Late last year, I teamed up with Bill Volckening to brainstorm some modern art-inspired quilt designs. Over a couple of dinner meeting, we settled on something reminiscent of Matisse’s paper cuts with a touch of Rorschach, deciding that it should be all needle-turn applique in the spirit of traditional Hawaiian quilt making.
Over the next month, it went from a digital sketch to a full-blown (80″ x 80″) quilt, hand-appliqued and lightly hand-quilted by me, with load of echo quilting from Jolene Knight.
In many ways, this feels like a year that wasn’t. The last 18 months have been a whirlwind of changes and adjustments, some great (a fabulous job with a wonderful fabric company) and some not-so-great (sunk $6k into what should have been a reliable car, but ended up with car payments on a new one instead).
Last January, before much of the craziness started, I set all sorts of goals for myself, things I wanted to start, finish or some combination of the two. But as life tends to do, it gets in the way of all my grand plans. And so while I was sure I was going to be able to finish all the quilting on Grandma’s quilt in 2013, I only managed to finish eight blocks before it got lost to the chaos of moving to Cali. Eight. [hanging head in shame] Sorry, Grandma.
But I’m back at it!
I’m setting the bar low this year and am promising to finish just one block a week. Of course, it will end up taking me two and a half years to finish it this way (there are 143 of those little blocks!), but at least it’s progress. And who knows, maybe there will be weeks when I can get two or three or five done.
So while I feel like I’ve let Grandma down somehow by not finishing, I just have to remember that the darn thing sat in a box at my mom’s house for 40 years before this. Sheesh.
And there you have it, my one New Year’s resolution for 2014 (and probably 2015, too!). I will complete one block a week until it ‘s finished. And then I’ll have to decide who gets it.
Do you make long-term resolutions? Do you stick to it?
When I said that this would be my project for 2013, I thought I was overestimating, giving myself a little wiggle room. But I think that first guesstimate on the time it will take was right: all year.
The stitches are a little wonky–both great-grandma’s piecing and my quilting–but with this project I don’t really mind. Usually I tend to be a little on the perfectionist side when it comes to sewing and I just want it to be as perfect as possible. So much so that just the thought of improv quilting gives me hives. That’s probably why I’m in love with Ebony’s post about publishing and selling crappy work.
This is a different sort of project. I’m not offering it up as some landmark piece and I’m fully aware that my great-grandma couldn’t be bothered to square up a damn thing, mixed all sorts of fabrics and didn’t make particularly small, neat or strong stitches.
I don’t mind though. I just keep on stitching up. down. up. down. up. down. until my neck tells me it’s time to quit. It’s usually about an hour at a time, enough to finish one block before tucking it back into the IKEA bag that keeps it tidy for me.
With every stitch I’m closer to finishing and closer to the great-grandma I knew only through letters and quilts she left behind.