One of the things that I’m going to share on this blog is my “important quilt” — my legacy quilt — my slow stitching quilt. I won’t reveal the quilt in its entirety until it is complete, which I am guessing will take a year or two of daily work. But you’ll be able to see my work, my process, my additions and subtractions from the design, every step of the way, including my triumphs and struggles.
What I can tell you about the planning of this quilt is that it is HUGE. For those who know me, they know I love giant quilts with lots of pieces, elements, techniques and colors involved. This quilt will be one of those quilts. I can also share, as you will soon witness, that it will not be done by hand, although there will be many hand appliqué, beading, and embellishment elements incorporated in this work.
FINDING THE PERFECT FABRIC TO BEGIN
I won’t be lying to you when I say that it has taken me MONTHS to choose the perfect fabrics for this piece and the time just flew by. I really wanted to begging this quilt at the beginning of the year!
Then, it had finally occurred to me that my long and drawn-out search for the ‘perfect’ and the ‘best’ choices could have been a feet dragging move. Basically, I was scared to death to start something of such a monumental size, not to mention an intimate and revealing project. I also wanted this quilt to inspire others to walk with me, on their own journey, in creating their own intentional fiber art.
When I talk about ‘creative anxiety,’ i.e., ‘not being good enough, creative enough, technically excellent enough, etc.,” that is what I’m talking about. We have all had those kinds of negative conversations in our heads, but we also know on some deep down visceral level, that that’s a bunch of horse poop. It simply isn’t true. The Slow Stitching Movement, if you practice it and follow the principles, is designed to eradicate that kind of negative thinking.
That said, up until just today I was still on the look out for the perfect dirty robin’s egg blue fabric that will eventually represent, I hope, some kind of sky. As a matter of fact, I just picked up several half-yards of blues to audition for my quilt. Here they are:
These are all Kona cotton’s. I have no idea how somebody could actually choose these colors online for a project you’re working on at home. That’s why it is very important that you support your local quilt shops, ask them to order for you, or to at least see their color chart books.From top to bottom:
- Kona Cotton Blue
- Kona Cotton Sky
- Kona Cotton Dusty Blue
- Kona Cotton Robin Egg (in my fantasy, this was the color I wanted and wanted to use. Once I got it into my workspace, I knew it wouldn’t work)
- Kona Cotton Baby Blue (this is not as vibrant as I might have liked, but it is certainly one that coordinates with my other fabrics, and still could work as ‘sky’ in my final piece)
Luckily, I was able to find my fabric locally, but I also was lucky enough that, Sally, my local shop owner, allowed me to take home and play with the Kona color chart.
Before I make my final decision, I want to check out what Cherrywood Fabrics might have. I love the look and hand of Cherrywood.
If your local shop can’t or won’t special order for you, or you do not have a shop within a reasonable distance of your home or workplace, and are forced to shop online for fabric, then shop in an ethical way (a tenet of The Slow Stitching Movement). Order from a place that actually gives it back to the world. equilter.com is an online fabric source that prides itself in their charity work. Basically, I want to support companies and organizations that support others. Robert Kaufman fabrics, for instance, does charitable work for Quilts for Kids. Let’s face it, try as we might to make the best choices, sometimes the stars just do not align and you can’t find exactly what you’re looking for with all the criteria of ethical biting or shopping. There are no hard and fast rules to any of this. Just do your best.
What’s Been Taking So Long . . .
I guess, when push came to shove, I was in no hurry to start and, perhaps, fail. It seems like I finally got my head wrapped around this design and so I was able to finally make my fiber choices. So, after carrying around swatches of various half yards of fabrics for six months, then adding to and subtracting from them, I think I’ve narrowed it down. Actually, I’m sure that I have. Here’s what I have chosen:
- Michael Miller’s Jet Black – which I think is the very best black on the market. Their may be other blacks that some of you prefer, but after very careful and deliberate comparison, Michael Miller’s Jet Black won my heart.
- Michael Miller’s Painters Canvas. I also found and loved (thanks to my Facebook friends and fans who helped me identify the fabric I bought with no selvedge information), Painters Canvas. I chose the Vanilla, rather than the Parchment. What appeals to me about this fabric line is that the textural design element looks like an artist’s brush marked onto canvas. You will come to see how this design will be very important to the message, lessons, and spirit of my particular patchwork project.
I also chose two Moda Grunge fabrics . . .
- Moda Grunge Essence Cream. This image looks dull and dirty
Here’s a pic I took, and not a good one, of the same fabric
- And Moda Grunge White (now you know why my blue choice is so important). This image is SO much more yellow! Sheesh!
Here’s a pic I took, and not a good one, of the same fabric
Finally, and of all things, the India-inspired blender fabric from my very first collection with Troy Fabrics, Katmandu (you remember: the first fabric designed to be embellished…and it will be embellished). I’ll be using the reds, purples, oranges and greens! Here’s an ancient ad promoting my Katmandu line.
Here’s how some of my fabrics look together.
And those are my fabric choices . . . more shall be revealed!
BY THE WAY
The blog and slow stitching website has been getting tons of visitors. I think that I might have struck a nerve!
Take a look at the countries that have been represented:
Once again, I am offering readers of this blog, FROM ALL OVER THE WORLD, to guest blog and to chat about their experiences with intentional slow stitching and the benefits you might have incurred, or hope to benefit from. Please write to me at firstname.lastname@example.org I would love to hear from you! xoxom
Looking forward to seeing this quilt. By the way, all you need to get a better colour value in your photos is to change the white balance on your camera – just look on the menu and scroll down to the right setting and press ok.
Thanks, Kay. I just took these with my iPhone. I’ll have to grab my ‘good’ camera for the next shots! Will you be beginning a legacy quilt?
