Sunday, April 26, 2020

Are you organizing your fabrics or generating more UFOs?

"How are you holding up?" has become the common greeting these days instead of "How are you?" 

As makers—quilters, stitchers, sewers, etc.—I think we're lucky to have an outlet for coping with the mandates of the Coronavirus pandemic: being creative, using our hands to make something tangible, and feeling in control... if only over a piece of patchwork we have in our hands at the moment. 
Auditioning scraps to coordinate with a small floral vignette from a fabric panel.
Fabric from P&B Textiles.

I have retreated to my studio... attempting to organize fabrics, tidy the space, and hoping to make progress on several pieces. Through this (partly successful) exercise, I have found simple enjoyment through the reacquaintance of past fabric acquisitions and pairing them with selections from the never-ending scrap pile. Here is an example...

Discovering a fabric panel
These are 5" x 7" flower vignettes from a fabric panel from P&B Textiles that was in my stash. (If anyone can identify this fabric line, I would love to give credit to the fabric designer.) The colors of the wild flowers are cheerful, lively and reminiscent of nature's promise of renewal and new life.

Two floral vignettes from a fabric panel from P&B Textiles.

Auditioning fabrics
This is my fabric auditioning process. I've pulled strings and scraps that coordinate with the colors of the wild flowers in the vignette. I include light, medium and dark values in the fabric pull. Some of the fabrics may not be included in the final pieced block, but it is better to have more than needed so you have choices.

Auditioning scraps to coordinate with the center fabric motif.

What's so fabulous about the Log Cabin block?
The Log Cabin block is a versatile and forgiving block technique. It's easy to piece and lends itself to all kinds of design possibilities:
  • it adapts itself to any number of shapes, 
  • it can be scrappy or have a planned fabric sequence, 
  • the strips can have a consistent width or various widths,
  • it's great for improv piecing,
  • there are a multitude of variations for color, value, log and block placement.
I used the flower vignette as the center, or "hearth," of my Log Cabin block. In the classic light/dark fashion, fabric strips were sewn around this center—lights on two sides and darks on the other two.

Scrappy Log Cabin block with pink, yellow and white wild flowers.

From the 5" x 7" center, my blocks grew to approximately 13" x 15".

Scrappy Log Cabin blocks with yellow wild flowers near a pond.

I made four blocks. There were likely more vignettes on the panel, but I must have used them in another project.

Scrappy Log Cabin block featuring pink wild roses.

Scrappy Log Cabin block with blue Irises and a yellow bird.

Does this project have an end goal?
I don't have a specific plan for these blocks. They could be:
  • a wall hanging, table or bed runner, or a tote bag,
  • combined with other blocks for a larger quilt,
  • I think they are too large and the wrong orientation for placemats... maybe,
  • If additional "logs" were added to make them square, they could be made into pillows, 
  • It might be fun to use trapunto on the central motif, especially on the larger flowers and the bird,
  • It could be interesting to do thread painting or strategic stitching to enhance a focal point,
  • they could be fused to the cover of a sketchbook or journal,
  • used as a canvas for surface embellishment.
  • ?
  • ?

It doesn't matter what the future plan is for these blocks.

They are important for right now.

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