I don’t know about you but I sometimes find that I set out on a creative endeavour with one intent and end up heading in quite a different direction. This happened last week-end in the Shimmering Triangles workshop I did with Jenny Bowker at the Australasian Quilt Convention (AQC) in Melbourne.
Jenny was a wonderful teacher, very patient and giving of her time and expertise. She explained that the idea for this quilt pattern came to her after looking at the ripples on the surface of water and of seeing that there was a light side and a dark side of each ripple which created the overall effect of shimmering water. You can see more of her quilts here. A wonderfully talented person.
Well I started off following the instructions carefully, and intently cut small triangles and stitched them into 4 patch blocks, but I wasn’t loving the end result.
I left the workshop on Saturday night feeling very dispirited. Colour is my THING and I didn’t think it was working. In particular I didn’t like the bottom right hand corner with the green and orange paisley.
On Sunday morning I decided that I wasn’t going to continue if I didn’t like what I was making, so I took the radical step (for me anyway) of removing most of the work I had done on Saturday and started some new blocks.
These didn’t shimmer because I was using fabrics of similar scale and value, but I really loved the way the blocks started to flow into each other. Jenny came over and advised me to use more contrast, but I pressed on as before – being a rebel student. While the other 19 participants kept on with contrasting light and dark fabrics I continued on creating my “flow” effect.
At the end of the day Jenny came over and sat and examined my work on the design wall and then she said “…you know you have made the most interesting quilt in the class. It isn’t shimmering but you have created a fabric watercolour...”. Needless to say I was extremely chuffed!
I usually don’t quilt with many prints, my preferred style is big and bold with lots of solids which is why I decided to do the class as I wanted to learn more about mixing prints together and to gain more confidence in cutting up beautiful printed fabric. I learnt a lot and ended up really enjoying the process. I had attended a fun lecture by Victoria Findlay Wolfe on Friday night (she was a special guest and teacher at AQC) and one of her comments stayed with me – “…don’t worry, its only fabric, you can get more!
I’m not sure I will continue to make a finished quilt from this, if I do I will change the big orange with pink leaf on the left because although I love it, it is too prominent for the effect I want to create. Even if I don’t finish this WIP I am really keen to use the effect in different ways and have been pulling out printed fabrics since I got home and looking at them in an entirely new way.
I said to a quilter friend this morning – I think I’m now a quilter, because I now have at least 4 WIPS and many more ideas I can’t wait to try! Oh joy, oh bliss.
I hope all is well in your world – Australia is heading to an election in July and I’m over all the politics already – I feel for all my USA quilty friends – your presidential campaigns seem never-ending!