On getting started
I relearned a valuable lesson in the past week: When making things, sometimes you just have to get up off your butt and start.
Normally I have a fairly good idea of how I’d like a quilt to turn out. Granted, it’s almost always a fluid design, subject to change based on how my materials hold out, but it’s a design none the less. This time I’m flying by the seat of my pants; laying out pieces, swapping them about, and if I like the look, stitching them together. It’s taking slightly longer process-wise than my normal piecing methods, but it’s just as thoroughly fun.
Here’s how I got to this point: After the depredations of my last 3 scrap quilts, I found that my stash was deeply biased towards shades of green and dark blue. I hardly ever use green in quilts so it builds up, and I use blue so often that I generate an unseemly amount of scraps of it. I also tend to favor lighter blues over navy and indigo (light blue is impossible to mistake for black and gives more contrast), so those stick around.
The obvious solution was to make a quilt in greens and blues, a combo I’d never done before. Add in black, various grays, and the green-gray left over from my most recent jacket and I’d be able to make a nearly clean sweep of my least-used hues.
I pulled out the appropriately-colored scraps, ironed them, and set them aside in an orderly mound on my cutting mat to wait while I decided exactly what pattern I’d make with them. I had a few plans, but nothing concrete.
So they sat. And sat. And waited.
For about two months.
Then I got sick.
Nothing dire, just a cold. Sore nose, stuffy throat, the normal annoying symptoms. Only, about the second or third day in I started running a fever and, in that state (slightly manic/stupid) I decided to start working. I spread out all the scraps I’d piled aside to see exactly what I had to work with and noticed that a large portion of them were long strips. I immediately threw out all the designs I had considered and did this:
The blue section is day 1’s work, the gray is day 2. None of this is even remotely similar to my original set of ideas, but I really like it. More than the other plans, so yay. You’ll also notice a distinct lack of green in the composition. I decided to save that for later as most of the green scraps were neither long nor strips, which means that 100% of my previous goals for this quilt have been completely abandoned.
The moral of this story is: You can stare at plans, notes, sourcebooks, ect. all day devising what you want to do; but there comes a point where it’s more productive to just get up and make something.
Sure, it won’t always work and you might end up wasting materials or creating a sub-par item. But sometimes it does work and you make something incredible. Taking that chance is better than staring endlessly at a pile of plans and books and not making anything.