Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Why Does Quilting Have to Be So Messy?

No, no need to answer that question--it's rhetorical. I just spent several hours on Saturday night cleaning up the Sweat Shop and getting everything nice and tidy--after a couple weeks of working on several versions of the Cherry Delight quilt and several other projects as well, the Sweat Shop was starting to look like a fabric bomb had exploded in there. And, for a couple days, it stayed nice and neat. Of course, I realized I couldn't pull anything out to work on if I wanted to keep it that way, so for the most part, I've just gone in there, sat in my quilting chair, and admired the clean orderliness of it all.

I don't do well with mess. My desk at work is very orderly--nearly compulsively so, but not quite. And I'm pretty much that way with everything. Otherwise, I tend to lose stuff, not the least of which is my mind.

Still, I find that it's nearly impossible to quilt without making a complete and total MESS. I think part of it has to do with my small space, but I also think it's just the nature of the endeavor.

Do you remember the six-month class I'm taking, Back Home? That's the one with the cute little suitcase and the 1800s repro fabric? The one I went to the wrong class for a couple weeks ago? Well, the RIGHT class is coming up on Thursday, so I started thinking about making this month's blocks. And you know what? I decided I wanted to start all over again (which means making THIS month's two blocks plus four previous blocks)--and I want to use different fabric.

Did I hear someone ask, "Why?" Well, it's like this. I'm currently taking three ongoing classes or clubs, and all three involve 1800s repro fabric. Don't get me wrong--I LIKE the 1800s repros. But I like other things too. So, I thought, why would I want to spend all my quilting time working with the same kind of fabric when I have a whole room in my house stuffed to the brim with non-1800s repro fabric?

Then, too, I have to blame Sinta. Have you stopped by to visit her new blog? Well, if you click HERE and scroll down a bit to see some of her quilts, you'll come across a house block quilt using the Ellery line of fabric that came out about a year ago. And yes, as it happens, I have a fairly healthy collection of the Ellery fabrics that were just languishing on a shelf. So, when I saw Sinta's quilt and remembered my forgotten Ellery fabrics and THEN started thinking about what I wanted to do about this Back Home quilt project, it all just fell into place.

So, tonight when I came home from teaching the Hey Ghoul Friend class, I pulled out my little Back Home suitcase, got out the patterns, and pulled a pile of Ellery fabric off the shelf. And, voila! In no time, the Sweat Shop became a very messy place to play in again.

Not all of that stack is the Ellery fabric--there's some cotton and wool on the bottom that doesn't belong. And there's another stack or two of the Ellery fabric out of frame. In other words, I've spread fabric all over the place, and once again, it looks like a fabric bomb exploded in the Sweat Shop. I think it only took about 15 minutes to go from neat and tidy to cluttered and messy.

Because I got a late start on my play time tonight, I only got one block made. There's not a lot of definition in two of the colors--the yellow and light pink--so the star pattern doesn't really stand out very well, but I think that's okay. I suppose I could do it over again if I decide I can't live with it. Really, though, I just wanted to play with fussy cutting that center square, and I like it well enough. All in all, I think I'm going to enjoy making this quilt in these fabrics much more! Now, if I could only figure out a way to keep it neat and orderly, I'd be in heaven!

Hey, you know what? It just occurred to me that if ever a time comes when the Sweat Shop stays neat and orderly for any amount of time, it probably WILL be because I'm in heaven--or whatever alternative may be awaiting me! So I guess I'll just need to find a way to enjoy it--after all, it's a HAPPY mess!

Happy quilting!


mamaspark said...

I like the new block. I think you will end up with 2 patterns once you put them all together! Great!!

Mary on Lake Pulaski said...

Two people in my guild started that BOM with the 1800 repos - I love the pattern, but the fabrics are not my style. I love your idea of doing it in those Elery fabrics. Even though you have a lot of work to do, I think you will love it in your new fabric choice.

Judy said...

I couldn't agree more with your thoughts! mess means creativity!

MichelleB said...

I think it's because you have to pull out fabric to figure out what fabric you want to use. And then all the cutting and scraps. Yes, it is messy. And it's really bad for those of us that don't clean (me).

Della said...

"Creative Minds Are Rarely Tidy"
Words to live by. My mama was a total neat-freak about everything except her studio at her craft shop. And it bothered her a lot. We finally had a sign made with the above phrase to hang on her door. She loved it, but I don't know that it helped her accept her messes.

Jeannie said...

Quilting is like cooking or baking. You can't create either without creating a mess!

Linda said...

its like you have to scramble a few eggs to get an omlet. If you know what that means.

Sinta Renee said...

Kim, I love your Ellery block... it was a good decision! I think the star has enough contrast, don't you? I posted a quilt today that reminded me of one you posted a while back. I thought you might like it:)

Angevin said...

I couldn't agree more about the mess factor - Troll (aka my husband) is continually whinging about finding fabric in strange places and the ever-growing stash. I DO tidy up frequently, but it doesn't take long to get it back to a first-day-of-the-sales chaos level, does it? Ah well, at least we KNOW we are not alone!

Kathy said...

Love your the colors! I agree on the mess, but oh what fun it is when we make that mess. My blog is new and I still don't know what I'm doing. My 1st two blogs are about my new room/studio that I am trying to name?? I will post pics soon. Anyway just wanted to tell you I have your blog set up in my favs; just have not figured out how to list blogs I follow yet. Love your work!

Amanda said...

Hi! It's me. I haven't visited in a few days. I know you miss me when I do that!!! lol

I agree with the idea that messes mean creativity. I don't have an answer for you, either. If you clean it up after you're finished working, you lose your place or your idea. It would just take away the ability to have an "ah ha" moment. I get lots of "ah ha" moments when I walk away from my room (and don't come back for a while) and I see something I didn't see before. I thought the beauty of having a sweat shop is that you can close the door.

I love the Ellery.

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