all text & images ©rayna gillman 2019
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back to my quilt roots -more or less

August 27, 2019

Strings. Strips. Stripes.  Whatever you want to call them, they are where I started when my mother's friend taught me to make a string block on a paper square...sometime in the 1960s. A decade later that I found a quilting class and (ha - with a pattern) made what amounted to a string quilt. 


I made a lot of detours since 1974, but whenever I was stymied I came back to my friend Helene's advice "when all else fails, sew strips." Last week in the studio I started doing just that.  I cut without a ruler and sew together and the process is relaxing.


Here, I combined some of my beautiful (and not-so beautiful) African fabrics with Helene's hand-dyes and some South African hand-dyes and I sewed the strips together.  This was the result. I left the pieces on my wall and went home.


But when I came back the next day, they looked too predictable, too structured, and while I couldn't put my finger on it - they didn't feel like mine.  Do you know what I mean?  Have you ever experienced this feeling?  


Out came the un-picker and I went to work taking the stitches out of  most of the strips.

When I sewed them back together I worked much more intuitively. I didn't overthink (as I had in the originals) and this is the redo, which looks much happier. Yes - and much more like mine.  Sigh of relief!  What am I going to do with it?  Keep going? Make another one? slice it up?  Or do I throw it into a box and leave it until it asks me to take it out? Maybe all of the above.  Or maybe I have another idea...

In the meantime, I may go back to my triangles.  We'll see. Very often my best work comes out of leftovers (which I have BAGS of).


What do you do when you are stymied?   I'd love to know what works for you!  Let's talk about it.




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