Sunday, March 15, 2009

The Fabric Makes the Quilt

While I do have a few things I'm still trying to be focused on finishing, it looks like I am kind of shifting into "starting" mode again. As per my '09 resolutions, I am trying to prioritize what I start and think about which projects are really most important to me. One thing I am very determined to start is a memory quilt based on my trip to Namibia (a mere seven years ago). While I was there I bought these strips of folk art embroidery done by members of a women's cooperative.

Penduka Embroidery

The strips are about 40" long and 6" tall. I have a pile of fabrics for this quilt that I selected, I don't know, about five or six years ago. I was reading Roberta Horton's "The Fabric Makes the Quilt" at the time. I've been waiting for the fabric to make the quilt ever since. Maybe I was supposed to leave it out by the machine with a rotary cutter nearby?

But seriously folks. I like that book and found it inspirational like most of Roberta's books that I've read. Nevertheless I have yet to be able to tap into the quilt that the fabrics and these embroideries want to be. My original idea was to make a row quilt where I would leave these strips uncut and mix them in with rows of piecing. I still might do that. I'm worried that there might be too much white space. I could also cut the strips up, probably into a variety of sizes to keep designs intact.

Penduka Embroidery Close Up

I know you might be thinking...after seven years if she hasn't made this quilt, how much does she really care about it? I do, though. I really want it to happen, so I'm determined to make some kind of start on it. The reason I never have yet is, I think, due to that certain lack of vision. Quilters block. What have you. But I have lots of fabric, so I think I will just start cutting and sewing and see what I come up with. Hopefully in doing so I'll be able to strike upon some kind of plan.

On an unrelated note, look what I got from Dionne! A little taste of the tropics...I love it.

Gift from Dionne


Andrea said...

Libby - these are gorgeous and I think I would be as hesitant as you as to what to do with them. If you're really stuck you could send them to me - lol !

jovaliquilts said...

Thanks, your leave-the-fabric-by-the-sewing machine comment helped me start my morning with a laugh! Glad you've decided to tackle the Namibia embroideries; I have no doubt your unerring sense of style will lead you to make a wonderful memory quilt.

Debra said...

I understand your hesitancy to cut the embroideries. For me, that is a very big step and I always think it is so final.

I certainly like the row idea and some improv/wonky blocks to go with would be suitable for the folksy look of the embroidery. It's all so free-spirited that to me it seems to need a light touch. White is good!

Jessica said...

I don't think I could cut those.. they seem so nice and whole in the strips now. I think a strip quilt would definitely work out well, but you're right, fabric choice is key. the good thing about strip quilts is that auditioning fabric is really easy. I hope the fabric and the panels click for you soon.

Barbara C said...

I also had to laugh about the fabric making the quilt. If only...

I think your first instinct to make a row quilt is very good. The white's not necessarily a problem, but you may want to use some white or light colors when you piece the fabric that divides the embroideries. Go ahead and try some things out. Seven years? Oh, honey, that's nothing in quilter's years. Sometimes things just need to happen in their own time.

Rita said...

Wow, what a lovely memory of your trip to Namibia!! These embroideries are very special and I can't wait to see what you do with them! I would be tempted to frame them and hang them to be admired. Maybe you can find some fabrics that remind you of the colors and the culture of Namibia :)

Dionne said...

Those embroideries are FABULOUS! I'm sure whatever you come up with will be brilliant!
PS - I'm glad you got my little package safe and sound.

Leah/ Texas/ United States said...

you have great humor.

regarding the namibia (?spelling) strips, dont even worry about it. i say, hang one of them in your sewing room so you can see it every now and then, and when the right "time" or right "fabric" comes along to make it into what it is going to be, it WILL happen. or perhaps you'll visit an art museum somewhere and see something that will totally inspire you. so i say, dont touch those strips until you're absolutely sure you love what you're going to do with them. because it's not like you can just run down to the corner fabric store and buy more of them.

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