Monday, October 20, 2014

Around the World Blog Hop

Melody Miller Quilt Top
Melody Miller quilt top I'm going to start hand quilting next with sashiko stitches

Belated though I may be, I wanted to respond to my friend's gracious invitation to participate in the "Around the World" blog hop. To echo her sentiments, it's not normally my kind of thing, but I thought the nature of the questions posed were interesting and worth thinking about and sharing. Since I am so late to the party, I'm going to forgo tagging anyone but am sending a thank you to Natalie from Green Leaf Goods for thinking of me!

Sewing Table Reality Check
Reality Check: the sewing table in my workroom...want to play How Many Projects Can you Spot?!

1. What quilting/sewing thing am I working on?

The short answer is that I have one last Quilts for Boston top to finish and two quilts to sandwich and baste, my DS Quilts picnic top and my Melody Miller top. I also have a laptop case I'm trying to design for myself and two baby gift projects I want to finish, an Amish Puzzle Ball and a matching game.

In trying to better answer this question though, I had a look around my sewing room and took full stock of what was going on. I currently have eight quilts in some state of progress and five other sewing projects including several items for my shop, and some home decor sewing. For a long time, I felt almost guilty for admitting to people that had so many WIPs, as if it were some kind of reflection on my ability to finish things (or not). A recent series of articles from Sew Mama Sew on Slow Sewing helped me to reframe the issue and I've gotten comfortable recognizing that I choose and enjoy working in this way. Like so many, I have a busy and chaotic work schedule so when I get home, I like to have a bevy of projects at the ready depending on how much time and focus I have. One night, it might make more sense to be downstairs with other family members working on hand stitching. Another night, I have to be working in my office and it's easier to take a break every now and then to run a few seams on the machine as a treat to myself. At other times, I'm on the go and need something portable. Either which way, my prep work has been completed and I can jump right in on whatever I'm in the mood for! 

Kim's french press
I love adding hand stitched and embroidered details to my sewing and quilting projects

2. How does my work differ from others of its genre?

I think I fall pretty well into the modern quilting movement in terms of my fabric choices, love of asymmetric designs that put a twist on traditional blocks, and embrace of whitespace. This speaks to my background in graphic design and I love conceiving of a quilt with those ideas in mind.

I differ most in my work techniques, having been taught by my Granny who is a very traditional quilter. I tend not to use patterns and though I love and use my machine for a lot of things (and do not want to knock those that use it solely at all!), I personally find a lot more meaning and peace of mind in hand quilting so try to incorporate that whenever I can. I am terrible at free-motion quilting so I avoid it as well as the QAYG method and heavy laundering because my work in textile conservation has helped me to realize that these are not stable, long-term methods.

I also try to limit my stash buying habits to make my work process more green-friendly, using up all the scraps  I can (I love frankenbatting and stuffing plush items with too-small-to use fabric scraps) and avoiding some of the commercialism of quilting where I can. My sewing is slow, each project taking long enough to flow in and out of periods of my life so as to reflect different stories in its making and never keeps up with fabric line releases, try though I might at times.

Little Folks Quilt Top
This is a quilt top I have in progress using Anna Maria Horner's Little Folks voile.
I've been hand piecing it for a while now and have no intention of hurrying up! My idea with this was that it was so enjoyable and meditative to stitch into the buttery voile, that I would hand piece and quilt the whole thing as it pleased me. The top is almost 2/3rds done and completely inspired by my love of this fabric.

3. How does my writing/creating process work?

Inspriation comes in various forms for me. Most often, the roots of a quilt design lie in the nature of the specific purpose, person, or season I am making it for. Occassionally they are formed by my vision of a fabric line that really speaks to me (Denyse Schmidt's Chicopea and Anna Maria Horner's Little Folks are examples). Frequently, I am inspired by the work of fellow quilters and love collecting and comparing stellar quilts in my Flickr favorites and on Pinterest. These examples really help me to condense what I aspects I love most and inform my own altered or mish-mashed designs.

I tend to draw these ideas out on scrap paper so that I can calculate just how much fabric I'll need. As a grad student, I don't have a lot of extra cash for fabric so, though the improv approach is very appealing to me, I tend to plot things out in advance to make the most economic use of my stash. Alternatively, I might start by pulling certain fabrics whose colors or patterns work well together. This part of the process reminds me a lot of blending oil paints as an art student in college. It's really a gut call when it comes to color for me and is the part of my creative process that I love and prolong the most.

I hope you've enjoyed this insight into my work and hope that it's got you thinking about your own habits and style. I'll be back soon with some more progress and finished pieces soon!


alidiza said...

Thanks for sharing some insights into your creative process, Kate:-) Your beautiful quilts always inspire me!!!

Jodi said...

that was a fun read! I love your AMH voile quilt - any and all of her fabric is fabulous, in my book, anyway. I read your "about" page - fun! I found you by way of the BMQG - love your Maples quilt! Oooh-la-la! I visited your guild when you had a guest speaker over the summer (darn - I can't remember her name right now!). The RI MQG is hosting Rachel May tomorrow in Providence - maybe you can join us.