Tuesday, September 13, 2011

A difficult „Personality“

I have written before about a quilt which I had started after Christmas and had almost ruined at one point.   It had been inspired by one of my sons’a drawings which he had given me with the words “Here, Mom, you can make a quilt from this!” That was more than a year ago, and although I really like(d) the drawing, inspiration was slow to come. At first it went well, but after a while I had to put it aside for a while, knowing it needed more work, but being unable to come up with the solution just then.

At the end of April I pulled it back out when I realized I might be able to finish two quilts until the final entry date for „Tangle“, this year’s challenge at Ste. Marie-aux-Mines. But then I ran into another dead end after I had added on a piece and put in more lines. That's when I thought I had ruined it completely.

Only a friend’s encouragement saved this top from being abandoned completely. I turned the top once more – back to its original orientation, according to my son’s drawing, in fact.
And from there things developed quickly. Before I had returned home from my friend’s place I knew how I would quilt the thing, and quilting went quickly, too. But after quilting, it had a huge bulge which would not budge, no matter how much I tried.

Well, it had already gone through so many different stages of hope and despair that it really didn’t matter anymore. Radical solutions often work best. Trying to figure out where I could cut out a triangular shape, eliminating the bulge and highlighting it with noticeable stitches did not lead anywhere convincing. My husband, who has by now taken on a position of quilt advisor with frequently unusual suggestions, said: “You’ll have to cut it through all the way.” So that’s what I did – a diagonal cut all the way. Knowing full well that it would not make it any easier to present it as a whole piece, or to keep it within the size restrictions. I constructed connectors between the two parts, had to come up with a solution to keep the piece with the wider lower base from rolling up, had to do double the work regarding facings and tunnels (and I always do tunnels at top and at bottom anyway)...

"Personality", 2011, 100 x 100 cm
All of this with considerable time pressure at work. Registration closed while I was going to be away in Switzerland, so everything had to be finished, photographed, sent off before I left. Virtually during the last minutes before my departure I completed the registration form, and in that muddle forgot what title I had given the quilt, registered it under a wrong title, and sent the thing off after I had set off, trying to find a mailbox on the way. Which wasn’t easy, they don’t have a whole lot of mailboxes along the Autobahn! A couple of days later my husband sent me a text message that an envelope with an address in France had been returned because of insufficient postage, but he had taken care of it and sent it off again. At that point I was definitely ready to give up. But I did receive a mail about charging my credit card with the registration fee, so the registration must have arrived on time.
Yes, I did register two quilts. The other one had been a piece of cake - although hand-pieced, it all went smoothly, no problems, and I definitely thought that one would be a set candidate. The difficult one, with its correct title “Personality”, is the one which got chosen and will be on display later this week in Ste. Marie-aux-Mines.


  1. Brilliant finish. Congratulations on your acceptance in Ste.Marie-aux-Mines. Thank you for sharing your process. I am signed up for a workshop with Nancy Crow for 2012 June. So I am doing all the research possible to familiarize myself with the process. Not being educated in art, I am at once intimidated and thrilled. I will continue for follow your art. Also Congratulations in being included in the International Invitational of Contemporary Quilts. Bravo and well deserved!

  2. Thanks, Mary, and good luck for your workshop with Nancy. It is a very intersting experience - I would not want to miss any of the ones I have taken. Strengthens one's character!