Who’s in charge here?

Here’s where the current project, Elemental Changes, is at the moment:

Elemental Changes in progress

This is one quarter of the quilt on the design wall, minus some background/fill in pieces. I finally decided that I needed to see it on the wall instead of just imagining it in my head, so I put it up this morning. My first thought was “Okay, maybe this is going somewhere,” but that turned into “It’s not speaking to me.” Well, it’s speaking to me but it’s not saying the right things. In my head I keep seeing more color behind the Inchies parts, instead of this fade-into-the-background greenish white thing I’ve got going on.

The idea in the beginning was that the quilt needed a background that was subtle and didn’t fight with any of the colors of the Inchies, because the Inchies are the main thing. I chose this neutral green/beige/white color palette so that it would be quietly in the background, but it’s just not looking right now. I keep seeing color, lots of color, in the background so that the colors can interact with each other more and I can play with the transparency and luminosity of it all.

When I look back at some of the quilts I’ve enjoyed making the most, here’s what they’ve all had in common: gathering lots of fabrics, cutting piece by piece, playing with the color and shape interactions on the design wall and letting serendipity make the magic happen. I haven’t done a piece like that in a while. I guess it’s time to dive into the stash and pull out hundreds of fabrics and let fly the creative spirit!

I have to laugh about this kind of thing whenever it happens, because I remember a conversation I had with a fellow quilter years ago. She said that she thought that so many women were drawn to quilting because it gave women something they could control, when so much of their lives is just beyond control, or even controls them. I told her I couldn’t speak for all women, but I don’t control my quilts, they often control me, demanding to be made a certain way or with certain techniques or colors, happily tossing my plans out the window without second thoughts. This one’s a case in point, right here. The quilts are in charge, and I’m just along for the ride.

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