Wednesday, 25 November 2015

Going backwards

This is cheating a bit, I know, to post some of the process after I've shared the finished quilt, but I thought I'd just share some photos of Small Pleasures at various stages of construction.

The brief was just in terms of colours "all pinks, from baby pink to burgundy, pistachio greens, duck egg blues" and I knew straight away I wanted to use the teacup fabric, which I have had for quite a while and that I wanted to keep it in fairly big pieces.

So the journey went something like this:

First pull:

Bought some other fabrics, softer versions of the same shades, mostly Tilda, including another tea cup fabric, and made some economy blocks

then realised I needed teapots.

Then I got stuck, looking at the pale and pretty and the stronger, brighter fabrics and trying to work out how they sat together (though I never really questioned that they would, if I got it right).  Started to play and build out from green teacups, like this

And eventually got to here (I have about twenty photos which are effectively different versions of this - me moving blocks about trying to find what works).

And this is where I really got stuck.  This was pretty enough, I thought: I liked it but I didn't love it. Somehow it wasn't quite doing it for me.  This were where I realised what an important part of the process blogging has become for me: having to articulate what I like/don't like and why really focuses my mind and helps me to move forward.  I wasn't blogging this, so I really wallowed around for a while.  In the end I had to email a photo to my sister and my son's girlfriend - as soon as I started to explain to them why I wasn't happy the whole thing became clearer: it is pretty, but almost too pretty.  I needed something to break up all the pink.  Enter some blues at the stronger end of my colour range.  I actually cut back into what I had already done in order to insert blue strips - you can probably see where.

After this I got into the flow and it came together without any more major headaches, but I will be very reluctant to quilt and not blog in the future.

The whole quilt is on yesterday's post, so I'll finish up with one or two more details.



  1. I always enjoy hearing about the process. You are so right -- articulating what doesn't set well with you frequently shines a light on the solution.

  2. I am so glad you blogged about your process here. I looked at both this and your elephant quilt and wished to know more. Thanks for providing it. This is a gorgeous quilt and the blue does make a big difference here.

  3. Thank you for sharing this, even if it is after the fact. The addition of the blue made such a difference.

  4. You are so right, it's too pretty before. Almost bland for a 'you' quilt! Interesting to hear that blogging can clarify the things that need to change and or happen. I find the same thing with my quilting, that blogging about a project helps me move forward and find solutions. This is a lovely, sparky, beautiful quilt. Loved hearing about your process in making it and so intriguing to hear that you cut into it in order to add a specific color. I'll have to remember that in the future as an option!

  5. This is a great post, thanks for showing the process. Often articulating what you don't like (or do like) is helping to find the solution. It's why I blog, but also why I often talk to myself, or at least that's my excuse!

  6. This is great, Kaja, thank you so much for the extra photos and thoughts! I agree that it helps to talk when you are stuck. I frequently ask my family's opinion, and then ignore what they say! Sometimes you just need a little extra contrast before things become clear.

    For at least six months now, it's seemed like blue is always the answer when there's a problem. Interesting!

  7. I love that some bloggers really talk about the process - the good and the bad. It helps others clarify things in their minds and seeing the creative process is almost as good as seeing the finished article!

  8. It's just fabulous - and I see you did start off with a kind of medallion. I think you're right, writing really helps to clarify your thoughts; somehow they're much easier to make sense of when they're in black and white. I can't do any reflection without putting words onto 'paper'. I love the details in this quilt and, as usual, your hand quilting is beautiful and really adds to the charm of this particular quilt.

  9. Thanks for sharing. It really helps me to read about your process, I'm one to get stuck over a small issue then I fixate.
    I'm encouraged to relax and let go.
    I like your hand quilting too.

  10. I'm so glad you reviewed your thought process here. Like you and everyone else, I think it was too pretty until you added the darker blues. I also like the quilting lines you chose. The way they offset the seam lines is quite effective.

  11. Love, love those details! The colors are perfect together. Just enough to be sweet without over-doing it. You were spot on when you added the blues to cool things down just a little. And I'm fairly certain that everyone who reads your blog regularly appreciates your review. I, for one, learn something from your thinking process. It helps us to "watch" you think. It's sort of the same when I teach my students how I think while I read. I'm learning how to teach after 27 years of teaching but, hey, it works so I'm game. The idea is to "show" the kids what happens in my brain while I'm reading or writing or learning. Now I'm using that process to learn more about how others quilt. In short, I'm learning from you. Thank you very much!

  12. So glad you gave us a retrospective Kaja. The darker blues are what took it from pretty to awesome and much more your style! I need to do what you do more often, with articulating processes in my blog.

  13. Thanks for sharing your process.


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