Nellie"s Needles

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Design Wall Work

Back when I began quilting I had taken a week long workshop with Nancy Halpern. One of the exercises was to design a block and then to construct multiple blocks using different fabrics for each. At that time I had figured out it was more fun just to play with each block ... choosing fabrics that worked together within that limited area. It was more difficult to choose fabrics to coordinate a new block to the ones already made. In spite of Nancy's advice against it, that is how I made the majority of blocks for this quilt ... playing with each block without consideration to those already constructed. All this was new to me and some of the N's got made backward ... just another variation on the block, right?

"N"Block Quilt - 40"x 52"
Since that early experience, it's been my preference to design compositions for pieced projects from multiple units that are already made up. Block exchanges are definitely a challenge. Here's a wall hanging from a previous exchange with many of the same quilters who made the spiral blocks for me. The theme for this one was "flowers in a container". To read details about it go here.
"Psycho Deco Fleurs" - 32"x 41"(2005)

Thanks to all of you who are leaving comments about the posting of my design process. Some of them require/inspire a response from me.
  1. J, I've very much enjoyed reading your accounts of constructing your wonky quilts. Making order out of chaos most definitely applies to this project. My husband's observation about what's on my design wall is that it's a "mobbly-gobbly mess". He's not shy about expressing his opinion. Many times he's "commanded" me to "stop right now" before I ruin it (whatever is on the design wall). I just shoo him out of MY studio and continue working.
  2. Quilt Pixie and Kay, cutting up someone else's work can be touchy. The blocks in this exchange are some of the elements for an intended larger piece. The ones I've cut within this piece were done to make the scales of size and color more workable. As the artist, it's my responsibility to make the best use of these contributions. That may necessitate slicing, resizing, or even eliminating. A block for the "Fleur" quilt ended up on the backside.
  3. Karoda has suggested a title(s) ... swinging zen OR my zen is swinging. Thanks, that's not bad. However, I'm seeing/feeling Africa in this piece, specifically North Africa.
The colors and richness of copper and brass, the depth of history, plus colored lights are reminding me of the time I spent in Morocco.

I can't say I'm not a bit nervous about this piece being successful ... especially since I've publicly committed myself. I'm crossing my fingers and relying on my past experience that this piece will eventually work.


Judy said...

That is a lovely piece. I too was thinking Morocco.


Sharon said...

Nellie - I am enjoying your process -much like what I do, too. What I am still curious about is how it is all joined together since it is all quilted before hand?

Nellie's Needles said...

Sharon, please be patient. I'm planning a tutorial post down when I begin sewing the blocks together.

jude said...

joint projects can be quite a challenge. i used to organize quilt projects where i used to work, and i was always the one to put the blocks together. it is amazing how it comes together, how you finally find that thread that binds it all together. i alway enjoy your processes and your thoughts.