Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Under Pressure

This round robin activity is killing me. Killing me! It's fun ~ so fun, so creative, so interesting. I am just not a very experienced sewer, and my quilting skills are even slightly less honed than that. Brit has had to talk me off the ledge twice, I've commandeered my friend Monica's time and expertise at least 4 times, and I even have my husband in the mix (who, by the way, only confuses me because if there's anybody who knows less about quilt design than me, it's my husband).

Plus, I adore Juls, and the last thing I want to do is ruin her quilt. Apparently, this is all part of the Round-Robin protocol...letting go...moving on...letting people 'love you in their own way', as Brit so eloquently put it. So Juls's block is going into the mail tomorrow** and then I'll get another block, and then I can start losing sleep over that one and then it starts all over again.

** We are such a bunch of lawless chicas! We're supposed to keep the block for a month, and send it out no later than the first day of the next month. So right around the 29th or 30th of each month, emails start flying....and they all start the same...."So sorry, but..." I swear, there isn't one of us capable of following deadlines or structure!

Here is Juls's block when it came to me.

I knew right away that I would do 'flying geese' blocks for the border I was adding. Running is the theme, and running fast is like flying. Juls is definitely the fastest! Plus, she chose really unconventional fabric, but the block she made had a very traditional log-cabin feel to me. So, keeping with that, I thought I'd do yellow blocks with black "wings", using lots of interesting scraps, but keeping a more traditional feel by using the flying geese pattern.

I started making some geese (using this amazing tutorial...so fun and easy! plus, virtually no fabric waste, which was a big deal for me) and then realized no, there were two things happening here...white base AND yellow base. So I made some with a white base and some with a yellow base (all with the same black wing selections) and that's where things got dicey.

Do I put the yellow on the yellow side?

Or do I put the yellow on the white side?

I knew which one I liked, but when I asked Erik, he chose the opposite one! And used words like "hodge podge" and "busy". oh no. I asked both Brit and Monica for advice. They both liked the one I liked (yellow on the opposite side), but more importantly, they both told me the same story about how it just doesn't matter. They both said that I should do what feels right to me, and never second guess it, because in the end, it belongs to the person (Juls) and she'll either love it, or she won't. Either way, it's hers to do with what she will! Sometimes these get cut apart and repurposed, sometimes an element is added or removed, and it just doesn't matter. Monica said she does tons of round robins and exchanges, and there are plenty of times when she just doesn't like what comes back to her. So she trades them, repurposes them, or adds on to them until it does please her...but she's never sorry that she participated.

whew That does make me feel better!

In my panic (busy! hodge podge!) I had the idea to border the original block with plain black fabric, before adding my flying geese, and I have to say...I do love that, a lot. It looks about eleventy million percent better with it!

And because I'm just like this, I added a wee little surprise in the corner! The 261 is her running number (I'm dying to know, was it her Boston number? Was it more sentimental, like a race she ran with her late husband?) and she made it the center of her work. So how could I resist when I found this 2, 6, and (upside down) 1, all together in a festive number-fabric? I stitched it into the corner. Because I'm full of whimsy. hahaha

Now, here's a little game we can play! This is a picture of "my studio" (aka: kitchen table) while I was working on my round robin project. You'll see several can't-live-without sewing tools. Iron, mats, rotary cutters, etc. Which item is MY must-have for sewing?

Yep. Seam ripper. Jack The Ripper. The words "right sides together" are...problematic... for me. In every project I've ever made, I inevitably stand up from the sewing table, head over to the iron, and realize that my piece is sewn together backwards. And then I have to rip the seams out. Again. *sigh*

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