Sunday, November 01, 2009

If The Dunce Hat Fits --- Wear It!

Attention Rise! And others allergic to quilt blather: Lots of quilt blather ahead...you have been warned!




Some people are high maintenance. They have to be going on cruises, or hiking through rain forests, or climbing Mt. Everest, or going to fancy dinners, or U-2 concerts, to feel like they're really living. Not me. Every month this year I've waited like an excited child for the latest basket block from Bunny Hill Designs. I'm easily amused. Then I'd work on it so it'd be finished in time to let the anticipation build for the next one. As I said, low maintenance....or, pathetic.

The year we moved to Florida, I signed up for a year-long applique class. I had selected a "safe," unexciting, off-white background fabric. Before the first class, however, I attended a quilters' colour seminar with Patricia Campbell, of Jacobean applique fame. Ms.Campbell is a larger-than-life character, brash, blonde and breezy. Listening to her, and hearing tales of her fuschia kitchen cabinets, and other shockers, a door opened in my brain and blew a gale force wind into all the cobwebby corners, sending all my preconceived ideas about colour packing. According to this stitching diva, the only valid guideline for any project was to start with fabric you loved! Which put a whole 'nother spin on the ball. I wasn't about to go home and paint my kitchen fuschia, but when the seminar was over, I couldn't wait to go and pick new fabric for the class. One that I loved, rather than the insipid, "safe" one I had chosen earlier. I finally settled on a beautiful, lavender Fossil Fern. Because I loved it.

Mousy Miss Molly. Lavender. Yes Ma'am! Some of the other members of the class raised skeptical eyebrows. They were the ones obsessing about matching their applique blocks to their living room curtains. Yawn. My "decor," if you want to dignify it with such a word, is eclectic. I wasn't worrying about matching anything. And so I choose lavender, even though there wasn't another blessed thing in my house that was lavender.

But I still had to learn how to applique. Needle turn, no less. Our instructor, Rose, knew her stuff and was an excellent teacher. But it soon became apparent that I was the class dunce.

After the class I went home, full of good intentions, determined to get my homework done, but I just could not get the hang of turning under those few threads! At the next class, and the one after that, the rest of the class proudly displayed their homework, to "oohs" and "aahs" of admiration, while I slid ever lower in my chair and hoped the teacher would forget to call on me. I really thought I should just quit. I wasn't getting anywhere. But since I had already paid for the year, I kept beating the dead horse.

And then, three or four months into the year, a miracle happened.

Something clicked. I think it may have been Rose's insistence that you didn't have to worry about anything beyond the next stitch.....

So now, I'm a convert. She who dreaded the A word is an addict.
Which isn't to say that those twelve blocks have been put together into a quilt yet.

Some of them are finished; some still need a few more bits; some need to be redone.....



It will be another while before they turn into a quilt. These things can't be rushed. Getting the whole project finished, in the same decade in which it was started, is over-rated, if you ask me. Setting possibilities have to be mulled over; borders considered; quilting designs pondered. These things take time. They have to percolate in the deeper recesses of my brain. Don't rush me.

"Cute" doesn't usually do it for me, but there's something very appealing about the Bunny Hill designs. After the January block I was hooked. I have finished "my homework" every month so far! Yes, I think I should take a bow! This month is giving me some trouble though. Who knew Sunbonnet Sue was such a clothes horse? I've cut out four different dresses for her, and as many witch hats, but she has turned up her cute little button nose at all of them. So now we have settled on a turquoise-blue dress. Just to be sure she didn't wiggle out of it, I used a little dab of fabric glue. Try getting out of that Suzy Q! And, in a mad rampage of stash organization, I found some black fabric with moons and stars, which she likes much better for her witch hat than the other half dozen we tried. I used a dab of glue on that too. There's such a thing as taking "It's a woman's prerogative to change her mind" too far!

It looked a little empty around the bottom of the basket, so I thought I'd put a few pumpkins there. But every "pumpkin" I cut out looked like a strange, orange lump. Until Fate stepped in, at our quilt show last w.e. One of the vendors had the perfect fabric! All I had to do was cut the pumpkins out and applique them on. [The vendor was less than overjoyed when I asked for an eighth of a yard!] It turned out nicely, and I haven't heard a peep of complaint from Suzy. At least she hasn't tripped over one of the pumpkins yet.....




I love it when I get a week where my m,ost vexing problem is choosing the colour for Sunbonnet Sue's! It makes a pleasant change from other weeks when life's little zingers have me tearing my hair out!

7 comments:

persiflage said...

I admire the ability and the perseverance, and the talent for design. It is fascinating how designs brew away inside the brain, ferment and finally froth up.
Once, to my parents' disgust, because I was top of the class in other subjects, I got the prize for Most Improved In Needlework. No one has ever suggested such a thing again. I know if I could do it properly I would feel good, but also know it is never going to happen. Keep at it, Molly.

Pauline said...

Kudos to quilting AND posting such a wonderful first NaBloPoMo!

The Lassie said...

Oh, I do envy you for this talent! I'm looking forward to the finished product ;)

jkhenson said...

Would love to get together and visit!! :) You pick a few days that work for you and we'll work out a time! :))

Thimbleanna said...

I love it when Miss Molly Bawn gives us a quilty post!!! Those applique blocks are beautiful -- lavender and all. I love applique but hate needle turn -- give me freezer paper or give me nothing. Sue is jut adorable!!!

riseoutofme said...

Well done Molly! I presume you are going to maintain this high standard throughout November? I might as well crawl away into a corner right now ....Sigh ...

sewpam63 said...

I am giving you a STANDING ovation!!! Way to go and way to SEW!!! Your applique blocks are looking FABULOUS!!! And, isn't it such a relief to NOT worry about color. Choosing what you LOVE makes the stitching easier! I'm THRILLED to hear Pat Campbell was teaching!!! ; ) Thanks for sharing and enjoy your "A-word" journey!