Thanks for starting this discussion. I haven’t thought about a legacy quilt because my head isn’t in the right spot….stuck on the “I am not creative” song. On a more interesting note I have Katmandu stashed waiting for the right project!
I so agree with you on making something worthwhile – a legacy quilt is a good name. Actually, I hope that all my quilts are legacy quilts as I have always made them slowly and hand quilted them. I have written a blog about my current one which is yet to be quilted. It was a very challenging undertaking but I enjoyed every minute of making it! Do go and have a look –
I love the idea of a legacy quilt. I am thinking once I get back to the states to start one. How on earth did I miss the Katmandu fabric?
Actually started my legacy quilt years ago, but keep getting side-tracked… 🙂 Am just discovering hand-sewing garments, so the quilt will have to wait a while longer! Only just found out about the Katmandu line – these are amazing! But difficult to find, judging by my Google results… One thing is sure: I will watch this space!! Thanks, Mark!
Nice to meet you Mark! I enjoyed the Webinar last evening. You have put into words what I have been feeling/thinking for the last few years. Technologically, I am a bit behind the time (a bit???? that’s an understatement — I still have a flip phone), so I’m not on Facebook, I don’t text, I don’t tweet, and I don’t feel the need to be accessible by phone 24/7/365! But, you can bet I’ll be following this blog. Thank you for what you are doing!
I watched the webinar last night and it is all I can think about! I am the perfect example of the quilter who has a huge stash (35 years of quilting) and no inspiration left. I’ve been wondering what it is that my quilts are lacking and why I am not elated with the finished product any more. For many years I have been thinking about working on an art quilt and I think now is the time! Thank you for pushing me in the right direction. I just needed a little nudge! So excited to see your legacy quilt, Mark!
I haven’t entered your survey above, because I don’t need to start my legacy quilt, I need to finish it! I started it two and a half years ago when I chose the feature fabric, and then the pattern. I spent all of 2012 collecting complementary fabrics as I visited local quilts shops.I made the quilt in 2013 and started the hand quilting. I cheated slightly and applied the binding before all of the hand quilting was completed. That means I can use it on our bed (and have done so), but I know it’s still not finished. It’s winter here now so I really must finish it before spring arrives again. It’s the largest quilt I’ve ever made and I do consider it my legacy quilt because I spent so much on the fabrics and I just love them.
Looking forward to your journey. Not sure if I will join you but definitely looking forward to each step you make.
Listening to the webinar last night was amazing. I have not ever put a name to it, but I have been doing “slow quilting” for several years now and I finally feel validated to know that I am not the only person who wants to approach quilting without rushing to get an end product. I have made some “quick” and “easy” quilts, but they have never been quick and seldom easy, since I have wanted to do something unique with each one. The idea of one legacy quilt has never arisen, but I am thinking about it now.
I’m so excited to follow your journey Mark! I’ve been thinking about my “legacy” project and I’ve decided to make the “crazy” quilt that’s been in the back of my mind for years. I took a class 22 years ago at a local quilt shop and I loved it. The teacher became my very best friend and I took classes weekly in her home for several years after that first class. I had always talked about making a large crazy quilt, and I’ve been collecting fabrics, lace, buttons, beads and trims for a long time. My friend Merry died suddenly a few weeks ago and as a tribute to her, I’m going to start my big quilt. 🙂 It’s so awesome that you chose now to launch your slow stitching movement, it’s perfect timing. Thank you!
Hey Mark—-I’m starting a new creation on my journey! Like you I’m in the process of gathering my fabrics and organizing a vision I have in my head for this really special, powerful art quilt! Although I’m involved with lots of “sewing” and quilting projects —-it’s my fiber art creations that really touch my soul, my inner being,. Its with intention,purpose, and meaning in the construction that makes my art quilts emotionally grab me—–and hopefully all of my viewers! Slow it down, think about why your creating in the first place, what do you want to say? Take a deep breath and go for it —–nothing will feel more satisfying as an artist then creating what’s in your heart! As always all the best—hugs xxxooo Renee
When I was a “baby quilter” and taking my first baby steps in quilting, I was a Slow Stitcher. I didn’t know it, but I was. I savored every single step of learning, and planning, and starting, and finishing, and everything in between. Gradually, I got caught up in the need to make more quilts faster. I’m done with that! I’m going back to baby steps and savoring the process. Thanks for teaching me something I already knew. Ann
My slow stitching quilt is going to be a bit different. I have been collecting fabrics over the last several months in solids and a new solid line is coming to the lqs next month. Then I take the plunge. My slow quilts are going to be smaller art quilts, I have never tried them. I believe they will be improve with curves and odd shapes. I can’t wait. It will take me days to get little sections done, I am sure but I have been obessively thinking about this quilt since I went to the museum this winter and saw Gwen Marston’s Little Sketches. Thanks Mark for shedding some much needed light on what slow stitching is, I will be machine sewing and longarming but that doesn’t make it any less slow. 🙂
I missed the webinar 😦 but will watch it on pay-per-view when it comes out. A friend excitedly gave me a synopsis and it speaks to my heart. I have doubted my creativity and avoided my studio. I am excited to intentionally entertain the idea of a legacy quilt and am calling on my muses to speak! I have a question about the Painter’s Canvas fabric you bought. I am wanting something similar for a background fabric for a quilt. Is the Vanilla a slightly off white? Perhaps in the white family similar to a Kona snow? I just don’t want too stark of a white. Thanks Mark!
Mark, did it ever occur to you that perhaps you were NOT procrastinating your legacy quilt? You were choosing the exact fabrics you wanted. That’s also a very legitimate part of the process. Personally, I find choosing fabric the best part of quilting. But of course, will they REALLY work well together? That’s why the quilt gets made.