Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Changing design in mid quilt

Thirty years ago, my husband, Jeff, went to a conference about using Tex and MetaFont to design fonts.  (This was back before DOS, even.)  As part of the conference, there was a competition to design dingbats.  Those little things that separate chunks of text in a book.  He did a nice set of 10 of them and 15 years later when I bought a thermofax machine and started doing silkscreening as part of my fiber art, I realized I could do a quilt based around his dingbats.  Synchronistically, a bolt of fabric that looked like hand made paper came into the quilt store where I worked and the fabric collecting was on.  Since his dingbats were abstracted from traditional Japanese crests, I also started collecting fabric with kanji printing in addition to text fabrics.  And so we come to the last few years when I felt I had enough fabric and started sewing.

I started with a non-traditional takeoff of the Log Cabin block which turned out to look really choppy once I got 6 blocks done and laid them all out together (see below).  Since this quilt is intended for our bedroom and I like to keep the bedroom serene and relaxing, this didn't seem like the way to go.  Unfortunately, I had already sliced up all of several of my fabrics so I put the blocks away for a while and forgot about it.

In preparation for an annual sewing retreat, I got the project out again and gave it a hard look.  I'm going to start over and do the traditional Log Cabin blocks but with the larger rectangles as the start.  Next step was to pull fabric from my stash and separate it into dark & light piles.  I went with fabrics that had a japanese influence and tried to stick with a narrow color selection.  Unfortunately, this set of fabrics has lost the whole text idea.  That's when I realized I needed to go even further with the personal aspect of the design and add text to the lighter fabrics.  I brainstormed some ideas of what type of text and again, brought the personal relevance idea to bear.  What 20 quotes from influential books would we each like to add to the fabrics?  So that's where we are.  Making lists of books that have had a big influence on us and then picking out the text we want to represent that book.

I'm expecting these ideas to evolve further as I progress in making the 42 blocks that will be needed for the queen size quilt.  And I'll post about what I do and how it goes as I babystep my way to the final quilt.  So far, my book list includes The Hobbit (read to my 4th grade class by the teacher in 15 minute chunks and the book that started me reading science fiction), Leaves of Grass, a gift from a friend who said the part about the charge of the soul reminded him of me, Citizen of the Galaxy by Heinlein,  and Lord of the Rings.  That takes me up through the end of High School.  I suspect The Lazy Man's Guide to Enlightment will be there too as well as Lao Tzu's Tao Te Ching.

I mention the details of the book list because this is the kind of fun that book people enjoy:  What would be your 20 books?

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