Sunday, September 29, 2013

Little Small Things

I cut two Mug Rugs out yesterday and am still waiting to learn who my partner for the MugRug Swap will be. Hopefully notifications go out by the day's end. The 10x6 dimensions for them are more of a challenge when working with actual patterns. I've found a few 6" block patterns and settled on one for this, however, depending upon my Swap Partner, either this will work or I will find something different. Either way, I am getting good practice at working with those 'little small things'.

That phrase makes me smile and, for me, comes from the movie "Nanny McPhee", a 2005 British film starring Emma Thompson. The first of that series is the only one worth seeing, has a brilliant use of color, and is extraordinarily funny with an amazing story to tell.

Yesterday, I also finished piecing #4 of the BOM I am quilting with my local friend. As I mentioned before, we are using the same pattern from one of the endless online sources for free quilt patterns. It was our plan to learn these different techniques and come up with a scrappy sampler type quilt. I am working with the smaller lap size. This block pattern is called the Rail Fence, and I've used it for the "Halloween" quilt I just shipped out. 

As I have mentioned, a number of my friends have gifted me with various fabrics in the last few years, and so with several containers of STASH, I pulled them out, and sorted fabrics with a new eye on what kind of look I want for the next quilt.

I have it in my head to do a Row of the Month quilt. I haven't got a pattern, but have been looking online at different images  that other quilters have done. 

Like the Block of the Month, these quilts can be done as a sort of sampler, which means the quilter gets to practice a block repeatedly in a horizontal fashion. 

My next sorting was to pull out all the florals in my stash.

They are just piled up here on my floor. As soon as there is enough light in the room, I will separate them into light-medium-dark values in the colorways. My plan is to make these the primary foundation of fabrics, so after sorting, the next decision is to see what I need to purchase to help tie what is here together.

One of the stores in town has the most beautiful floral fabrics and has a basket of 1/8th yard pieces that I may look at and select a few to bring home. 

The hardest thing about scrap quilting is not knowing fabric amounts to purchase so you have enough. Here is a link to one row of the month example, by Davina Thomas and was recently in a year's worth of articles in the magazine Popular Patchwork

While I like this example and others I saw, I would like to develop my own skills at creating a quilt with this ROW system on my own. 

I enjoyed making the house blocks on two other quilts, and I love many of the example rows show above, some of which repeat blocks.  I haven't created many of these blocks, so it will certainly stretch my skills and ability to work with traditional quilting. 

Everyone gets to say what skill level they are on, and with almost four years of working with this fabric art, I consider myself an Intermediate Beginner. That means being still in the Beginner phase but stepping out and taking more risks.

As you can see, there is no right or wrong way to construct this Row of the Month quilt. It looks like my first step is sorting all the fabrics I have, and then being willing to take a chance on myself.

When I assess what I see above, it seems to me that there are simple rows and there are complex rows. It will be interesting to see how that plays out over the next year as a metaphor for each month. 

We never know what any day will bring us, from boundless joy to deepest anxiety. Its important for me to see the greater plan, and then to be willing to adapt to unforeseen circumstances. Having a Plan B has always worked for me.

This plan is to start with the more simple blocks for the first rows, get a feel for how long to make them, and start doing the math. Maybe some quilters with more skill would write a pattern and know how wide and long each row needs to be. Perhaps when I graduate myself to Advanced Beginner or step into the next level of Intermediate Quilter, I will have a better idea of how to do that.

In October, I plan to join the local quilter's guild in town, and also as part of it, join the Comfort Quilt group that is an off-shoot. Both groups offer more classes and opportunities to learn from the more seasoned quilters.

Its the 'little small things' or steps we take that keep us on our path of evolution in body, mind and spirit.