Sunday, September 23, 2007

I Didn't Have Enough Projects Going

On the bus to work the other day, I sketched out a quilting "work plan." I listed the four projects I've been working on this September and what specific tasks I'd been doing on them week by week, then projected out three more weeks. Strange behavior? Sure. But, this exercise in overblown project management made it clear that a couple of quilts were reaching points where they'd have to be set aside for a while. Since I've been enjoying the pace of having four different projects to work on, that gave me an excuse to bring a few other pieces up into the active pile over the next few weeks.

Here's the progress report for the last two weeks:

Labyrinth: I've laid it out and pinned it to its backing and batting, so it is ready for quilting at this point. But, I'm still quilting Batik Stained Glass and for some reason don't like the idea of having two pieces at the machine quilting stage at the same time. So, Labyrinth is the one that leaves the active pile for a few weeks at this point.

Batik Stained Glass: All of the loose threads from the "cool" areas have been buried, and about 1/3 of the "warm" areas have been quilted. I'm postponing for now the decision on whether there will be another finer round of quilting after this first go-round. It is looking pretty good....

Niece #1's Graduation Quilt: is now underway! At the beginning of last week, I set out a cutting mat and the fabrics I had selected...

...and over the course of the week, gradually cut out a couple three hundred squares in the various sizes I'll need. It went faster than I expected, and I might be able to do some preliminary laying-out next weekend, depending on how things go.

Four Seasons: Two weekends ago, I showed pictures of a layout for the "spring" piece and a fabric selection for the "summer" piece of this, this, um.... what's the word for it? Two elements makes a diptych, three makes a triptych, but is there such a thing as a quadtych? No?

Anyway, I was a little dissatisfed with the innermost two fabrics in "spring," and also thought that the innermost two fabrics of "summer" were a little too, you know, springy. So I did the obvious thing, and transferred the "summer" fabrics to "spring," and found two better fabrics for summer. And now we're good. I'm in the process of assembling both of them at this point.

And Introducing Project #51: Indigo Stars

The project I selected to take Labyrinth's slot in the active roster is a salvage mission. Earlier this year, in a box of scrap fabric, I found a set of 20 hand-pieced blocks, a star pattern (anybody want to ID it for me?) in indigo-on white. They are, in a sense, nothing special -- the craftsmanship is moderate at best, the fabric quality was poor to begin with and has not improved with age. Nor do I have any idea who made them; certainly no one with any connection to me or my family. And of course, I am completely smitten by them, and want to do something lovely with them.

There's no way of knowing what my anonymous collaborator had in mind, back in the (probably) 1930s. My own original idea had been to simply alternate the blocks in a checkerboard pattern with a nice white-on-white print, which would provide a simple but not especially striking setting in which to show them off. That idea seemed pretty good until I started measureing them yesterday, so I could figure out how much white-on-white I would need. That's when I realized an important ramification of the iffy craftsmanship -- they are neither uniform in size nor especially square. Any given side can vary between 12 and 14 inches. Eek! So much for a checkerboard pattern.

After an hour or so of fussing with fabrics on hand, and a page of notes, diagrams, and calculations on graph paper, I came up with Plan B. In Plan B, each individual block will be custom pieced to 2-3" indigo borders, which will produce a somewhat larger block a uniform 18" square. These will be placed in either a 4x4 grid or a 4x5 grid (we'll see), set off by a three inch sashing (if that's the right word) of white-on-white. It will look just a tiny bit like this:

Having got that far, I hopped on the bike and rode to our local fabric megastore, where I drove the cutters a little batty with a change of mind and a stock check before coming up with two fabrics that I think are going to be do the trick. It's been prewashed and pressed, and is ready for cutting.

And that, my friends, is the State of the Craft.


Rebel said...

I'm pleased that I'm not the only one who's anal about planning out craft projects. Although, I'm a bit disappointed that the maze quilt is being set aside, I really like that one and can't wait to see it finished up.

Libby said...

Wow sounds like you are being really productive. A few more projects going never hurt anyone. I love those vintage blocks, and I'm sure their imperfections give them "character", right??

Ming said...

hmmm...I think I understand what you mean" didn't have enough projects going". I sometimes feel so bored of doing the same thing and just need something different to have a break! Have fun!

Su Bee said...

Excellent idea for the Indigo Stars - those are well worth saving. I guess we all need to take a lesson about being organized, then we could be more productive too!

mark witteman said...

An artistic work made up of four or more panels or pieces is called a polyptych, a word I learned from What's Bred in the Bone by Robertson Davies (along with triptych.)

jovaliquilts said...

Oh dear, I read What's Bred in the Bone and didn't remember that word. I was going to suggest "di-diptych" on the French model of quatre-vingt (4 twenties make 80), which was actually written as XX with iiii over the top in the Middle Ages (I once took a class in paleography and codicology and now have all sorts of useless knowledge).

Your enthusiasm for your projects is catching, and I well understand the need to add more. But don't put away Labyrinth for too long -- I really like that one.

loulee1 said...

LOL The more plans I make, the less I seem to get done. I'll stick to one at a time and planning as I go, that works for me! LOL
Those Stars are nice, I hope you manage to rescue them.