Sunday, September 14, 2014

Session One at the Retreat

The retreat is proving to be meaningful. The hardest thing about the "StacknWhack" process is pinning through eight layers of fabric. Before that was cutting of eight layers which had to be precise, with accurate pinning. As the first hour passed by, I was still cutting, and it seemed endless and quite confusing. I did what I was told, and that proved to be a wise choice.

This is the first of the blocks I finished. The store owner-teacher loves fabrics and loves teaching, so her patience with each person in the room is inspirational. I put in a new blade for my rotary before leaving for the retreat, and brought flat pins to go through the layers. With each step, I tried to understand more of what I was doing, and for the most part simply surrendered to it all.

My second block has a real spinning feel to it, and not as much contrast, but the fabric details are so very interesting. Its important to lay them all out with the spin going in one direction. They cannot be chain stitched to avoid any mishaps. Block assembly is actually the easiest part of this work. At this point, it is still hard to know what the quilt top will look like, but the colors are rich and I love it.

The third block I finished carried a part of the fabric print to another place with the contrasts. The art deco fabric is much more subtle than what other quilters are working with. This is going to be a guy's quilt all the way.

We meet again for all of Sunday, however I took time at home to clip the dog-ears, finish cutting more background pieces, and pin what I could to keep a forward motion going for the project. I discovered that there would be enough fabric to make a twin size quilt so I've opted to go that little bit larger from the original 8 blocks to 11. However, it means going beyond how the book shows the pattern, and letting it evolve beyond what is there. The twin size is as large as I care to make because of the weight that builds with batting and the back. However, I will be happy with the larger quilt with all this effort.

The kaleidoscope pattern works by directionally matching 8 tips from the cut triangles. Now that I experienced three of them, I get how to make them sit in center to make the pattern fling outward. It still is a bit magickal how a block turns out. I thought I could change it but the cuts dictate the layout and in the end, its still amazing.

It occurred to me that some patterns forming were bright like human extraverts while others were shyer & less noticeable at first glance much like human introverts. Both forms are very interesting and unique. The final layout will be like building a community of stars!

One of the 12 blocks cut & pieced will not go into the quilt. Like most of us struggling to find our place in our world, it will need to audition to see how it fits in the greater plan for the quilt top. There is nothing right or wrong about the blocks any more than there is anything right or wrong with who we are. We either fit or we don't. 

The next session for the retreat will last as long as my energy lasts. Luckily, there isn't any real calculating left to do because the book still confuses me. I learned a great deal just simply observing the choices others made for their fabrics. Tips were shared about pressing preferences and even how to finish the centers of the blocks so they lay as flat as possible. Real life happening in the moment. 

Many of the quilters named their projects. Mine isn't ready for that step. I keep being enchanted by the kaleidoscope concept and have a feeling that word will be part of the name.