There’s always more to learn, more motifs to try, more fillers to practice. The lists are endless. So I have no shortage of available ideas, especially with access to the internet.
But I recently began to feel that I needed something else. I’m not saying “something more” because I have access to “MORE”! Something “ELSE” is different.
I wanted to start seeing spaces differently, to learn to look past the obvious and venture into new territory. To “unlock my brain” so to speak, in the words of a quilt artist I recently spent a very productive and inspiring private training day with, Sharon Blackmore of Love Shack Quilts. That was our goal: unlock my brain and take my quilting to the next level.
It’s not my nature to think outside the box; I can be lead there, but it doesn’t come naturally to me. Thus the need to “unlock” my brain! I can plan on the fly over a wide open space, and work within the confines of blocks to accent piecing, but I knew there was more to be done somewhere in between those two.
I had loaded this client quilt (pieced by Pam Fritsche) mid-week with a definite plan for a few of the areas, basted the whole quilt so I could roll it back and forth, and started stitching the designs that were clear in my mind. I used some of my go-tos for the centre triangles, lots of straight lines for the modern look, I knew I needed to leave space for the initials requested, and I had the big feather border stitched out before I left it.
After my lesson day, I came home to the quilt, thinking I would just finish this one up and then start using my new vision on the next one! haha But when I started stitching the second large area around the star with the big echoed circles I felt myself getting bored (that doesn’t usually happen!). I hit the centre of the bottom edge and immediately experienced a shift when I saw the space.
I wanted a big change that would make a statement right there and decided I could easily build a triangle and fill it. That was the start – yes I’ve done something like this before in wide open space, but not in the middle of a border as a contrasting element. I stitched it out, finished off the big circles and advanced the quilt.
I was planning to stitch a piano key border in the outside white space, but those darn grey half square triangle were mocking me. I stared at them for a bit, trying to come up with designs to fill them in some ordered kind of way – typical! – but it suddenly hit me that I could ignore all of them and that bright orange sashing, and make my triangle a square!
This might not seem like a light bulb moment to everyone, but for me it was a breakthrough because I was seeing the space differently than usual, ignoring what was already there and making something new right on top of it. I was playing outside the lines! (and the angels sang… LOL)
From there, of course, I needed to up the anti in the rest of the final area too.
The whole time I was enjoying my new inspiration I was wishing I could go back in and change the first areas I had stitched because they would have been different at that point, but the end result was still pretty cool and I’m looking forward to my next detailed project so I can put to use more of what I learned 🙂
When I take a quilt off the frame I like to get a really good look at all the texture from various angles. And that white on white gets me every time!
I love that square and I love how it draws all the attention to itself.
Do you play outside the lines? 🙂
1 thought on “Playing Outside the Lines”
That square certainly does draw attention to itself. Of course it helps that your stitching is so beautiful. I enjoyed reading your post.
(To answer your final question. I hand quilt and tend to shadow the lines.)