Sunday, August 12, 2012

Making and Remaking

I have been writing about this project all summer it seems. I started out with the quilt on the left, the one I wrote about last time. I was very happy with it until I found out the black fabric on the back was going to run all over the place, that it would become the Usain Bolt of fabrics. So I decided I would make another one, a new road with new stick figure skeletons all over it. In this picture the new one was just out of the long arm frame. I quilted both with the same idea of many small picture frames, like those on a wall of ancestors and family photos.

The hard part, I found, was to stay present, to remain emotionally engaged during the remake. As I have said so many times before, you can do anything with a quilt, but each cut and each seam and each quilting stitch has to be the most important thing in your world. I always go off the rails when I think I can just cruise along doing anything, without committing fully to the moment.

I worked at it, however, and used the weird skill of skeleton/stick figure making I had acquired making the first one to choreograph slightly crazier and slightly more conflict fueled actions. I even have a small battle of sorts in the upper middle where the curve is so tight I wasn't sure I could make everyone fit. Maybe because I have teenagers at the moment, or maybe because it is a presidential election year, I had no trouble hooking into a feeling of conflict and weariness in those characters.

Now I do not know what will happen next, only that I have two quilts to deal with now where I meant to have only one. It is possible that I could use this as a starting point for a series of skeleton quilts, but I think I want to go somewhere else with my next quilts.

When I start to get discouraged about things like this, the world will often tell me what to do next.  This time I got a message from the Shelburne Museum that the director had signed off on buying my quilt that is on display there, "The Rule of Three."

This is a quilt I made only for myself, based on some ideas I had about memory, longing, and certain fabrics. Maybe that is the way to go: making things only to please myself. Hmmm.


  1. I can see how difficult it would be to remain emotionally present during the remake. Love hearing your stories!

  2. I wonder if the first quilt with the black fabric that is "going to run all over the place" will add a sort of new dimension to the quilt after washing? Have you considered tying it up before washing to add a tie dye effect?