Saturday, August 23, 2008

Rip van Quilter

Lost time: thinking about redoing a page of my book has me pondering the reasons. Is it unnecessary perfectionism or artistic integrity? As far as I'm concerned, it can be either - and probably a number of other things besides.

There are times when a mistake shows up too late to be fixed, or when the work involved or the amount of material needed for a fix would be prohibitive. Then it can be accepted with a philosophical sigh and shrug, called an "Amish imperfection", and left that way. Alternatively, it can be declared a "design decision" and made part of the whole work, perhaps even improving the original idea. Or it can cause such a negative reaction that the unfinished piece gets put away, never to be completed.

There are times when I swallow my perfectionism and realize that nothing I make will ever be absolutely perfect. Then there are other times when I perceive that something is so wrong that it needs to be changed in order to be what I meant it to be. This is such a case. I didn't see it coming when I was working on the pages - or rather, I did have a vaguely uncomfortable feeling, and ignored it. It took the photograph - the distance create by looking at it that way - to show me what was wrong. Fortunately, though it will take several hours to redo it, it's not too late. It will be worth the extra time because it will show what the poem means to me at that point. In this case, that is necessary for artistic integrity.

Back to the drawing board...

Stitches in time

P.S. concerning San Francisco and fabric: I found "Far Out Fabrics", but nothing was there that I liked well enough to buy. A problem I had in all the fabric stores I checked out - none of them were willing to cut less than 1/2 to 1 yard of a fabric. I want lots of different material for piecing strips etc., so I have to really like a fabric to be willing to buy a greater amount. As a result, I brought along only three small scraps from the remnant bins of a couple of stores. One store in downtown SF did impress me - "Britex" has four floors of fabrics and accessories. Without something specific for which to buy, I was overwhelmed and left without purchasing anything.

I have continued work on my fabric book and now have some pictures of progress to show. The road has kept me busy for many hours; I had originally planned to paint it, but then found a flagstone fabric that is absolutely perfect. I made a pattern so that the road would continue from page to page, then cut out iron-on batting plus the fabric, which I basted onto the pages, then sewed on by hand.

Next step was machine quilting around the stones, which gave the 3-D effect I wanted. I'm very pleased with the way it looks! The first photo shows the difference between the road with and without quilting. The next ones show the pages sewn together; lots of hand sewing remains to be done for the details, but first I will sew the reverse side so that I can finish all machine work.

Actually, I'm not pleased with the connection from the fifth to the last page - there's a break there. The poem does ask where the road will go, but my rainbow of possibilities on the last page doesn't connect with the road. I will probably rip the second-to-last page and re-do the road to make it fit. Lots of work, but then, I wouldn't be a patchworker if I weren't willing to work for the best possible result!