by Sandra | April 16th, 2009
Just so you know, there was a time when I did do piecing— ta DA! I learned how to use color when it came to fabric by creating pieced quilts. This was before the fabulousness of the Electric Quilt Program that turned every quilter into a pattern designer. Those early lessons were invaluable to working with color as it related to fabric. “Strawberry Sundae” above, created in 2000, was the third pieced quilt I had made.
When I purchased the first Electric Quilt software, I thought I had died and gone to heaven. No more color mistakes because I could work everything out in advance including cutting instructions. I could see a finished colored version of my idea in advance of ever taking a cut into my precious fabrics.
You know this “but” was coming didn’t you?
After awhile I felt pinned in (no pun intended) by piecing because, although there were infinite ways to arrange geometric shapes, I wanted to be able to do more than that. I wanted to create those beautiful applique quilts I drooled over in my quilt history books. Free flowing design without any seam restrictions. Piecing made me feel like those little kids of the fifties wrapped up in so many layers for winter weather that the child was held prisoner somewhere inside all of that gear. I needed to shed the confinement of the geometric straight jacket.
The other problem was my kids were toddlers and they didn’t much like mom giving her attention to that sewing machine either. Obviously all the elements were in place to make the switch over to applique. Hand applique that is. The kids were happy because, they thought <grin>, my attention was solely on them 24/7 due to the fact I could take my applique anywhere they were. I was happy because I discovered I could still paint, only this time with fabric and thread.
In most cases, not all, when I see a pieced quilt I can’t help but think of it as the background work ready for some applique to bring it to life. Now I see the applique and think, “how can I take it up yet another notch without changing its function of being a “quilt”? I am never content and I am always searching for something more and exciting to come up with.
I could never stop at ‘good enough’. I think it is a sickness no? )
©2009 Sandra Leichner