If you pay any attention to the financial news, you have probably heard that Google has rearranged its corporate structure under a new holding company by the name of Alphabet. I’m not sure how they picked the name, but they certainly aren’t the only folks playing with letters these days.
The DIVAS (my small quilt group here in Alexandria) are participating in an Alphabet Quilt Challenge of our own. We have to make a 20×20 quilt using a color, quilt block or technique, and a quilting motif that start with the letters of our initials.
My initials are SGS, so I went off in search of color names, quilt blocks/techniques and quilting motifs that start with S and G. (I was feeling a little boxed in by having only 2 letters to choose from, but I got over it.)
After looking at color names, I decided to go with Green. I pulled out every piece of hand-dyed fabric from my stash that could be called green, and laid them out on the table with some yellow/orange/red for contrast.
After taking a quick photo, it was clear that some of the pieces were too “blue” and one was much too light. So I pulled those pieces out and took another photo. Ah, much better. There is a ton of variation, but the fabric collection definitely reads GREEN. (One of the few rules for this challenge is that our quilt has to be predominantly from our chosen color.)
My first inclination was to make a strip quilt using Seminole piecing techniques. Then I discovered that I no longer had a book on that topic. Plus, I was rather enjoying the composition that appeared when I placed a paper border over the fabric to get an idea about size.
Hmmm… I could do a String-pieced quilt. That starts with an S – and gave me a whole lot more freedom than using a traditional block.
As I often do when I have a studio day with no particular agenda, I plunged ahead without really stopping to consider how the piece was coming together. Note to self… You have a design wall for a REASON, and should use it more often!
While I did create a composition that resembles the photo I started with, I didn’t like it. As in I Did Not Like It At All. (Please tell me I’m not the only one that does this!)
I was still in the mode of plowing ahead instead of walking away, so I created another component – another long narrow strip that could be used in place of some of the yellow/red.
I was about to chop up the first composition to insert this strip when the message to Walk Away and let this percolate finally got through to my brain. You know, the one that says, “Put that rotary cutter DOWN, step away from the sewing machine, STOP before you totally make a mess out of this thing!”
I left this hanging on the design wall for a few days while I work on other things, and I’m so glad I did. After waking up from a nap a couple of days ago, I had a great idea for rescuing this composition. It fits perfectly with my “SGS” Alphabet Quilt Challenge rules, and I’m confident that it will be a big improvement.
Do you find yourself plowing ahead when you really should take a break – or is it just me? Do you have a favorite way to put something “on the back burner?” Leave a comment. I’d love to hear your thoughts.
Liz Kettle says
Me too Shelly! I have gotten much better at walking away the last few years. I have one piece that has been peculating for almost a year now…I have finally got a direction to work in for it…now I just need to get the time! 🙂
Ah, I think you have more patience than I do, Liz. If I don’t get back to something quicker than that, it usually winds up in a UFO bin, also known as the point of no return…
Etta stewart says
Shelly, I will let them wait if I feel there are possibilities, but if it is butt ugly it goes in the scrap pile and may be moved on to someone else.
That’s a great solution, Etta. If there is no potential, just be done with it. I think I need to clean out my UFO bins to see what should be tossed and what can be passed along to someone else. If nothing else, I would reclaim a big chunk of my closet. And who knows, I might actually be inspired to finish some of those things!
I have learned to walk away – sometimes as long as a month. During that month I will revisit the project, but it nothing clicks I will walk away again. Additionally I am learning to work on two – three instead of four – five projects so I can get something completed. I have too many WIPs (work in progress) and not enough show and tell projects.
What a great way to describe your projects, Betty. WIPs sounds much better than UFOs — and Show & Tell — yay! I totally agree that we need to limit the number of things in process. When I have too much going on, jump around too much and nothing gets done. (And NOT just in the studio!)
Joey Long says
Just a note to say that I really enjoy your chats – your writing style makes me smile, and I do love your posted art pieces! Keep it up, lots of us are loving it!
Thanks, Joey! I’m often smiling when I write, and I’m delighted to know it’s contagious! 🙂