Monday, July 15, 2013

My Design Wall Today and Making Do

Here's how my design wall looks today.  I'm sharing with the list of quilters on Patchwork Times for Design Wall Monday.

Design Wall July  15

I've made a few more I-Spy Houses for the block lotto.  I really liked the idea of using a basic house shape to frame I-Spy fabrics as doors and windows, but I didn't like my first couple efforts so well.  I think, after making more, I have developed a feel for the proportions that work best.  For more details on making these blocks, visit the Block Lotto.

The bird blocks are parked, waiting for me to move the quilt design I have in my head onto something more concrete, so I can continue. 

I've now made 4 of the 12-inch paper-pieced feathered star blocks from A Flock of Feathered Stars as part of my Daily Feather project.  My plan for fabrics for these stars is to combine green fabrics with low volume fabrics and to work only from stash. While the overall quilt I make from these blocks will be scrappy, each individual block is not ... until recently, when for the second time in as many weeks, I thought I had started with enough background fabric for something and ... ran out.  I wondered if the universe was trying to teach me a lesson about being a better planner :-) 

Detail from Finley Feathered StarIt felt like a tragedy at the time because more than half of the block was made and there was no opportunity for a planned mix of the two prints, but, even in person, you have to look close at the green polka dot star block to see that a second pale blue fabric is used as background for some of the feathers.

It made me think about the concept of making do, and how that applies to today's quilter.  For me, in this block, I made do by finding a similar fabric in my stash.  

Not long ago, on a modern quilter's blog, I read how she was making do in a quilt when the fabrics she had from a single line of fabrics weren't enough.  She needed more and added a fabric from  the same designer, but a different line.

Making Do seems to have a much different meaning than a few decades ago, when our predecessors made quilts.  I started thinking about a museum exhibit I saw years ago at the Henry Ford Museum of improvisational quilts made by Susana Allen Hunter.  Many of her quilts were made from all kinds of fabrics.  The mosaic medallion quilt below was made between 1960 and 1965, from cotton prints and solids, corduroy, flannel and seersucker.  The back pieced from fertilizer sacks.  This tenant farmer from the rural south was really making do ... and created some pretty interesting quilts.

Mosaic Medallion Quilt

You can see more of Susana Allen Hunter's quilt and all my photos from that exhibit in my Flickr photo set Quilting Genius 2.


Barb in Mi said...

Just imagine in a few hundred years when people look at your quilt and wonder why you had changed the background fabric... Love it! Give them a mystery. Your feathered stars look beautiful!

Beth said...

I love it when there are little 'surprises' on my quilts! Love the Lime green feathered star! You need to see my new lime green toy! Judy L is trying to find room in her sewing room! lolol

Paulette said...

Yay! You found something that would work and made do, and I had to look pretty closely to see the difference. I love old quilts where they got creative with what they had. Having said that, you know what I did today? Took apart a block of my grandma's old quilt top to see if I could remake it and fix some of the construction boo-boos. I am a little conflicted about doing this (only a little), but it was not finish-able as is. It's going to take a while, but it looks like it can be done.

Helen said...

'Making do' by using fabric from the same designer but a different line????? My, how 'bold'! I gave up buying most quilt magazines when they stopped featuring 'real' quilts made from what one has at hand and showing what I call 'McDonalds' quilts, nice every now and then but ultimately unsatisfying as food for the soul.

Brenda said...

fun mixture of quilt blocks. I'm making an I spy house quilt right now too -- for a baby coming in about a month. Got to get to it!

Jill said...

Love your feathered star. Yes, it is a challenge for today's quilters to make do as previous generations.

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