Weekly quilts

Last summer I read an article in Quilting Arts magazine(Summer 2006) entitled Chronicles of a Quilter about Jeanne Williamson who in 1999, finding herself in a creative rut, decided to make one small quilt a week and did so for seven years. Take a look at some of these beauties. I like this idea because it reduces the scope of a quilting project down to a manageable size and allows for experimentation with new ideas and techniques. It also lets me play around with the different parts of a larger quilt that I have knocking around in my head before I commit to a bigger piece which I may not be technically ready to pull off. Here are a few small quilts that I've made in the past year. All are approximately
9 x 9 inches.

Machine pieced, free motion machine quilted, my hand-dyed
Machine pieced, machine quilted, hand dyed fabric by Elaine Quehl*

Femme Fatale
Machine string-pieced, free motion machine quilted, commercial and hand-dyed fabric, pattern by Elaine Quehl

Lessons learned: Quilt BEFORE finishing the edges, otherwise the edges become distorted by the machine quilting and there's nothing you can do about it.

Something that I would like to do in fabric is to render a simple object and its shadow without using templates. Here is a sketch I made of a chair and its shadow and the fabric I would use to make the chair.

If I did this with a small quilt, say 9x9 or 12x12 inches I could play around with fabric and make lots of mistakes until I get a process that works for me. I'd probably do the complicated parts of the chair with strip piecing on muslin and then do the shadow against the wall in raw-edge appliqué. To do the long shadows on the floor I would use a dark thread and sew the shadows in with long straight lines when I quilted.

If you make smaller quilts on a regular basis please write and tell me what your experience has been. How often do you make very small pieces? Do you do this to try out a particular construction technique or do you prefer making the smaller pieces? I don't think that I am ready to make a quilt weekly, but monthly might work.

*Elaine Quehl is a great teacher who offers courses in contemporary quilting and fabric dyeing which are not often available locally. She also hand dyes beautiful fabric.

No comments: