A New Year and a New Quilt

With a due date the beginning of February, I guess it is time to get beyond mental quilting. The Stretching Art theme this year is “Under Scrutiny.” (The Stretching Art challenge is to make an art quilt 18 x 36 on the assigned theme and to try some new technique. The quilts are hung in three or four Mancuso shows in the East, so I’ll probably never see them hanging.) This theme was daunting for quite a while. Last year’s, Dream Big, was much easier for me (Dreaming of Cool, Clear, Abundant Water here ).

What hindered me was that the theme, asking us to look deeply and drill down, seemed to invite representational art (even though the challenge mentioned abstract ideas) and I prefer abstract design. I didn’t get an idea till Fall came, and gorgeous leaves filled the sidewalks.

So I took a walk, camera in hand. From the photos, I selected this one and cropped and cropped and cropped. Idea one was to replicate the last one, more or less. But before I started sketching, I remembered an ancient start of a tree themed quilt. I’d made four test blocks, one for each season, and gazillions of  one-inch HSTs. The plan had been to make the first four the center of a queen sized medallion quilt, either as four blocks on point or as a square..

I got stumped on the decision of whether to keep the season represented by the center tree for that whole quarter of the quilt or to intermingle the HSTs randomly or to keep seasonal coloration by rows. I set them aside with the fabric the HSTs had been cut from while I thought on the dilemma. And you know all about “out of sight, out of mind.”

Having remembered them, I thought, Why start my scrutiny from the tree when I could start with ecosystem, forest, tree.  Finally I was ready to sketch. Although I did the outline to scale, I’d made the 6-inch tree blocks too small, but the idea seemed a good place to start..

leaf sketch

I’d gotten this far before Thanksgiving, but set it aside again for the holidays.

Today I dug the old tree blocks out from the bottom tub in a four-tub stack and began auditioning fabric.

leaf fabric audition

The leaf “veins” will be much narrower, of course.  And I’m still debating whether to vary the shades of gold in the background or use just one. I’m leaning to the one. I also have to decide whether to make the “veins” straight or slightly curvy as in the sketch. I’m leaning to straight. Curves can come in the quilting. And I’m pondering whether to make templates or do improv piecing. I’ll sleep on it.

Linking with Nina Marie’s Off the Wall Friday.

 

 

 

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6 Comments

Filed under design, quilting, Uncategorized

6 responses to “A New Year and a New Quilt

  1. Hi Claire! My grandma-in-law used to tell me, “I just don’t see how you do it all!” And that is my reaction to all your projects! Go, Claire, go!

  2. I really like your inspiration and how this quilt is coming together.

  3. Cher Smith

    nice colors and some great ideas…look forward to seeing what you decide to do!

  4. Oh this is going to be a cool quilt! I love the color palette!

  5. Sue

    Hi, Claire, Happy New Year! Haven’t been here for awhile. I like the idea you have for this a lot. I can see straight lines for “veins” which would sort of match the geometric shapes in the trees…but I can also see very narrow curvy inserts of bias-cut strips for the veins. I am curious how you plan to proceed with the piecing, and can’t wait to see how it goes. It is fun to see this kind of very unique concept move along to a finished project!

  6. I’m intrigued by the use of the traditional blocks in an abstract design. Looking forward to seeing what sleeping on it did for you!

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