After I finished the QFM – Quilt For Mom – I felt at a loss. It’s the same feeling I experience after finishing a wonderful book. Elated, but also sad it’s over and wondering what’s next. I knew I wanted to design my own quilt, but am still so new to this form and didn’t want to be too ambitious. Things were in limbo.
My life is busy, I homeschool our daughter, as well as, like and need to, spend time with my eldest and then of course there’s FH (fabulous husband) and did I mention I have my own business? All of this means I have a full, albeit hectic, and at times, overwhelming life, and I desperately need time to design and create without worrying about how to promote it, the cost basis, manufacturing, orders, etc. When I don’t have the time or when other things make it impossible, I feel off, am more easily stressed, saddened and even depressed by things that happen in the world and in my life. I worry more. I feel more sensitive, raw and fragile. These same things don’t have as devastating an impact on me when I carve out time for my artistic pursuits. Because of all this, I knew I had to start a new project, and given all that is happening in the world and my life right now, the sooner, the better!
Out came my sketch book. I began doodling. From those doodles I found a few shapes I kept coming back to and slowly a design came into focus.
This is my Ode To Matisse.
After I finished the first sketch, I photocopied it several times and began mapping out the measurements. I knew the sketch was going to be skewed and out of proportion because I wanted the quilt to end up being 80″ by 105″, which is big enough to drape down on either side of a twin sized bed or even skimpily cover a queen sized bed and long enough to allow for folding over pillows. This will be the quilt I take with me to my retreat at Quilting by the Lake next summer where we stay in air-conditioned (last summer I was FREEZING) dorm rooms, which have twin-sized beds!
I needed to figure out how I was going to block it, in other words how I would divide it up as I envisioned several different background fabrics, all beiges. With colored pencils I marked out my blocks, with approximate measurements and numbered the blocks.
I then went to my stash and began pulling background fabrics. After a trip to the fabric store, I decided on eight different fabrics, all beiges/cream of some kind.
Next up was working out the colors for the shapes. This process took over the floor of our bedroom for a couple days. I wanted bright, cheerful colors, that reminded me of spring and summer and I wanted them to stay close to the colors Matisse used when he created these kinds of organic shapes.
Finally I was ready to cut out the shapes, using freezer paper first to lay them out, tweak when necessary and rearrange if needed. This is what I came up with… Still not convinced the three round shapes in the lower portion of the quilt are working as well as they could. I might need to move them all the way over to the left side and take the shapes on the left and put them to the right end of that block or maybe reduce the size of the skinny large circle on the left and make the flower shape at the edge larger…
Even though I have a few reservations with the design, I’m going ahead with it and will see how I feel as I go. I’m also not sure if I will add other fabrics and hand stitching as I did with the QFM or if I’ll just appliqué and then free motion quilt this one, giving it the versatility to be thrown in a washing machine and dryer, unlike the QFM, which must be dry cleaned because of all the beading, wool, velvet and hand stitching I did. Also I need this quilt to be finished no later than July, so I’ll see what I end up having time for.
I’ve started on the bottom block and am almost finished appliquéing all the shapes down.
I would have gotten more done by now, but got a little way laid as I also signed up for a five week online class with the talented artist Elizabeth Barton at Academy of Quilting. We are supposed to produce a small quilt each week. Yikes!!! More on that later…