Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Metamorphosis and December AHIQ Linkup

I'm still working on the sawtooth quilt. As I wrote in my last post, the original thought was to alternate strips of triangles with a tan or beige sash. Part of the inspiration came from Serenity Now by Lara. Isn't this a calm, sophisticated quilt?  (Of course, she has diamonds that point lengthwise and no sashing.)

But then...
Sujata posted a photo on Facebook of a vintage Ghanaian textile, asking if it inspired anyone to make a quilt. Of course I loved it; it was RED. Narrow strips were woven then sewn together to create the width. Did you notice the areas where the weaver substituted white for red?

Esther Fitzgerald Rare Textiles - early 20th century, Ewe people, Ghana
It could be interpreted in two sets of Seminole piecing, but that almost seems too literal.

The sawteeth were progressing. While sewing more units of six, I had an epiphany. These rectangular units compare to the red rectangles in the Ghana textile.

Testing different background fabrics with the sawtooth units.
I pulled quiet cream/white fabrics, quickly deciding white was too severe. Next I pulled browns, tans, yellows or reds to create an insert. The Ghana textile called for bright red; the recipient called for neutral. After cutting a few samples, I got lucky. M-N suggested combining the red and yellow polka dots after dinner one evening. Later I remembered this quilt in Rod Kiracofe's last show.

Quilt from Found/Made show by Rod Kiracofe, San Jose Museum of Quilts and Textiles.
The way the maker cut and seamed along half the polka dot, sometimes matching the colors of the dots and plaids, is masterful. Thank you for the guidance, M-N!

Deciding between dark red and mustard yellow polka dots.
The yellow reverses to blue which added a subtle variation. Although I tried fussy cutting, the dots on my prints are much smaller than Rod's. My polka dots roam free.

Some sewed inserts with the reversible fabric.

I chose to keep as much of the sawtooth units as possible and optimized the cutting lines to that end.

Blue sawtooth sets on muslin background strung together by narrow strips of maroon, soft yellow or pale blue dotted fabrics.
Improv sawtooth quilt top
This quilt underwent a series of unexpected changes during construction. Evolution or metamorphosis? Did it change in response to external forces or was this quilt always there but needing time to develop? It was beneficial to look, listen, and ponder - steps I intend to do but frequently neglect to take the time. I'm so pleased with the top; the recipient likes it, too.

Detail of improv sawtooth quilt top.
It's on the design wall while I ponder quilting designs.

Enjoy the day, Ann




40 comments:

  1. It's extremely interesting to read about your inspiration :)

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    1. Thanks. I like to read details about other people's quilts so it seems fair to include more information about mine.

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  2. I love that you let your dots "roam free". Good for you! This quilt is just stunning. I love everything about it. I did not know you were doing a link up! I am traveling most of January and wont be sewing a thing, but I can't wait to get back and link up my next improv!

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    1. Free-range dots. The idea tickles me, too. I guess it's our Rice sense of humor.
      I'm so glad you like the quilt. The more I like something I've made, the more diffident I become about showing it. Enjoy your travels. I look forward to reading about them and your improv in future.

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  3. Great post! I'm so often wowed by colour that I don't see form I guess. Your quilt is similar but different. I think it could be hanging in an art gallery. Regarding Rod Kiracofe. I came upon a book by him ."American Quilts Below the Radar, 1950 - 2000). Never heard of him before and I've been devouring this book,and here is mentioned on your blog.

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    1. Thanks, Lisa. I hadn't thought of hanging it in a gallery but will certainly share your opinion with the recipient. Like you, color draws me in. I sometimes think we've let it have too much sway. One of the benefits of modern quilting is their emphasis on design.
      All Rod's books are wonderful. I've enjoyed his new one and the shows I've been able to see based on this book. In fact, he's speaking to our guild this summer. (Always a benefit to arrange the programs.) I'd love to read your opinions when you finish the book.

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  4. now that was interesting to read. I like talking about inspiration and the trip. It is very art deco to me, graphic. The little dots do that kind of shading they did in the 20's too. Using different colored strips was a great choice too. Very intriguing. Thanks Ann. LeeAnna

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    1. What a lovely compliment, LeeAnna. I do seem to get inspiration from several sources and then mix them up. And it's such a help to have friends to discuss quilt-in-progress with. Sometimes they just need a fresh eye. My thought was that I "had to have" different prints; M-N pointed out the benefits of similar polka dots.

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  5. Wonderfully complex yet strikingly graphic. Lovely mix of fabrics and colors. Beautiful!

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    1. Thanks, Julie. It is a very graphic design. I'm glad you like it, too.

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  6. Ann, I just can't think of the right words to tell how much I admire this quilt. It is so simple and subtle, and I really enjoyed the process description. Congratulations and thanks! You also kindly led me again to Lara's and Sujata's pages, which I was sure I had "followed" at some point, but apparently had not, so that's fixed now!

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    1. What a compliment, Sue. Thanks. I follow blogs to read how and why people do things. One of the reasons I like yours. And I'm glad you found other bloggers again. One of my New Year resolutions is going to be tagging posts so I can find them again. I hate to not give credit but sometimes simply can't find them. Need a system.

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  7. Ann, I love how your quilt evolved. Sometimes an idea may be there but 'all the stars are not line up' until that one moment. It happens to me all the time. I am amazed how you combined your work in progress with the visuals of Rod's exhibition. I would love to see this beauty in person at some point. I love seeing all different fabrics making one square of triangles.
    Thank you for taking on the challenge, you have inspired me this morning.

