I’ve mentioned already – and if not here, then in several other places! – that I sat down in the fall and pondered a few projects I had thought of maybe doing “some day” and made decisions about which ones I was going to go ahead with and how. I set some goals and one of them was to make the collage quilt I had purchased the pattern for many months previous, “just in case” I was inspired to sit down and do it. I wanted to make it before the end of the year.
I had been saving a piece of dictionary print fabric for the background and once ready to dig in, I began the process of searching out fabrics with flowers of various sizes and colors. I was immediately faced with something I have known about myself for a long time now: I don’t enjoy spending a lot of time browsing around shops and gathering prints here and there to add to some collection that will one day become a quilt.
To be honest, I don’t even really enjoy doing it when I need just three or four for a defined project! It can seem like a good idea, and when I walk in it starts out to be fun on some level, and quickly becomes overwhelming, then confusing, and eventually exhausting, at which point I OFTEN leave with nothing in hand! I know, I know, I’m not like most quilters in fabric shops.
Accepting limitations and knowing myself, once I decided to nail down the supplies needed for this collage, I allotted a certain amount of time for fabric selection online, looked for a few bright and colourful pieces that I deemed suitable, added them to my cart and checked out. Mission accomplished.
If you have done one of these collages by Laura Heine, you’ll know that the best results come from a numerous collection of floral prints, many more than the eight I settled on to avoid the brain fog fabric shopping dilemma described above. So once I had my trailer, vine, and huge flower positioned, I almost immediately felt limited. However, I was also determined to complete this project in a shorter amount of time than I imagine most others spend tweaking things here and there, so I had to accept that my result would reflect my work plan and time frame. It took a little self-convincing along the way, as I slid a few times into that comparison mode – frequently going back and forth to the picture on the pattern cover and finding my project lacking – but managed to dig myself out quickly and just face the truth: this wasn’t my thing.
Part of me wanted it to be something that the rest of me wasn’t willing to work to achieve. Like so many other things in life, we constantly have to make decisions about the effort we’re willing to put in to get a specific result. We have to face the reality that sometimes we might want something for a particular reason, but not want it badly enough to do the work to make it happen.
So about three hours in, after placing several bits and pieces of flowers and leaves all over my trailer and vine I knew that I was done, it had been fun in some ways, but that I was not committed to spending several additional hours on something that had already taught me various lessons. And one of those lessons was that mine was not ever going to look like that picture. How could it? The designer probably had 30+ prints to work with and a passion for what she was doing. I had neither! And that’s OK.
So I stood back and looked it over, trying to decide just what it needed to satisfy me. It hit me that I liked the kind of hippie look and that’s what I should play with. It needed words, so I found some fun ones that fit the theme, printed them out on fabric, and attached them in a few spots for extra detail and called it done.
Once it was quilted with some unevenly spaced straight lines and hanging on my wall (I did turn the quilt and do the lines again to get the criss cross design) I was really happy with it! Happy with how it turned out overall, and happy with what I had learned from doing it. I don’t have any plans to do this type of project again any time soon, but I won’t say “never”. It is a cool technique and I can see the possibilities for sure. Right now I am just happy that I dug in and made this one!
Here is my instagram post about this quilt, with a little video at the start just to show off my Gammill’s ability to punt through all that fused fabric like a boss!
Big goal for this year: my Elephant Abstractions quilt. Fabric has arrived. Time to get the templates copied! You might wonder why I would set my sights on this particular quilt if I’m not a fan of piecing or long term projects. You might be thinking I will get part way in and not want to finish, or find out it’s just not for me. And you might be right! But I believe that if we want to try something, we most definitely should, and I have a thing for this elephant. I am going into this knowing full well that I might not make it to the end; I’ve already decided that if I end up packaging it all up part way through and passing it on to someone who will happily finish it, that will be just fine!
My joy in sewing and quilting is about the process: the making, the techniques, the work with my hands. It is rarely about finished items. So rather than set myself up for disappointment, comparison and feeling unsuccessful, I have allowed myself a possible out from the beginning, in order to happily and hopefully embark on a huge project that will be forever on my mind if I do not try 🙂 Whatever happens, I will LEARN something important along the way. And I will keep you posted!