Something old, something new

 May 17, 2012
Posted by Cindy

"Improv Rehearsal" 2012 Cindy Grisdela

This quilt is quite different from my usual work, but there’s a reason for that.

I’m participating in a challenge with a group of other quilters. For each round, the organizer gives each person a vintage block and the challenge is to create something new out of the old piece. The challenge is called “The June Bride” and the theme of each round is related to weddings.

I’ve been surprised at how difficult this is for me to do! I accepted the invitation to do this with some misgivings, but decided that it would stretch my creative muscles. And it’s proven to be true. Because of my recent move, I was way behind on getting this piece finished, but it gave me a goal and a deadline to help me push through the block I’ve been experiencing lately.

The theme of this round was Rehearsal Dinner. I thought I had taken a picture of the original block, and I probably did, but it’s gotten mislaid in the chaos. The pink and white triangles in the quilt were originally all sewn together into a block of pinwheels. I had to take them all apart because the seams didn’t match, the triangles were different sizes, and they were sewn together with what seemed like dental floss–not a pretty picture.

Not being a traditional quilter, my quilt is only loosely based on the theme, obviously. I’ve always wanted to make a bubble gum pink and brown quilt, for some reason.  After I took the original block apart, I brewed some green tea and dropped the light triangles into it so they wouldn’t be so bright white–a new technique for me. Next I sewed the pink and light triangles back together to make squares and created a background of improv pink, brown and blue strips.

One requirement of the challenge is each quilt has to include some blue–for the “something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue” wedding rhyme. I wouldn’t have chosen to include the blue into my color scheme, but I have to admit it adds interest to the finished piece. Another lesson learned about color interaction.

I had a whole narrative arranged about the placement of the squares from the original block involving the middle square representing the couple about to be married and the others standing in for their friends and family, but it didn’t quite gel in the end. It was a useful peg for me to hang the design on anyway, and that was helpful to me as I was going along. So I learned something new about design.

For the quilting, I tried something else new–large overlapping spirals–again to represent lives coming together. If you right-click on the image, you’ll be able to see the stitching better. I wouldn’t make the spirals so large next time, but it’s an interesting motif to have in my back pocket.

I was reasonably pleased with the end result, although I don’t think I’ll be going back to these traditional fabrics any time soon! I do have some new ideas to try a design that’s more my style though, which makes it a worthwhile exercise in my book.

Mark your calendars for my upcoming solo show at the Great Falls library during the month of June–more to come soon!