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    1. Thank you for noticing the original textile, Sujata. You have a good point about the 'stars lining up.' My original plan was very ordinary. I noticed Lara's but didn't want to copy it. Your post mixed with the simple work I'd started. And when I took the time to mull it over, so many interesting points (like Rod's exhibition) found their way into this top. Thanks for inspiring me to a unique work.

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  8. What a fantastic quilt! So enjoyable to read through your process and hear how different inspiration sparks steered you to your finish! I'm hoping to work on some improv. today myself!

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    1. Thanks, Audrey. It is more fun to have some meat with the dessert, isn't it? (Process explanation with photos.) How funny that you are improv-ing today; I'm hand appliqueing. Lol.

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  9. This has worked so well, Ann! I love how the different components that influenced you have come together to make something really striking, with clear references to the Ghanaian piece and the Kiracofe quilt. This one is stunning.

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    1. Thanks, Kaja. A variety of inspirations for this quilt. I love the graphic quality of the Ghanaian textile; it was fun to translate that into a quilt.

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  10. The saw teeth rectangles are a wonderful interpretation of the original piece from Ghana. I love the subtle colours in this quilt. Congratulations on a great challenge response.

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    1. Thanks, Maureen. I like the sawteeth better than my original thought to simply re-create the rectangles. Isn't it fun to make quilts for others? They always have a different sense of style so it can be a good challenge.

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  11. Interesting what you used for inspiration and your final product. It's kind of fun to see a quilt's evolution.

    Thanks for linking to Lara's quilt and showing some of Rod's quilt. They really appeal to something in me!

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    1. Thanks, Cathy. I like to see where everyone gets their ideas, too. Lara's quilt is fabulous. So is Rod's book; this quilt was one of my favorites, though.

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  12. This looks great! I don't think this quilt was there all along. I too am very influenced by the things I see while I am making a quilt. I think I evolve and become a different person every day, so the quilt I make today isn't the quilt I would make yesterday. When a quilt takes more than one day (and what quilt doesn't?), then it keeps changing and evolving to fit the new me.

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    1. Thanks, Shasta. It does help to take time to let the quilt evolve. Sometimes one simply pours out. Other times I realize if I'd let it simmer a while, the result would be so much better. Like you, I really don't want to make a quilt in a day.

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  13. Oh, well, that's fabulous, Ann! Talk about running with your inspiration! And it's always great when you can combine ideas like that.

    No improv sewing for me this month, but a great deal of thinking about improv sewing! Hopefully there will be a lot to share next month. :D

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    1. It was great to combine so many ideas, Monica. I look forward to seeing what you've been thinking about when you get around to making it. Happy New Year.

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  14. Inspired morphing of your saw teeth as homage in a way to the Ghana fabric design!
    I love the way inspiration is triggered and the vertical coloured inserts add vigour and movement.
    Love it : )

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    1. Thanks. Recounting the developmental path of this quilt was so enlightening. Now I'll never forget how it came about. I like the vertical inserts, too.

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  15. You are so inspiring Ann! I love seeing the metamorphosis of your sawtooth quilt. ("Did it change in response to external forces or was this quilt always there but needing time to develop?" - love that too!) The path you took after seeing Sujata's Ghanan piece led to a wonderful and unique melding of designs. I get very happy and excited just looking at it! Thank you for the wonderful compliment about my quilt too.

    I did not get to do any improv play this past month and I surely missed it.

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    1. Well, I was inspired by you, too, Lara. Thanks for giving me a nudge to long triangles and a great color pallette.
      There's always next month for improv play!

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  16. Oh Ann, this is brilliant. I love it! Thanks for telling the story about how the design developed. That's what I always want to know when I see an awesome quilt.

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    1. Thanks for the compliment, Karen. I always want to know the details about every quilt so I'm glad you feel the same way. Happy New Year.

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  17. The term "sawteeth" made me laugh. But what's worse is "sawtooths." What a dilemma.

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    1. I keep thinking sawtooth is really an adjective... Sawtooth blade or blades. So what do you say as you make more and more of them? It seemed affected to keep referring to them in the singular. But sawteeth is silly. I meant to rewrite calling them sawtooth triangles. Ah, well.

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  18. What fun to glimpse into how you find inspiration for all your beautiful quilts...can't wait to see how this quilt evolves!!

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    1. Thanks, Mel. I like reading how you make your fabulous quilts, too!

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  19. I love this post! I've been thinking about this "was this quilt always there" question lately. I think of quilts the way I think of art: the piece knows what it wants. It sounds kind of nuts, but many artists say the same...we just have to listen to the piece. I suppose that it's really inside of the artist (or quilter) but as we grow and change so does the work we do. You really have me pondering.

    P.S. "Saw-teeth" is the correct usage--each point on a saw blade is a tooth, the plural is "teeth." "I broke three teeth on the saw blade on that nail" or "I broke three saw-teeth because of that nail." (Sorry, the English teacher in me cannot be still.)

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    1. Thanks, Mary, for the compliment and the correction. It is interesting how a quilt changes when I really stop and consider what to do next.

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  20. Inspiring! I enjoyed reading this post, it's always interesting to see how things transpire and where ideas come from.

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    1. Thanks, Linda. After looking at quilts in person, the next best thing is reading about how they were created. I'm glad you agree!

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