The quilting table is back in business, on a very different project than the one I just finished. 'Red shift' contained a very limited color spectrum (crimson fading to black) and I'd hoped that my next project would be a bit more colorful and free-form.
I've gotten my wish.
The great thing about technoquilting: it allows me to work with my fabrics on-screen, tweaking and fiddling with the arrangement and design until it feels right to me, and only then applying blade to fabric. I've set 2009.1 aside for now, because the design isn't right. I know it isn't right, and it would eat at me as I assembled it.
Since I've got a short time frame for 2009.2, I've switched over to it.
This will be a free-flowing star-patterned quilt. As usual, the recipient is unaware that a quilt is coming. (Someday I'll have to stop writing these entries, but for now I feel that I'm safe.)
This quilt presents a new challenge for me: I've had almost no input on the choice of fabrics. I contacted a group of people who all knew the recipient. I explained that I was going to make a quilt for this person, regardless of outside contributions, but if they wanted to contribute fabric I'd be happy to take it.
I don't have photos yet of the sheer volume of fabric that landed on my cutting table, but it was impressive. I expected a few fabrics, but I'm presented with the very real possibility of being able to do the quilt top entirely through donations.
This has proven to be more of an emotional responsibility than I expected. While some of the people who contributed fabric bought new fabric specifically for this project, in colors they thought the recipient would like, many of these fabrics are old. Many of them come with stories. Several people fished out fabrics and spoke words like, "This came from a dress that my grandmother made me," or "I used this fabric to decorate my nursery before my first child was born." The one that had special resonance for me: fabric from college curtains that the submitter's mother (who died some number of years ago) made for her.
I hesitated for a moment and almost didn't take that fabric. It felt too special, too precious. I've buried a parent. I understand this.
These are people's lives I'm stitching with here: grandparents, parents, siblings, children. I don't know the stories of all of these fabrics, but I'm aware that by virtue of the nature of the project, the stories must exist. Some of the print patterns are new, but some are clearly decades old; some of the fabric pieces had that well-worn softness that only comes from use and love. They've been somewhere. They belonged to someone. It's incredibly easy to wonder if a little of the love and care and goodwill that came from their prior uses, perhaps, lingers.
I find myself hoping that I'll be able to do these fabrics justice.
It's a good project.