Thursday, November 29, 2007
New Year's Resolution #3
I finished my third New Year’s Resolution quilt. It is called “Arty Choke”. It turned out much better than I expected. The new techniques I tried were raw edge appliqué, using Shiva paint sticks and zig zag stitches around the edges of the quilt. The artichoke is fused and hand painted. Did you know that artichokes are members of the thistle family? I also painted (or colored) the background with shiva paint sticks. I was not thrilled with the outcome. I liked using the paint sticks. But I felt the piece was too dark and dull. I told myself that I could brighten it up with quilting. But deep down inside, I didn’t really believe that. Lo and behold, the quilting helped 200%. The raw edge appliqué worked out pretty well for me too. And why didn’t anyone tell me about zig-zag stitching before?
As usual, I practiced my free motion quilting. I was pleasantly surprised by how well I did. I still need to work on getting the tension right. But I think I’m getting the knack of it. In the picture, the artichoke looks like it is peeling off. But it isn't. That is the shadow created by the background quilting puffing up the fabric around the artichoke. It has a lovely texture and depth that you can't appreciate in the picture. I know I should have hung it and used the tripod, but I'm really too tired for all of that.
So here’s the thing about lowered expectations. Sometimes, they give you the opportunity to do well because you are not so invested in the outcome. I honestly was not thrilled with the background fabric and I thought the paint on the artichoke left a lot to be desired. I didn’t really think the quilting would help. But one of the things I learned in the Self-Expressions class at Quilt University is that you should keep moving forward on a project, even if you are feeling uneasy about it. So rather than give up, or go back and try to fix what I perceived as problems, I just took a deep breath and kept going. And the quilting really did make the whole thing work. So here’s a light bulb moment. It’s called a quilt because it’s quilted. Quilting is as much a design element as color, texture, and shape. I don’t spend nearly enough time considering the quilting while I’m designing the piece. In fact I rarely think about the quilting until the top is done. You may have known this all along, but then you didn’t tell me about the zig-zag stitch either did you?