Friday, November 20, 2009

"Lemons into Lemonade" or "How to Quilt without Fabric or Thread"

Hi gang!

I hope everyone is doing well and enjoying the fall season. Even in hot and humid Miami, we are feeling some relief from the brutal heat. Down this way, we do not have an official fall or spring. However, we do have three un-official seasons; season 1 is when the humidity is LESS than the ambient temperature, season 2 is when the humidity is GREATER than the ambient temperature, and season 3 is hurricane season. Thanks to the miracle of Air Conditioning, it is always Quilting Season!

I have not been sewing as much as I would like this year but that does not mean my projects are not always on my mind. So while I am at work, or stuck in traffic, or packing & unpacking boxes, or painting walls, or any of the millions of things that have kept me from making quilts this year, I am designing and planning in my head.

Here is an example…

Yesterday I was stuck in traffic for well over an hour. It was an upper middle class to affluent residential area. Traffic has all but come to a stop. I start looking around and all the houses have beautiful wrought iron gates, stone fences that look like artisan masons slaved for a year to make, incredible landscaping. Hmmmmm……Time to turn lemons into lemonade! I pull out my phone and start to take pictures.

One thing I have been on the hunt for is inspiration for a fabulous border design. I can draw flowers and I can make the individual feathers on a plume but I have been struggling to create a graceful, beautiful spine and/or vine design. There it was! On a gate!

I emailed myself the photo and at the first opportunity printed it in black and white on a full size sheet of paper. I then edited and traced the design with a Sharpie pen right on the black and white copy. After a few more minor edits, I traced the design onto another blank sheet.

I then mirror imaged the design and butted them up to each other.

Then I made lot of copies so I could play and see how the design would look as a border.

Okay I love it! Now what size? I finally decided that since most of my projects are 60 to 80 inches square that I would like to see this design at 60”. I isolated the part of the design that I would need to enlarge to make a working pattern. I drew a line on the design for the copy store clerk to use as a guide when they make the enlargement.

My soul is happy! I did not take a single stitch. I did not cut a single fat quarter. Nevertheless, in my heart I quilted! Moreover, when I do have time to sit and play in my sewing room and I begin to work on the border for my current Tropical Album, I have the PERFECT (at least in my heart) design to work with).

Life is good!

Driving to work today, traffic again came to a screeching halt. Hmmmm..... Since I got lucky yesterday, maybe I can find inspiration again today! What do you think? Maybe I can do something with the sky?

Until next time, best stitches!


aka, The Savage Quilter

1 comment:

  1. I received a very interesting email regarding my blog entry asking if copying the scroll design on the fence for use in my quilt is considered copyright infringement. This is a very interesting question and one that I am sure could be debated endlessly.

    First, let me say that I am fussy about copyright issues. Especially, in the quilting world where historically the norm was to copy and share patterns. My personal stance, which by the way gets me in trouble with my some of my quilting friends, is that I NEVER copy patterns, instructions, etc. Not only because it is bad karma but because I know from my friends in "the business" how little they make from each pattern, book, etc., and if we don't support them with our dollars then soon we will not have all these wonderful items available.

    That being said, if I step away from the fiber arts world for a minute and view the question from the fine arts perspective (my background), then there is no copyright issue. A painter is free to paint/interpret any landscape/hardscape/still life and not have to worry about a copyright from the landscape architect/ building architect/ potter that made the still life object, etc. I consider my quilts paintings that happen to be constructed using fabric instead of paints and I do not categorize them any differently than my paintings created in a more traditional medium.

    In addition, I create strictly for my own enjoyment & expression. I will probably include mention in the label that the inspiration for the vine/spine in the border came from a wrought iron gate down my street. Of course, first, I would have to finish my quilt and at the rate, I am attacking my projects these days I would need to live to 320 years old to have a chance.

    If I were going to use the design in any way that would involve dollars, then I would research what my responsibility would be in terms of copyright. Even if the verdict came back that, the design is public domain because it is not sufficiently original; I would still credit the fence down the street because I think it is a great story.

    Here are a few links for those of you interested in the topic…