Closing In On Finished Work

This spring I seem to find it difficult to “close” some quilts. I’m trying to be disciplined and finish WIPs before I plunge into new endeavors, but it’s hard to return to pieces that have lost momentum.

My “Mean Streets” is almost completely free motion quilted, but I’m hemming and hawing about final touches.

My girls have received some stitching attention, and are now attached to the already quilted top, along with some waves. I need to settle on a hot air balloon arrangement and sew them down.

“Stripes 3” has tied me up in knots about how to treat the edges. I finally added some squares (after trying many arrangements) and called it done, more out of exhaustion than artistic clarity. I did incorporate suggestions made by my readers. It’s tucked away in a closet awaiting its turn to be quilted. The tag at the top is to remind me of the piece’s dimensions.

I actually completed one quilt this spring, “Repurposed/Resurfaced,” which uses many fabrics I printed and painted, plus one commercial aboriginal print.

I was pleased when a member of one of my art quilt groups said this quilt made her happy. Recently Elizabeth Barton wrote about why people buy the art they do. Her perspective is it’s a work’s content, rather than the technical skills it displays, that attracts a buyer. Technical skills aside, I know “Mean Streets’ will not be at the top of most people’s must have list – too dark.

I can see that my closet is filling up with work to be quilted, a sure sign I need to switch gears. Of course, I still need to decide if all the tops are worth quilting. Some were made to use up partial blocks and fabric experiments. What leads you to just let a top go and not quilt it?

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12 Comments

Filed under Art quilts, Completed Projects, In Process

12 responses to “Closing In On Finished Work

  1. Edith

    Very nice! But I was struck by how different your ladies quilt would have been if you had put them on the darker street scene! Imagine those ladies taking a wrong turn in Atlanta or perhaps New Orleans on an evening stroll 🙂

  2. I’m pretty impressed that you’re this close on so many of your projects! I seem to be having a hard time finishing things lately and need to just get tough with myself. What do you do with your finished projects?

    • I find I need to get projects done before I forget what I planned to do to them. Of course, sometimes second thoughts are better than my initial plans. My finished work ends up on my walls, in exhibits or shows, gifted to friends and relations, or stored under my bed.

  3. Barbara

    I really like Stripes 3, and the “light” in Mean Streets is awesome (also, thumbs up for the graffiti) I applaud you finishing up your works. I started the year with 23 unquilted tops and a bunch of works in progress. Quilting is my least favorite part but I haven’t completely abandoned a piece yet. I have sliced one up reworked it. I think I prefer the piecing phase because the finished piece is a surprise. My machine is too small for grand quilting and the time and effort spent is disproportionate to the results. Piecing is just more fun.
    I have quilted 3 old projects and 3 new quilts this year but I am still ahead in quilts created…

    • I find that all the extreme quilting on display at quilt shows is intimidating. I know I’ll never do that at home, so it seems easier to give up. However, I’m coming round to seeing that often simpler quilting is better. When the first thing I notice about a quilt is the quilting then the work doesn’t balance all its elements. Your count of 23 unquilted tops makes me feel much better about my measly 7. Of course, I have a few that just need an edge treatment and they’ll be done. I somehow keep forgetting about them.

  4. If it goes into and comes out of the drawer more than twice it probably will never be finished, then I pass it on so as not to beat myself up over not finishing it. At our big local quilt show entrants may offer quilt tops and blocks for sale. Many people buy them to practice their quilting (hand and machine). I agree with Melanie McNeil; as nice as the girls are I prefer Mean Street. I think Repurposed/Resurfaced is a great use of (mostly) your prints. I like how the forward lines push the prints back giving the eye a neutral place to travel above the busy (but awesome) prints.

    • Sounds like a good rule of thumb for the quilt/don’t quilt decision. Since I usually work small, I can add the tops to my parts garage and cannibalize them at will. I think Mean Streets and the girls represent the yin and yang of my personality, which is sort of scary. Thanks for pointing out why Repurposed/Resurfaced works better with the lines. I knew they made the piece better, but couldn’t quite say why.

  5. Oh. Every finished top gets quilted at my house. 🙂

    I actually prefer the dark Mean Streets to the “happy” beach girls, so I might be the exception.

    Balloon arrangement: have you tried overlapping any of the balloons?

    Also, (in a string of disconnected comments) I think you’ve resolved Stripes 3 very well. I like the squares on the left side and the uneven bars of black print on the right. To me they balance very well with each other. The yellow-gold background setting on the right helps balance the color/brightness, too. And the orange around 3 sides frames it in a way that pleases me.

    Good work all around. Thanks for sharing.

    • Good idea to try overlapping the balloons. A friend pointed out that there are the same number of balloons and girls. Oops. Glad to have your take on Stripes 3 as I’ve stared at it too long to have any objectivity. Thanks for your comments. You always have specific points. I like/don’t like it is fine, but it doesn’t help resolve issues.

  6. Judith K Campbell

    I have a number of small quilt WIPs in drawers. Now and again I feel guilty and bring them out to see if I have any new ideas. Most of them arose from experimenting with techniques or round robins. The they go back into a drawer again.
    I have come to realize that the pieces that are most personal to me always get done. I look at them and smile and they give me great pleasure. I am currently working on when I have been cogitating about for years… its time is now and it is being completed apace. The same thing happened with a quilt last year based on a photo I took at my grandson’s preschool.

    • If you look at the unfinished pieces as sketches, then they are no longer WIPs. Not every sketch becomes a finished work. Perhaps our motivation to get something done is the deciding factor. In your case, it’s the personal connection.

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