Tuesday, March 5, 2013

I made a quilt top at Quiltcon!

my messy workspace - I find it almost impossible to work in a tidy manner
I had to make a post heading say that because I just don't know how many people actually completed a quilt top while they were at a conference.
To be honest it wasn't even my intention. When I took AnnaMaria Horner's class she had asked us to bring fabrics that inspired us if we didn't have any current works in progress. I had won this beautiful stack of Lotta Jansdotter fabrics from my guild meeting in October. There are actually a lot of them with solids to match. Not being someone who usually works from one product line, you can see that this could get really intimidating for me to try and find a good use for them. I find them absolutely wonderful but the entire line all at once was really overwhelming for me to look at.
So while most people who were in AnnaMaria's class ended up using specific fabrics that she had designed, I brought fabrics from another designer. I was stuck looking at them until I realized I should just go with what I know and I began some improv curved piecing. It really took off when I decided to add in a couple scraps that were not from Lotta's line - including a vintage linen piece I have treasured for years and some fantastic orange and yellow scraps that AnnaMaria had brought to share.
For a few months, I've had this concept I wanted to pursue in a quilt - of parallel lines that are similar in character, but never quite timed right. Like a relationship that should work but always misses being in sync. The poet side of me wrote next to my drawing in my sketchbook, "always parallel, never connecting" when I first thought of it.
I'm not sure that this quilt actually brings that thought to fruition but it was a great starting point. The class that I was in was called "composing a quilt" and the idea was to move from a sketch to fabric -like a painting or collage. I actually spent some time speaking with AnnaMaria about how I struggle following through with my sketches because I so often improv in a new direction. I love the freedom of improvisation but at the same time sometimes it frustrates me to not be able to see my sketches actually come to life. My strengths most definitely lie in improvisational quilting.
So once I got started making a block, I began the column. From there I added more columns and suddenly by the end of the day I actually had a top. Though I love the balance of the three columns, the quilt is not a size that is very usable right now so I have to determine if I will treat this like art or like a bed quilt which I am usually more prone to do. (I like big quilts).
The added bonus was when I got to meet Lotta the next day and actually take a picture with her and my quilt made of her fabrics. I have admired Lotta for over 10 years back from when I was a textile designer and she began showing her beautiful work. So this was really special to get to meet her, take a class from her, and show her the quilt I made with her fabric. Plus, she's so adorable. You just wish she could be bottled up.

I find it really funny that I actually meet celebrities in Hollywood pretty regularly and I never ask for pictures or act like an idiot fan girl with them. But here I was at Quiltcon doing just that with fabric designers that I have been a fan of for so long. (Jay gets the biggest kick out of that)
Oh yeah and I also included pictures of the amazing machines that they had for us to work on while we were there. A number of my friends bought them and have them shipped home for free to California to use with their own sewing. Super fun!!!

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