Today I've got some musings sparked off by Stephie. When I issued a challenge to people to cut up their most precious yardage, (and that sparks a whole other debate on what constitutes a big piece of fabric), she responded that she only has small pieces so her challenge ought to be using a precious piece without cutting it. (See what she did here)
This has got me thinking about my own quilting journey and some of the stages it has been through. When it first occurred to me that I could just do my own thing, without all that tiresome following of patterns and matching of points (well, more like failing to match points), I made several quilts which were pretty much just big pieces of fabric, arranged in a way that was pleasing to my eye. I don't have photos of all of them, but these two will suffice to make the point:
Then I read a few books, including Gwen Marston's Liberated Quiltmaking II, and started thinking I could put traditional elements back into what I was doing, which made me happy, and I have pootled along doing this making it up as you go along thing for a fair old while.
I still like doing it too, (and just this morning found myself making a couple of wonky stars, which is something I haven't even contemplated since Little Elephant) but at the same time I started to wonder if there was a way to make things simpler. The last couple of projects demonstrate where this has taken me: working with what feels like quite limited palettes and deliberately sticking to just a few basic shapes/blocks.
So what? I hear you wonder. I guess what I'm saying is that whilst it's no fun constantly taking ourselves outside our comfort zones, maybe sometimes we can stretch by just making one small change, or a couple and this might be an easier way to grow as quilters than trying to make huge, dramatic changes and feeling uncomfortable with them. Cut it if you usually work big, leave it alone if you tend to go small; add something if the last few things you've done have been simple, take something out if, like me, you have had lots of fun throwing in everything but the kitchen sink. Do more, do less.