Sunday, February 23, 2014


I think I have quite a few unfinished quilts. Unfinished in the sense that they are just the tops (albeit tops that are finished). I say I think I have quite a few because I haven't really counted them for a while. I know I have at least 2 that could be sent to the long-arm ladies today - I have the backs made and the stitching and thread selected and the order forms filled out. They are still sitting in my closet, not sent, for a couple of reasons, one of them being financial. I am reluctant to spend the money to have them finished since I am between paying gigs right now.

The other reason is that I don't have any specific plans for them, and therefore nothing particularly compelling me to finish them up. Additionally, although I find it very satisfying to complete a quilt (I actually enjoy hand-stitching the binding), the part I like best is making the top. I have a sort of ridiculously big stash of fabric so it's not any extra expense to just keep sewing so right now I am content to just keep cranking out tops. Since finishing my first 10 or so quilts, it has become more about process for me anyway, the enjoyment of working out certain ideas on my design wall.

My background is in the fine arts. I painted for years. I still sort of think of myself as a painter, even though I haven't picked up a brush for over 5 years. The way I approach quilt-making is not so different from how I used to paint. You try a little of this, you try a little of that, you stand back and evaluate it, add a little red here, pull a little yellow out over there, maybe turn the whole thing upside down and see how that looks. I know many quilters have backgrounds in the arts, so I suspect that my experience is hardy unique.

When I was still painting regularly, people would sometimes ask what I was going to do with them (the paintings) when I was done. Which is a reasonable enough question, I guess, but I still found it a little annoying. Like, if I didn't already have a gallery or a buyer lined up for them I was wasting my time. Maybe I was a little over-sensitive in that area (probably because I didn't, in fact, have either). But it was never about what might happen when they were finished - it was about making them for myself, first. Working out whatever idea I had in my head that I needed to make actual. I make quilts the same way, mostly. I've made specific quilts to give to specific people, but that's always a little hard. A lot of guessing at what might please them. I think that's why I've stalled on my quilt for Lily - in my mind I am trying to work out how to make a quilt I think her mom would approve of, that I would find interesting to make, and that she will want to hang onto after she's grown. That's a lot for my pea brain to juggle.


  1. I think most of us love the process of the creation and that is what is good for our brain and our hearts, so it is good to be doing , the art of distraction when our brains can rest from all the other gobledegook that takes up so much of our waking moments. yes it is hard to come up with something for someone specific and hope they love it and will take care of it. My Mammaw made all her grandchildren quilts and I don't think this entered her mind, she made what she knew and we were all thrilled to have it. all forms of flower gardens with the little hexagons all handstitched. Mine has been loved to death and now that I am a quilter I am happy that I know how to repair it for the next generation.

    1. Melody,
      do you post your quilts anywhere online? On flickr or anything?