Saturday, March 24, 2012

What It Takes

I have been busy with tax season, with other projects, and have not had a quilt to work on for a couple of weeks. So I had a few minutes in the studio this week and decided to start something new. My first impulse is usually to do something I have done before, what I call the "Hollywood Impulse." It worked before, so maybe I should do the same thing only a little bit different! I laid a whole quilt out to do just that, and realized that I was remaking something, and that my heart was just not in it.

But once I had the fabrics laid on the floor, a couple of them caught my eye, this striped stuff and this beautiful African print. Since I am always looking for high contrast, these two seemed like a pair I could work with.
Great. But now what to do with them? I often find myself in this situation, without an idea in my head. Nothing. No idea what to do. When I feel like that, I just get out my rotary cutter and cut into my favorite of the fabrics before me, the stuff I am afraid to cut. That was this strip. I just whacked away at it for a while, cutting strips on different angles. Eventually I figured I could lay this across some of the green and orange print.

And I was off. Everything at that point becomes a design problem, a problem with an answer. Not, "What should I do?" anymore, but "How big should this chunk be?" and "What should I do about this corner?" and so on.

For me, what it takes is this willingness to start a project without a pattern or picture. For you it might be the pattern or picture. But whatever it takes to get going is what we have to find. For me finishing it is the easy part: I just keep going until I am done with this piece, then start another.

A big part of making the quilts you want is simply finding out what it takes to start your motor.

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