Wednesday 29 April 2015

How to grow a wall

This piece has definitely been a challenge for me, in good ways.  Using the holes has been an interesting exercise, but I am also being forced to think about my need for everything I make to be useful.  I have been aiming at 60" or thereabouts, because that is a feasible size for a lap quilt.  And I am now at 56" square (ish) and happy to stop working outwards now.  

The question is, without that self-imposed requirement of functionality, would I have stopped before this?  Probably.  Would the piece have looked better if I had?  I'm not sure, and to be fair I haven't finished with it yet, but it's all thought-provoking stuff.  How do you decide on the size of a quilt?  Up until now I have just kept going until I felt it was "done", but if it is for a bed, for example, then there are clearly some basic requirements.  How big is too big, how small is big enough?  I don't have any answers.

Anyhow, this is where I went...

Needs to be longer, so add to top and bottom.  I like the bottom; top not quite right..

Added one new row at top then a second.  Added little orange-yellow strip down right-hand side.

Auditioned fabrics for sides...right-hand side seemed too heavy and this is my last piece of the green...

Four sides done, and I am happy enough with this.

Now, I think, for some more holes!


Yvonne from Quilting Jetgirl said...

I think the holes will pull the new growth of the quilt top together. I think your thoughts on how large to make a quilt are very similar to thoughts I have sometimes. When I am creating a quilt pattern, I definitely aim to make particular size ranges, but sometimes a pattern or quilt just winds up at its finished size. I find that especially with improv quilts that I struggle with a certain size requirement or definition.

Lara B. said...

Functional is usually better in my opinion too Kaja - unless you are aiming at an art quilt.
I like the new wall growth - it works very well! I'm glad you chose the orange for the holes, it is just what they needed.

audrey said...

It's looking fabulous! Love your additions. I often wonder about the quilts I make too. When are they the 'right' size--if I'm ruining by making them too large. I like mine to be functional as well, but there are many sizes that will work for something! I just can't stand the thought of having piles of quilts that will not be used!

JanineMarie said...

Lately most of my quilts are functional, and the sizes can be flexible for baby quilts and throws. Then there are the bed quilts that need to be a certain size. But I'm okay with wall quilts (my house is full of them--others must think of me as the crazy quilt lady) because they warm my soul, so I don't worry about the size of those--except that they fit in the space they're intended for. I plan most of my quilts on paper, though (at least the basic design) so I pretty much know how big a quilt is going to be before I actually start sewing. I think that's why I'm fascinated with the improvisational nature of your work. It's so different from my approach and feeds my need to learn from the creativity of others. I think you have the proportions of this quilt (and the color distribution) just right.

Ann said...

I'm enjoying your design process. I just realized that's a block printed gold/black with black/white stripes. (I'd thought it was pieced before.)
I prefer practical quilts, too - mainly bed and lap quilts. Magically, mine seem to grow to that size. On the other hand, some quilt designs look best as a twin when I need a king and vice versa. Thought-provoking post. Thanks.

Mary Marcotte said...

Whatever drove your decisions seems to work for you, so just try to enjoy the process. For your own metacognition, you might want to think and write about your process when it's complete. That helps to determine what you do and how you work, without the concerns of doing two things at once: working on a quilt and trying to be metacognitive. Eventually you'll gain enough experience at both to be able to do both without the interference. I love the quilt and agree you need a few more holes. It was the first thing I thought of when I saw how far you've gotten.

As for my own thoughts about size, it really depends on what I'm doing. I sometimes start out wanting to make a bed quilt and that, of course, drives the size. If I am making a different type of quilt, I let the quilt decide what it wants to be, so it drives the sizing. Art quilts, fidget quilts and wall quilts all end up being just big enough to serve their purpose. So in a way, the purpose drives the size. An art quilt, for example, needs to say something making it bigger than its theme distracts from the theme and making it smaller than the theme doesn't give it a chance to say everything it needs to say. When I made the barn quilt in my avatar, I started with a bigger piece of background fabric, but at some point I cut it down. I wanted the barn to be the most important thing. It wanted to show that these old buildings are being lost but also how functional they were and how important to farming. My sons insisted that I added a rope swing because without it, the barn could not be their grandpa's barn. That one small addition changed so much of what the barn had to say. But the swing is only one part of the whole idea, so it got added in and I managed to blend it into the rest even though it is separate. I guess, this all means you just make the quilt and like any art, you listen to your heart and soul and the art will tell you what it needs or wants. You just have to listen.

For a long time I insisted that a quilt be made for functional reasons, but they serve more than just practical uses and the size is part of that aesthetic. Sorry that it took me so long to get to that. :-)

LA Paylor said...

Kaja it is so cool. I am impressed. About size... very interesting. I have done a lot of challenges that come with a size requirement, and there are sizes for entry into quilt shows. I keep those in mind if I want to exhibit. Mostly I make what I feel like making, what tells my story with art. With bed quilts... well we have a king and it's hard to make a large one. I do enjoy a twin size bed quilt. I usually know when I start if it's to be art, or bed. The one I am making now was to be 40 X 50 but it's a few inches smaller. It just was. The quilt made the decision this time.
I still haven't started my rock wall but have been thinking about it a lot. That's the first step.