I must confess that the mundane tasks that have kept me busy the last two weeks have nothing to do with progress, but everything to do with designing the direction of my seam ripper. "Again?" you say. Yes, again. I thought I was finished quilting, but looked at the fires I was so excited about. Stepping back I saw what looked like several isolated campfires out on the Sahara desert, unattached, no interconnection. Besides where did they get the wood? It made my beautiful Phoenix bird look like he was stuck in space instead of arising from anything. For two weeks I practiced my ripping skills and took out every stitch of thread-painted flame and McTavishing in the area beneath the bird. Urgggggh! I broke one seam ripper that fell on the floor sharp side down and snapped the point off. The other one came loose from its handle. Fortunately, all I had to do was twist it back in so it wasn't ruined and I was able to continue my destruction.
I try to test all my designs before sewing, and thought that I had created a workable, beautiful plan. It failed. Now I am on my third and last attempt. I can't rip anymore or the fabric will disintegrate. Part of designing is figuring out what went wrong so I have analyzed my shortcomings in depth. The fault lies mainly in the fact that my brain works within a box and I am drawn to photorealism and symmetry. I have a husband and daughter who wouldn't recognize a brain box if it hit them on the head (called learning disabilities). As a result they tend to the abstract form of creative thinking. I never could figure out "abstract." So, I left my realistic flames and went back to the original drawing where fire is only suggested, not defined. I cut and spread a few pieces of fire-suggestive fabric on the quilt before I did the ripping and decided that I finally had the final solution. This is not easy for me, but it is happening.
TIP: By all means test ideas. They are more likely to lead to success although there are occasional failures. Planning is beneficial, but the designer must allow some flexibility in case things don't work out as planned.
After unsewing, it was clear that I had a lot of fabric easing to do so I pinned the affected part of the quilt on a styrofoam board as if blocking it. I stuck lots of pins in the areas where the fabric resisted flattening. Then I sprayed it to death with water two or three times, and could almost watch it shrink. Finally, I took the hair dryer to it in the hope of heat-shrinking it further down to a workable amount of ease. That did a pretty good job of it, but I decided to nail it down by quilting a grid, black on black. My wonderful dual feed foot slurps up loose fabric like a desert traveller drinking soup and settled it down ready for the next step. Now I will fuse and appliqué bits of fabric on top and McTavish the whole thing with red swirlies, going over the grid as well where it shows. The new pieces of fabric on top will strengthen the weakened areas where I had to rip.
|Dual feed foot on a tester scrap showing grid quilting and a tiny bit of fused "flame"|
(the red piece is not the fabric I will be using to suggest fire but it will do for testing)
Talk about designing. All that took a lot of problem solving. The new design has to work because I don't know what else I can do at this point. At least I won't be quilting until I get the bits of flame-suggesting fabric laid out to my satisfaction. No more ripping!!!!!
Enjoy designing this week. I am certainly enjoying it more than reverse sewing.