When I was working on the book it was easy keeping to this challenge. I was forced to be creative every single day--creativity under pressure I called it. After it was finished and I was completely drained, that became more of a challenge. So I started working on a Dear Jane quilt as another challenge for a little bit. Fun! But then somehow life got in the way and some of the things I neglected while I was so busy working needed to take center stage. Quilting took a little dive for a few weeks.
But I've still kept up with my personal challenge for more than a few weeks now. Some days I write something creative on the blog. Sometimes I'll try to get creative and take photos. Both of those count as creative efforts, believe me. Or maybe I'll make a bracelet from my vast bead collection, write a poem, or listen to my daughter and fix my hair a different way--that last one's a REAL creative challenge for me. Sometimes if I'm desperate I'll go out and just browse through a few stores and perhaps buy a small vase and fill it with flowers and plop it on the shelf. Or change the wreath on the door. All of these count as little creative efforts, I think. And they make you feel so good.
It's fun to connect your creativity to other quilters too. A little while ago I started a yahoo group for quilters interested in connecting with others who also love making doll quilts or small quilts--SmallQuiltTalk. We're a very friendly bunch and we love to talk about the quilts we're making and inspire each other. Every couple of months I design a pattern for a small block and introduce a Challenge for quilters to make a small quilt out of that block.
Pinwheels block--the current challenge
I keep the rules for the challenge simple--there's no need for anyone to create a masterpiece if they don't feel like it, we're not competing with each other. It's just a simple incentive to challenge quilters to make a quilt of their own design from a simple block. We play around with fabric, colors, block layout, borders, etc. to come up with quilts that are unique. Everyone who participates follows the same guidelines and uses the recommended fabric colors if given, but the choices of fabric and block setting will vary from individual to individual. Seeing what each one of us comes up with is the fun part! We'd love to have you join us.
One time last year we had a challenge for a little Scottie dog quilt inspired by this quilt. I'm still working on mine . . .
I think the fun thing about making these small quilts is that there's such an immediate satisfaction when you actually finish your project. There's not a lot of pressure, many in the group don't participate at all, while some participate every time. It's fun to see the creations of those who do make a little quilt and you have to give them all credit for sticking to a commitment to make a little something.
Since I've been feeling a little stressed lately with all sorts of typical family things (teenagers anyone?), I thought it would be fun to jump into the challenge myself. When I give the Challenge I'm often too busy to make it myself. I've made a couple of the challenge quilts but not all of them. Seeing what everyone else had made for this one--Pinwheels--really inspired me. So two mornings ago I cut some new fabric I bought recently, sat down and sewed the blocks. Not too hard. Thought about the layout for a little bit, tried out a few different prints for the borders, and made a little quilt! How easy was that?
I typically don't use brights or contemporay prints in my quilts--I'm more of a 19th-century girl--so this was another challenge for me--to use fabric I liked that wasn't my style. I like it! My daughter loves it and I see her looking at it slowly, taking in all the unusual prints and hope she's thinking "I could do that."
I decided to quilt it by hand because I love the look and the slowness of it all is very relaxing.
I know some think that hand quilting is difficult and say, Oh no, I can't do that! Try it. It really doesn't have to be perfect--you'll get better with practice. Or maybe, like me, you'll find that it won't matter if your stitches aren't perfect. Quirky, childlike stitches are just fine, thank you very much . . . .
A couple of new stencils I bought for little borders.
Use a water soluable marking pen to mark your lines. When you're finished quilting, wash out the lines with a damp cloth.
My all-time favorite quilting thread--YLI.
My favorite is the Light Brown--not too dark, not too light. Almost finished a spool already working on the book quilts so I bought another just in case.
Oh yeah, I needed some new "Springtime" scissors, LOL, so picked them up at the Quilt Fest last week.
I'm loving those polka dots!!
I'll decide on the binding tomorrow and then won't it be nice to have my little quilt finished? Oh my, it feels good already. It matches my kitchen colors too and I have the perfect place to hang it. Where I can look at it and feel good every day.