After ignoring the quilt for a day or two, I reluctantly headed into my study to try and make sense of the mess I’ve made. First? Browse through quilt books. This is Balkan Puzzle from one such book, mocked up in my quilt program. Meh. Then I thought I should look at photos from some of my trips to France, specifically southern France. This idea of a block surrounded by a grid seemed to be common:
Both of these photos are from a Carolingian church in Lyon.
So I monkey around with ideas from the photos, ideas from my files and come up with this one, which is basically the first photo’s design turned on its side. If I focus in on the yellow blocks surrounded by the red “petals,” then it also reminds me of the fields of sunflowers we saw as we traveled in the south of France.
I cut out a bunch of golden yellow squares, and had to piece one of them back together from the previous quilt. Red squares distributed–thanks to the gift of fabric from my friend Tracy, I had just the right kind and color.
I’d found another similar quilt online, and freaked out that mine might be considered a derivative of that one, so I reworked the borders to make it really mine. I probably shouldn’t freak out, as I long ago realized that ofttimes there is a certain zeitgeist in the universe and creative and intellectual projects often overlap. My friend Tracy told me about an experience her sister had about someone apparently trying to claim a Dresden Plate idea as her own. It’s about as silly as Pioneer Woman claiming Texas Sheet Cake for her own (in a post on my cooking blog). So what is new? What qualifies as something truly different and profoundly unique? Once I heard that if an idea was 10% new it was pretty “out there,” and may not even be accepted by the public. Perhaps that’s why retro designs appeal to us–they are new without being new.
Sewing is a slow process, as there is a lot of figuring out of which red square/black square goes where, and the drawing of the line, sewing, cutting, pressing, up-and-down, up-and-down. Another challenge for this quilt was that I was bound by my desire to only use the French fabrics, and there was just no running out to the little shop in Aix-en-Provence in the south of France to pick up something that would work better. Scarcity can make a quilter more resourceful.
But the fun thing is “opening up” the reds around the yellow square. I think the quilt looks like it’s blooming, like a huge sunflower.