to very carefully align because it was just exactly tall enough, and the other I had to trim down quite a lot, but I felt very resourceful that I didn’t just run back out to the store). Basting with safety pins didn’t take as long as I feared and soon I was quilting away. I got the center of both quilts done so now need to decide what to do with the borders. I’m hoping to figure that out and get it done this weekend. If I’m very lucky/efficient/motivated, I’ll get started on the binding, too.
One thing that’s spurring me to focus on getting the baby quilts done is wanting to try out some ideas I got from reading Create Your Own Free-Form Quilts by Rayna Gillman. I’ve played around with improvisational quiltmaking some in the past, even took a multi-day class with Nancy Crow way back when, but the process never really clicked for me. As I read this book, though, I got more and more excited to try again. There’s a section in it about reinventing UFOs (UnFinished Objects, for you non-crafters out there) that really grabbed me and gave me hope that someone like me could break out of the traditional quilting mode. One piece in particular that was pictured in the book just stunned me; it’s by CÃ©cile Trentini from Switzerland. You can see a photo of it on Rayna Gillman’s blog post about the Ugly Block Challenge that resulted in CÃ©cile’s quilt. I am just fascinated that a traditional block made with a glaringly bright calico print could lead to such a great piece of fiber art. Maybe I won’t end up making great art, but I’m very excited about playing around and seeing what I can come up with and having fun with my fabric. That will be my reward for pushing through the parts of the process that aren’t my favorite to get the baby quilts done.