Trust has become as important as following my intuition when I make a quilt. When I walked into my studio this morning and saw my quilt with the fabric pieces I laid out last week but hadn’t sewn down, I had second thoughts.
It just didn’t feel right.
So I thought about what “feeling right” means. I know I could spend the rest of my life moving pieces of fabric around trying to make a quilt. I have enough fabric that I could drive myself mad and never accomplish anything.
There are times when more than just one combination of fabric can feel right.
When that happens I take my time looking and look in different ways. Usually, I step as far back as I can get from the quilt and look at it out of the corner of my eye. Sometimes I’ll leave my studio and come back with fresh eyes. Other times I’ll take pictures of the different combinations and look at the quilt that way.
I knew it was the black piece of fabric, under the pink triangle that was throwing off the design I laid out last week. So I had two choices, get rid of the black fabric or try something completely different.
But I knew the black piece of fabric really worked, it just didn’t work with what I did after it.
So I came up with something different. And it was all going really well until I realized that the green piece of fabric I had sewn down was fracturing the quilt in a way I didn’t want it to be divided. I tried just making it thinner, but that had the same effect, so I cut it off.
And that made me think how important it’s become to me when I’m making a quilt to sew each piece as I go. Because it’s that kind of trust and commitment to the piece that I’ve come to depend on to keep me moving.
Because somehow, even though I know I can always cut off what I’ve sewed on if I want to, I’m making a commitment to the direction I want the quilt to go when I sew each piece of fabric without knowing what will come next.
I was committed to that black strip of fabric, because the colors were right and the movement of the design on it, like some kind of indecipherable handwriting, was a good juxtaposition to the grid and bold shapes above it and the line of butterflies below it.
Using some of the same fabric I’d already used in the quilt and adding some new pieces to it, I made a long block to go beneath the butterflies, conscious of repeating the black fabric.
I finished designing the quilt just before dinner. I don’t have a name for it yet, but I have no doubt that will come as I spend more time with it, doing the backing and tacking.