Sunday, July 19, 2009

The Creative Process, VI

Okay, so I didn't make it back to working on this on the "tomorrow" mentioned in my last quilt post. What can I say? An assortment of things came up between then and today. While the bread (shredded wheat bread, a new find in The Secrets if Jesuit Breadmaking) was rising, I went back to work on the mountain cabin. I thought it only appropriate to use Kurt Nilsen's Rise to the Occasion as the soundtrack since I first heard this artist, specifically, his "Lost Highway," a duet with Willie Nelson, while at the mountain cabin.

The first step was to add grass, trees, and sky to the left side of the cabin as I left it last time. The trick would be to match the two seams, that of the grass-trees and the trees-sky, with those on the cabin piece. The first one was easy because I can just trim the bottom to fit. The second one, though, would take some eyeballing. The photo shows the pieces of fabric laid together as I approximated where the seam should be sewn. As it turned out, I came close enough the first time. The next step was to put some borders on. The aim was to give the resulting, bordered piece dimensions that were evenly divisible by the integer of my choice in terms of making squares to surround the cabin block. You may find it surprising that even with my training in psychology and statistics, I'm not big on measuring. I measured. I even measured twice. I cut the side borders, sewed them on, and nailed the final length figure I was shooting for, the magic 36 inches (actually 36.5 inches, but the 0.5 will disappear into the seam). Thirty-six is a nice number, because it divides evenly into squares of 3, 4, 6, 9, or 12 inches or even some combinations of those squares. I was shooting for 27 inches for the height, figuring that I could then put 4.5 inch squares on the top and bottom, resulting in a 36-inch square panel to work out from. The top and bottom borders would be a bit narrower than the side ones, but I figured what the heck. I calculated how wide they should be, cut them, sewed them on, and, what was it they used in the transcripts of the Nixon tapes? "Expletive deleted"? The finished measurement wasn't what I had calculated it would be. I decided that I would just go ahead and make the borders the same width all around and even up the dimension with the first set of surrounding squares. Time for frog-sewing or, as the politically incorrect might say, French-sewing. That little implement in the photo is a seam ripper, as in "Rip it; rip it; rip it." Two seams unsewn, two new strips cut, two more seams sewn, and voila, a finished cabin panel. I debated for a while as to what color or colors to use for the borders here. It may not show up well in the photo, but the borders are grey. I decided on that as being somewhat neutral in terms of either dark or light fabrics working on the outside edges.

Next step is to make some liberated squares for the top and bottom, with the resulting rows of squares getting the height to the desired 36 inches. Yes, I know this will mean more measuring, but I intent to make the squares in such a liberated way that, if necessary, I can simply take a bit off the top or bottom to make it all fit. Then I will need to decide where I go from there. Should the cabin be in the center of a large square? In a corner? At the bottom of a rectangle taller than it is wide? Somewhere on the longer dimension of a rectangle, so you could see it if you had the quilt covering your lap as you sat on a couch? Should the final size fit on a bed or in a lap? The quilt has already told me that it will be too big for a wall hanging, and I honestly wouldn't want it to be that. I want this to be a quilt to be used, to be snuggled under or even sat upon. Does it sound as if I'm making it up as I go along? I am, because the quilts I make with a firm and fixed plan of action are never as delightfully fun as the ones that sort of make themselves as I go along.


Debi said...

Oops, and here I've been picturing it on a wall this whole time. It really is beautiful, Jean!

kreed said...

Looking good!