In my Instagram search box, sometimes the bots throw interesting things up there for me to see — like this cartoon of the sad, then very happy dog, courtesy of a little tender care from a young child. Coming into the year 2019, I had three quilts who were like the dog in the first frame of the cartoon: miserable, the quilts quite possibly headed for the dustbin to be put out their misery. But like the young child who was “on it,” the first (Plitvice) has been completed, the second (Sing for Joy) is finished and awaiting photography and a blog post. The third…well, here’s the first frame photo of it, when I left it several years ago:
First, a detour.
Intrigued by what qualities would most accurately predict outstanding achievement, Harvard researcher Angela Duckworth isolated two qualities:
So what does it take for a quilter to look at a seemingly failed project, and decide to figure out how to redeem it, to re-work it, to finish it up. Sometimes I don’t have a clue why we finish some quilts. I’ve seen a lot that might have better been abandoned, mine own included. But perhaps the idea of “grit,” which Duckworth articulated so well in her TED talk, might have something to do with it. For what we do in our workrooms is somewhat about thread and cloth, but other times, it’s a microcosm of the world outside our sewing room doors. Okay, back to gritting my teeth and tearing apart a half-built, unhappy quilt.
The first step is to balance the value of the buildings. If you see the first example, they are all about the same value (light-to-dark) grey fabric, even though they are different prints. And too many different windows!! In the new version, I used the same fabric for the bulk of my windows (excepting the “apartment” on the lower left), cutting from different places in the fabric to get a different look. I’m much happier with this.
I found some pictures of Small Worlds I liked on the web and on Instagram, and pinned them up in the corner for inspiration, as I worked through the next section. I took apart my existing under-the-building-shapes and re-used some of them, yet adding others. I also moved around the shapes to suit what I liked, deviating from the Jenn Kingwell pattern.
Then there was this choice: in the lower left, which little large-door shed should it be?
UPDATE: I should also note that I find the My Small World Templates from Sarah Bailey to very helpful. If you head to Sew What Sherlock? you’ll find instructions on how to obtain them. I printed them out on my favorite vellum paper, but also printed them on cardstock, for tracing in some sections.
Finally I declared it finished, posted it up on IG to check in with the organizers of the My Small World. I passed.
The before of Section Two. Ugh. Too much of everything. It’s like I opened the doors to my cupboard and tried to put one of every color, every value and every fabric in this thing.
Auditioning–trying to keep it to a limited palette of colors, trying to repeat fabrics or mimic them in other sections, all the while listening to this:
I’m learning a lot about grit from the four presidents discussed in her latest book.
The little record was from a Polaroid swap some time ago: I took apart the Polaroid block and inserted it.
I wanted the Art Gallery Maker fabric in this section, but it was too blah next to the pinwheel underneath. So I bordered it with a bit of blue.
Section Two: Finished!
I sewed the two sections together, and am now back where I started long ago. But I like it much better. I really like the small pinwheels section, the same print in different colors (from a purchased charm square pack) used with the same background print. I studied many peoples’ Small Worlds to see how they were harmonizing, and where it was okay to throw a ton of stuff at the quilt to see if it stuck. The hashtags #mysmallworldsewcial and #mysmallworld have been really helpful. (The first one is the current one; the second from long ago.) And the two leaders, Nicola and Paula have been great, too: it’s always fun to see their comments on my posts, encouraging me on.
As my buddy Linda noted, once you get going on Small World, it’s hard to do anything else, but I did get my Gridster block made for Lisa and sent off. She’d met Jenn Kingwell (there seems to be a theme, here) and Jenn had given her permission to send patterns out for our group make Steampunk blocks, for her turn at Queen Bee of the Gridsters. Lisa also sent us some of Jenn’s fabric, asking us to go wild.
Here’s the first batch of blocks to reach her. They do play well together.
Lastly, I had a nice time visiting the Inland Empire Modern Quilt Guild.
Simone (on left), helped me set up. This is before it started.
Some scenes of the Guild Meeting. They are a small (50 person) guild, but have such lovely people.
I’m headed here this week with Leisa–can’t wait!
Hope your small worlds are harmonizing, your colors singing together, and that your sewing places are fun and cozy places to be!