What currently inspires you most?
Since I started quilting about 5 years ago I have struggled to find a personal style. This has been in part because I have experimented with many form and styles, and felt I should stretch and work outside my comfort zone.
More about this in “Best Failure: below.
Now I am resolutely quilting for myself and the recipients of my quilts. I have decided I love free form quilts the most, and I am only going to do what I want to do. I won’t enter challenges, bees, QALs or competitive shows for the time being.
My focus now is identifying what my style is. Fun! I have about six quilts in mind!
What colour combinations are you most drawn to at the moment?
I love strong jewel colours: reds, pinks, blues, and teal greens. These are the colours I tend to wear.
When I am choosing colours for a quilt I almost always go for a strong, or a muted palette: seldom middle range.
Apart from oranges, browns & pea greens I like all colours. However my most recent quilt included brown, oranges and pea green, but in very muted tints. This is for a particular project.
In general I choose two or three colours, in different shades and tints with perhaps a bit of contrast. I don’t like too many colours in my quilts. The design can be overwhelmed.
I also choose more solids than prints. I like the clarity of solids. (However my two next quilts will be prints!! Inconsistency again.)
I almost never start a quilt because I like a particular fabric: the idea comes first and the fabric is chosen to suit.
What is your favourite style or block, currently?
I am not usually a fan of blocks. I find sewing them boring. I have used them, of course, but blocks are not where I start.
I like free form quilts, and like to decide on how to cut the fabric when I am designing.
I used to like ‘Improv’ but I have wearied of that. I don’t generally follow patterns, but I do like to decide where I am going before I cut. Therefore I don’t think of my process as improv. I am well and truly over “wonky”.
What was your best failure?
My most loathed quit is the one I did for the Modern Quilt Show at Kiama. When I walked into the hall and saw it my heart sank. Also to increase the pain, it was right next to my personal “Best in Show”
I had been listening to Jacquie Gering talk about the “continuum of quilting” from more traditional modern work to the extreme modern end, where her work mainly sits. I decided I would try to make a very modern quilt on the far end of the modern continuum for the quilt show. I enjoyed making it, but it was not me, and I over-thought and rearranged it endlessly. I ‘wobble line’ quilted it, struggling to meet the deadline. If I had not decided to enter the show I would have rolled it up and put it aside.
So I learned that I will make quilts that look welcoming, with quilting that gives a pleasant crinkly hand to the quilt.
I do like bold geometric and modern design, but I have decided that the style is more suited to wall hangings etc: and not to cosy, domestic quilts.
What other creative pursuits do you have?
I have sewn since I was a teenager. I have experimented with several crafts: felting, mosaic, drawing, and knitting. I like sewing because you can pick it up and put it down. No pastes or paints to mix: no rush to get finished before materials dry or otherwise get wasted. No kilns. I did do one weekend workshop in Mosaics: I made a piece based on Amish quilt patterns. Was that a sign?
How does that influence your quilting?
There are some direct influences but mainly I think it’s a lifetime of observation and familiarisation, right across the visual arts. I will often see a painting that I want to turn into a quilt. I usually start with what Weeks Ringle calls a ‘big idea’. For example, I’ll want a quilt that will work in my living room with a new rug, or black and white quilt, or a present for a friend made, I hope, to her taste. Nothing grandiose.
Do you feel quilting or sewing contributes to your wellbeing? How do you feel when you sew?
I don’t know that quilting as such contributes to my wellbeing. In fact I can only sew when I feel relaxed and unstressed. I sew when I want to. Sewing when I am unmotivated leads to failures.
When do you sew?
When I feel like it (See above) I have the luxury in retirement of being able to sew as often, or as little as I like. Always in day light.
What preparation do you do when starting a new project?
I assemble possible fabrics. Get photos etc. of possible designs, read my favourite books and blogs for ideas, I doodle and shuffle fabrics. I keep all possible materials and concepts together physically.
What is the incubation period for a new quilt idea?
I will take out and go over my ideas several times until I think I have got it right. I will wait until I am confident before I begin, or at least make irrevocable decisions. Could be weeks could be months.