Tag Archives: revising quilts

It Ain’t Over Til It’s Over

Is a piece of art ever truly finished? I recall that the movie “Mr. Turner” showed J. M. W. Turner adding a touch of red to one of his paintings while it hung at an exhibition. My work bears absolutely no comparison to Turner’s, but I do succumb to the urge to make changes after a work is supposedly done.

All the time I spend at home due to Covid and winter has led me to reorganize my stored quilts. As I look at them I find I just have to revise some I thought I could improve with relative ease.

“Broken Glass” was made in 2014 in response to a tour of a glass making firm. It’s meant to be colorful and recall the huge tubs full of glass pieces awaiting reuse. However, the multicolored ribbon I used in the center area competed with all the other color. I knocked back the brightness with dark purple Inktense paint.


“A Real Fake” is even older, 2011, and was made for a guild challenge. At the time I decided to use a dark green border strip on the left to suggest a wallpaper border, but now I see it distracts attention from the window.

The strip I cut off is on the left, and the binding is clipped down for resewing. I was and am proud of the window, which I made from hand drawn freezer paper templates.

“My Brain on Xmas,” circa 2015, is another loud multi-colored piece that began with a peculiar scrap of fabric that featured a temple dog.

Temple dog is lower center.

After I took the photo above I added a ton of machine and hand stitching – far too much. I wasn’t willing to rip that out, but I decided the dog had to go. The round crocheted doily is a better match to the brain. It’s still OTT, but has a bit more holiday spirit.

A cyanotype printed circle was fused on and stitched around. It covered some quilting, but so what.

Do you ever do a retrospective of your oeuvre and try to see how it could be improved? Do you revise? If so, at what point?

I’m linking to Off The Wall Friday.


Filed under Commentary, Completed Projects

The Old Becomes New

I have continued to revisit old work that I wasn’t satisfied with, and revised two pieces, “Z Is For Zoom” and “7 Years of Bad Luck.”

Z was just too plain before, so I painted broad white stripes over the already quilted area and then covered the stripes with seed stitching.


Add ons

Seed stitch detail

7 Years needed focus, so first I over-dyed the completed piece and stamped it with white ink. Then I cut off the top edge, added swirls of bias tape, and appliqued jagged chunks of silver lame on to represent the bits of broken mirror. As I was sewing the tape on I realized I was channeling Judy Kirpich. A new facing on the top and reattachment of the hanging sleeve completed the makeover.



Do I think these pieces are now wonderful? No, but I think they are improved. My initial inspirations have been tempered with layers and more clarity in my intent, I believe. I’ve learned that a piece can take its own sweet time in revealing what it is meant to be.


Filed under Art quilts, Commentary, Completed Projects

Rethinking and Reworking

Over the years I’ve built up a pile of pieces that just didn’t work even though I had finished them. When I cleaned out my drawers recently I applied the FAT (file, act, toss) guide to decide their fate. Some I pitched (i.e., put in the to be cut up drawer, ) some I just put back, and some I reworked.

Here’s the before and after for some of the revisions.

Autumn Before:

Autumn After:

I toned down the red/orange/golds in the upper left with two layers of green tulle and did more quilting. I added more lines to the right side, and carried through a line in the upper middle.  I think it’s improved, but not perfect.

Z Is For Zoom Before:

Z Is For Zoom After:

The colors on Z never photograph the way they are, though the first photo is truer. I decided to break up the long horizontal lines with rolled on fabric ink.  I’m thinking of adding more hand stitching to emphasize the new lines, but can’t work out colors.

7 Years of Bad Luck Before:

7 Years of Bad Luck After:

I really went to town on changing this one as I found it unwieldy. First a dye bath, then stamping with fabric ink. Now I’m thinking of cutting off the top bit, or maybe cutting out an irregular circle and facing it.


Stupendous Stitching Before (and after):

I created this practice piece in the Craftsy course Stupendous Stitching back in 2012. It sat in the drawer since then, even though I bound it. I decided the shape bothered me so I shortened it by cutting off the top bit, and adding new binding on the cut edge. I like it better now.

I find it educational to figure out what’s wrong with a piece and try to improve it. Some pieces can’t be improved without redoing them; but many can be dyed, painted, printed on, and cut up. If the amendments don’t work, all I’m out is some time.

I’ve linked up to Off The Wall Friday.

Update 11/29/18: I just read a post by Paula Kovarik about revisting old work.


Filed under Completed Projects