Wednesday, January 13, 2016

My Word-of-the-Year -- EXPERIMENT

On the top of an old sewing machine
 at the entrance to my sewing room
I've been drawn for some time now to the kind of quilts, mostly utilitarian in nature, that reflect a 'use what you have',  improvisational style. Most seem to have been created by women who had to use what was available to them and they made it work; in many cases coming up with what I consider very interesting pieces; unpredictable, exciting, unique. The primary purpose of these bedcovers was to keep their family warm not to win a ribbon at the Fair or be compared to other quilts in a judged show. They provided an outlet for innate creativity along with being serviceable.
My mind kept returning to this type of quilt but with so much yet to finish I kept putting off experimenting in this style. So this year I'll focus on experimentation; still having a goal of  finishing at least thing or two from the past, of course.Using different fabrics from my stash, working with limited scraps, trying different ways of doing things (scissors vs. rotary cutter? Dare I?) and just seeing where it takes me is my goal.

Books like A Communion of The Spirits by Roland Freeman and Unconventional and Unexpected by Rod Kiracofe as well as books with images and stories of the amazing Quilts of Gees Bend and virtually all of my quilt history and state documentation books have interesting examples.  

Rail Fence
by my Aunt Agnes

The quilts made by my rural Minnesota Norwegian Aunt Agnes also qualify. This one is made of corduroy and is featured in Minnesota Quilts; Creating Connections with our Past.

At the end of my previous post I posed a question. I challenged a couple of friends to think about a word that would represent a plan for the year. On January 1 we met to share our words. Before they arrived after lunch I quickly got busy and made my word into a textile reminder. I used a different fabric for each letter; wool, ticking, corduroy, 70's, a 30's feedsack, solids .....representing the broad variety I want to incorporate in my work this year.

I found a chunk of printed denim which became the background and I realized as I worked that I liked the fringed selvage. (It's hard to see on the bottom against the white design wall)
The sides will be left raw also. I just folded over the top and pinned it to my design wall. My first experiment! It was so much fun to make decisions as I went along. New for me and very liberating. I will work on it a bit more and find a place on my wall for it to serve as a reminder should I begin to think I have to finish something before I can play.

By the way, my friends arrived and we shared the words each of us chose and the reasons. This generated some very interesting conversation and allowed us to resulted in our getting to know each other better.

This is a close-up of my  'idea' bulletin board. You can see two buttons I've had poked into the corkboard for a long time.

'What if?' fit in with my plans for 2016.  I don't know where I got it or to what it refers but I took it off and added it to my denim sign.

If you have chosen a word or have other things to share 
please leave a comment. 


  1. Great word of the year you have selected--sounds like a great way to start an adventure

  2. I haven't chosen a word for the year but I do like yours. More and more I'm asking myself 'What if...' as I work on my projects, and it has resulted in some great decisions. Have a great year!

  3. Hi, i am a quilter from Spain. Thank you for sharing so many beautiful quilts photos. I follow your blog now.


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