I finished the front of Gary’s quilt late this afternoon. But I wasn’t ready to stop. I had an urge to work on the back of the quilt.
For some reason, I still design the backs of my quilts the way I used to before visiting Gee’s Bend. That is, I lay out all the fabric first then sew it together. Now I sew each piece as I go, not knowing what the final design will look like till it’s done. This process takes trust in my intuitions and abilities. I’ve been making my quilts this way for over a year, but today was the first time I used the same process when making the back of the quilt.
I think I was still using my old process to make the backs because I see the back as not as important. Also, I’m just trying to get a piece of fabric that’s the right size and that works with the front of the quilt. Often, I’ll use just two big pieces of fabric sewn together. Because it’s the back of the quilt.
But there have been times when I’ve designed a quilt back and really liked the way it looked. I’ve actually had people tell me they like the back of one of my quilts better than the front. A backhanded compliment for sure, but I understand what they mean.
I think part of the reason I had such an itch to make the back of Gary’s quilt was because I was dying to get my hands on some fabric with a pattern on it. Except for the words and images on the Tshirts, most of the fabric is solid colors. The quilts are bold and graphic, but I was craving pattern and texture.
The big “B” is from one of the Tshirts. (Brooklyn Dodgers) That’s where I began and as I kept sewing the pieces of fabric together I was getting more and more excited. I just loved the way it looked.
The other thing about making the backs of quilts, is that I feel under less pressure when I making them. Because they’re just the back, I’m more relaxed. The way I think about the back, when I’m making it is completely different than the way I think about the front. I can’t really explain it, but my brain isn’t doing the same thing when I’m working on the back of the quilt as when I’m working on the front.
So I got this idea to make a series of quilts that are all backs. Two backs on one quilt. I’m not sure if one of them will become the front if I do this. Or if when I make the back then I’ll try to make a back for the back of the quilt. Jon said I was making his head spin when I tried to explain it to him. And my head is spinning a bit too. It raises a lot of questions for me. I keep thinking I’m going to have to trick myself into believing I’m making the back to a quilt that doesn’t exist.
I probably won’t be able to try making a quilt with two backs until next week, so I’m going to try not to think about it too much. Best to just let it happen when I’m ready to make one. Because making the backs of my quilts are inherently about not thinking so much, little pressure and ease.