Project #1 (click here)
STEP ONE: To begin choose one of your absolute favorite pieces of fabric (this is a project just for fun, so don’t choose anything you are saving for later!!). Next, choose a 2nd favorite fabric. The 2nd one does not need to coordinate with or “go” with the 1st fabric. And finally, select 4 to 6 more fabrics that you feel DO coordinate with one or both of the 1st two fabrics. Ideally, include 1 or 2 that bring those 1st two fabrics together — e.g., perhaps the same color is in all three or perhaps if the 1st two were both geometric but otherwise very different, choose a 3rd geometric to bring them together and help them play!
I’ll post people’s fabric choices here: And you can comment below.
STEP TWO: The next step is to sew two pieces together - pick any two - remember, we’re developing creativity and letting go of rules - so really, ANY two! Then pick a third and sew it to the 1st two - in ANY direction you want. Think of crazy quilts - anything goes. Continue in this fashion, cutting off some of the extra fabric as you go, and sewing it back on somewhere else. What you’re doing is making some new fabric from all the piecing — so aim for it to eventually be somewhat rectangular. I’ll post a series of photos as I go along with mine, so you can see what I mean.
If you look carefully at what I posted above, you may notice that one of my fabrics is not included. As I was working, an idea popped into my head (you’ll see it at the finish). It has to do with the fact that this patchwork reminds me of fire, so I decided to use the final piece separately during the next step. Don’t be alarmed that I’ve done this or that I’ve had an idea for my final design. I’ve worked intuitively for a long time. Nonetheless, if something DOES pop into your head, listen to it, even if it seems silly or unrelated. Write it down. It’s your intuitive/right/creative brain working. Listen.
I’ll post other people’s finished patchwork below.
STEP THREE: Here's the next step - get paper and pencil - set timer for 5 mins and write as fast as you can everything that comes to mind when you look at your new "pieced fabric." - words, phrases, absolutely anything - just keep writing - NO judging - NO analyzing - whatever comes to mind. Here's an example - this was a few yrs ago, but it went something like this ------ was looking at a top made by someone in a quilting group - it was patriotic in it's colors although it didn't have flags or other patriotic designs - it was red paisley, navy paisley and blue chambray - the paisleys had bit of white in them ---- I put: "patriotic - picnic - bandanna - cookout - BBQ - USA - patriotic (again) - war - heroes - Guns and Roses - opposites - yin/yang - peace - war - paisley - 2 paisleys make a yin/yang" [what I meant by that is the teardrop shape in paisleys can nest together to make a circle like the black and white symbol that represents yin and yang]. I don't think I spent 5 mins on this one and there were probably some other words or phrases in there, but this is an example of what I mean by stream of consciousness writing about some fabric. — Dale
Angie sent me her stream of consciousness and gave permission for me to post it here as another example for you. When you create a list, you DO NOT have to have it posted here - it can be private. Nonetheless, thanks, Angie.
From Angie: “Grandma, Garden, Fractured, Chaos, Flowers, Fire, Elements, Earth, Dirt, Red, Blood, Sky, Wind, Christmas, Wrapping paper, Lucky polka dots, Piecing, Disjointed, Rejoining, Reunite, Restore”
After looking at list and thinking of ones that most describe what I think of pieced fabric. I was thinking of names either: “Chaos: grandma's garden on fire” or “Fractured elements- earth, wind, fire and flowers.” — This is super, Angie!
For others following along, you don’t need to come up with titles - just get an idea of what words from your list seem most meaningful to you in terms of your pieced fabric- hopefully a theme will emerge.
STEP FOUR: Choose several of the most important concepts that emerged from your stream of consciousness writing (AKA word association), and let them percolate in the back of your mind for a while. Settle on a theme, then explore: What could you do next to your emerging quilt to enhance the theme — anything goes — applique something on it, cut it and insert a new color, borders, embellishments (these would go on after it’s quilted, but now’s the time to decide if you want sewn on embellishments). I’ll do mine and post it below as soon as it’s finished.
Life happens, and with it, ideas change. My project reminded me of fire, and I had an plan for an art quilt from several years ago (it included flames). I had every intention of using what I’m making here for that purpose. Then my husband and I put up some mural wallpaper, a quilt that’s on the wall near it now doesn’t “go,” so my quilt idea from a few years ago will be made in colors to go with the mural (which are not the colors in this current project). Soooo…..just as I suggested for a next step for anyone following this project, I set a timer for 5 minutes and wrote out free associations to my project. Here’s what I put: “sun, moth, elephant, sailing, seaweed, pebbles, beach, sunset, sunrise, too bright, add turquoise, big sail, sailing into sunset, need water, maybe turquoise water, feathers, fire and water are the catalyst elements, sun exploding and “raining” down on the sea, but not catastrophic, somehow make it jubilant.”
From that free association, I’m going to cut large sail shapes from my project “cloth” and applique them onto a horizon with sea, sky and exploding sun - still uncertain how I’ll keep an exploding sun from seeming like a catastrophe. I trust it will come to me during the process!! — Dale
AND HERE ARE THE FINAL RESULTS!!!!
FINALE!! Angie decided to make a bag from her pieced fabric. She let loose piecing the fabrics, slicing, dicing, turning, reattaching. While she was in this first phase of the project, she kept thinking of her Grandma who passed on this past year. In her words, “My grandmother was always a teacher and an inspiration to my quilting. She taught the skills that were passed down through generations. My grandma and mom taught me all the basics and more, I needed to start to grow as a quilter. Grandma also loved to garden. Those were her two passions, quilting and gardening, so proud of her flowers. …
As I was making it, I kept thinking of her. So fitting quilting, garden flowers, and red, her favorite color, put together. I think she would have liked it. I was always so excited to show her my finished quilts and get her approval and ideas on how to make it better.
Also, I am giving it to a friend of mine that also helped me a lot in quilting. She gave me my first book of patterns. I had never quilted using a complete pattern before. My friend, Linda, like you, Dale, helped me to branch out into different types of quilting. I am thankful for all the great quilters in my life, that have helped me develop in my quilting skills. Thank you for this opportunity.”
Angie named her bag “GRANDMA’S GARDEN COLLAGE.”
Note: Angie used a tutorial - “Kimberly Sac Bag” - from The Fat Quarter Shop. She changed the measurements as well as some of the instructions, but did use it as a starting point. Shown below are some details on Angie’s bag:
And here’s my project (still in pinned stage). The shapes will be turned edge machine appliques, the pearls scattered near the sun will be in lines “exploding” from the sun and “raining” down onto the boats. Quilting will be in parallel lines - straight in places and following the curved shapes in others. All of this comes from my free association word and concept list I described above. By doing this word association, people access portions of their brain associated with creativity. I certainly did not start out to make a wall hanging of sailboats and an exploding sun!! It just flows.
Likewise, this quilt represents the flow of energy from the sun, changing to wind along it’s path, filling the sails, transporting us, relaxing us and bringing us to new adventures. Science tells us everything is basically energy, flowing in wave patterns that interact, coalescing and syncing in places, and pulsing in and out of “state” in others. The sun’s fiery heat is energy; the wind is energy; our thoughts and emotions are energy; movement is an expression of energy; and new adventures are fueled by energy. — Dale