Tuesday, December 18, 2012

"Clearing the Decks" Quilt

I had a really fun and convivial day at Lisa's Clover Hill today chatting with the ladies and working on assorted little projects. I realized that I don't really have a particular big project that I'm working on right now, so it's hard to pack something up to go out for the day. What I decided on last night is to use up all the little bits and orphan pieces that have been sitting in various bins for embarrassing lengths of time. At my friend Lynn's request, I'll do my best to document my progress and thoughts as I work through this project.

This is really the first time I have worked in such a free-form way. Kitty, another friend from the shop, seemed surprised by that, but it's true: I'm an absolute slave to patterns and precision. The patterns are frequently of my own design, but I like to have an idea of where I'm going. My idea of being free-form is to not fuss too much about a zillionth of an inch of a point getting cut off, maybe to stretch pieces a little to fit and sometimes to rely on "quilting it out" in the end. For this, I'm trying my hardest to leave those worries by the wayside. We'll see how that goes, if my right brain can assert any kind of dominance over my left.

Here are a few photos of my first day of collecting bits and pieces, and some preliminary stitching. For the rest of the evening, I'll be tracking down various orphan blocks that are hiding all over the place and figuring out what to do with them.
I have a four or five-inch wide strip of selvage strips, leftover from the bolster pillow, that I might use.
I have three 12x24" blocks that I made when I was being very virtuous about the Rainbow Scrap Challenge. Although that fell by the wayside in my life this year, this project seems like a good way to use up the few pieces that I did complete (red, pink and green). I thought I had blue and purple ones somewhere; I'll check upstairs in the UFO bin later when I tuck the boys in.
These strips are from the small scraps that I cut last January using Lisa's big Accucut machine. I'm never going to cut more tumblers or half-rectangle triangles...might as well throw 'em in the mix! There's also a row of 2" squares in the middle of the wall in this photo, and some 2.5 x 5" bricks that I started piecing  like a split rail. 
A few dresden flowers from the early months of the Rainbow Scrap Challenge might make their way into this quilt as well.
I also have a set of nine red and nine green 6" squares. I'll work these in too.

At first, I was envisioning a very minimalist, small-pieces, scrappy quilt with a "modern" (i.e., lots of white space) look, kind of like a bar graph with every bar made from different shapes or sizes. I don't relish the idea of cutting a zillion more tiny scraps on the machine, though; using up what I already cut is the whole point. So, now I'm thinking more of a complete mishmash, but I'll spend a day or two trying to figure out how to strike a balance between the big blocks and the tiny bits. Progress report complete.

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