This post is about unfinished projects and imperfections.
In the quilt world, we say there is no such thing as a perfect quilt. Look outside. Nature is crooked, bent and twisted. We also say in the quilt world, when imperfections become too noticeable by the maker, the quilt becomes a “keeper.” It’s perfectly beautiful, just not one you want to offer to paying customers.
It’s probably true about all forms of creativity, that if you are in a middle of a project and, for whatever reason, find yourself being pulled away from its completion, getting back to it can be problematic. You forget your place. Inspiration fueling advancement dries up. Impressions are forgotten. Keys to next steps go away.
While reorganizing fabric, separating cloth into piles of like-minded colors and textures, I stumbled across an unfinished quilt project. We had a sit down, the quilt and me, as I tried to remember what the quilt wanted. I couldn't remember.
Luckily, a new set of inspiration arrived. The quilt and me moved forward. There were shortcuts. I decided not to continue hand embroidering which, now that I think about it, is probably one of the reasons why the quilt remained unfinished. Hand embroidering is time consuming and more than that, our bodies have just so many cycles. Embroidery has become hard on my wrists and fingers. I decided to finish the quilt, try to remain as close to the original plan as possible, but without adding more hand embroidery.
I always preach to my students the importance of hand sewing bindings. You don’t want to see hemming threads from the back on the front of the quilt. Plus, there’s such a calming effect that happens when you hem: the pretty hem stitches, the mesmerizing rocking of the needle. I was all set: tea, audio book, threads, needles. I began hemming, realized how long it would take me to finish, and coupled with the tingles in my fingers as I worked, broke one of my cardinal rules and decided to machine hem.
Here's Redwork In Blue Variation. The word variation is added because the binding fabric is black and gold. A traditional redwork quilt uses only two colors: red and white.
Materials include cotton fabric, West African woven and hand dyed cotton cloth, pearl cotton and embroidery floss. Techniques include hand embroidery, applique, machine piecing and quilting.
Reorganizing? Find an unfinished project? Give it another go. Nothing unfinished? Try something new. What better time.
Thanks for reading. Hope to see you again!
To learn about and see other examples of redwork, click the following links:
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This is a blog about how we make things.