Slow Going

For the first time in years I don’t have a finish to show for January. Even the leaf from my master class is still unfinished as I’m dithering about how to finish the edges. I haven’t stopped sewing and quilting but I have expanded some projects in progress.

In order of inception, I have Winter Fields, Torii Traces, and Topsy underway. It’s hard to say which is closest to being finished as Torii and Topsy already have lots of hand stitching.

I’m still piecing Winter Fields, which is on the large side for me at 50 inches wide. I drew up the templates for it in early 2015 at the same time I made a smaller quilt of the same marsh outside Annapolis Royal in Nova Scotia.

Tidal_marshMy grand plan was to show the area in each season. Autumn is done and winter will be, eventually. I may run out of steam before I get to the rest of the year.

WinterFieldsInProgressI’ve sewn  about half the pieces to a foundation made of curtain liner material. The rest are clinging to my design wall. I’m using Vikki Pignatelli’s technique of folding down and sewing the edges that show. Any fabric edges that will be covered by other pieces are left raw.  Construction has to begin at the back (or top) and work down (or forward) to the bottom. The process is straightforward, but it’s easy to mix up all those long skinny pieces. Yes, I numbered them, but I keep seeing better possibilities.

Torii was my hand work in Florida. I thought it was close to done until I decided the piece needed a stronger bottom. I’ve chosen the fabric but I now have to construct and embroider it. Right now the quilt is in three pieces. Each will have a false back. Then I’ll join the pieces along the long horizontal seams.

ToriiBlueBottomThat leaves Topsy. I’ve sewn it to charcoal felt and hand stitched along the curves. I’ll sew it onto a slightly larger piece of red felt and machine quilt it. And it will have no binding and be done!

TopsyInProgressI’m debating whether to hang it horizontally or vertically. The consensus of my art quilt group was to go horizontal. I need to make up my mind before I trim the red felt. All opinions are welcome.



Filed under In Process

8 responses to “Slow Going

  1. I’m with the others about Topsy being a horizontal piece! You seem to be making lots of progress and doing interesting and fun work. Do you really care about finishing? I mean that as a real question–I often feel quite sad when I finish something . . .

    • I have a fear of drawers full of unfinished quilts, so I think that’s why I want to finish my projects. Though if finishing includes a hanging sleeve I do have drawers full of UFOs. Also, I inherited lots of unfinished handwork which I wish had been finished, so that may drive me to completion. As for sadness in finishing up a project, once I have worked out a piece’s composition to my satisfaction I feel a bit let down. I know all the rest of the work is mechanical. Except possibly for the quilting the creative part is done.

  2. You are inspiring me. It’s been a year since I’ve done any art quilting. I’ve been doing modern improv stuff and finished a few kits just to get some longarm practice. But I’ve been in a non-creative funk. Your post is making me think about getting back to what I really loved when I started quilting.. art quilts… And there is this cedar bush which I really need to set on fire. Can’t do it in real life.. but a landscape on a quilt? Ha! Thank you and please keep posting about your works in progress. It really is inspiring.

    I think I like Topsy sideways like in the photo. When it’s oriented vertically, my eyes really don’t want to go anywhere over the surface. It’s like my eyes are lost and don’t know where they are supposed to land. In horizontal orientation, the strong horizontal contrast just yanks my eyes to the right. And that evokes a good emotional response.

    • I do hope you get your creative mojo back. I think you’re smart to do what I call mindless work that focuses on sewing while your subconscious may be dreaming up great stuff. And thanks for your input on Topsy. She’s definitely going sideways.

  3. I agree with everything Jane said! And yes, the Topsy project looks completely different horizontal, and for me looks like a more complete concept, though I couldn’t begin to tell you why. Thanks for sharing your works in process. I’ve finished 2 things this year and haven’t had the energy yet to discuss either of them. My 3rd and 4th projects are underway but not very impressive at this point. Slow start to the year…

    • It’s to laugh as Topsy wasn’t ever a concept, but a play date with fabric strips. As I bemoaned my lack of progress to my husband he reminded me it’s all self-imposed. Caught! As for your work, sometimes pieces just need to sit a spell. It’s harder when you’re designing them yourself as each step completed often means you’re at another decision point.

  4. Jane

    Joanna, thank you for sharing your in-process creations. I like your seasons “grand plan” and hope you find the energies needed to complete all 4 seasons. I enjoy the views out my windows of the seasonal changes in northeastern Ohio but so far have not found a satisfying way to represent those images in fiber. Torii is beautiful, with shapes enhanced by exquisite stitching. I look forward to seeing it again when the bottom is done. I agree with your art quilt group friends regarding hanging Topsy horizontally as shown in your post. I like the exuberant energy when I view it vertically, but for me the horizontal orientation has both energy and peace, movement and restfulness, and expresses to me the balance I value in life.

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