I have been a member of the Quilters Guild for nearly 40 years. Over that time I have said “yes” on many an occasion when I could have said “no”. Hence I have been an area rep, regional coordinator, newsletter editor, AGM traders organiser, and I've probably been roped in for other jobs I can’t remember!
In the 1960s I thought patchwork was just hexagons sewn together in rosettes. Thus there is a UFO in an attic somewhere destined never to be completed. In the 1980s I bought a book on patchwork, began to meet other stitchers, and had my eyes opened to the wonders of colour and pattern.
However, I discovered that I like symmetry and really got stuck with an awful lot of straight lines in my work. My comfort zone I suppose, but I was happy. Then the Guild put out a challenge to members and I volunteered to organise the travelling exhibition. I even ordered some of the fabric to compete. However, when that fabric arrived I looked at it and for the life of me I could not work out how to use it!It wasn’t until three trunks full of quilts arrived for display that I saw how others had worked with a rather uncompromising fabric.
A4 journal quilts began to be an “in” thing and I was itching to join in, still not knowing what I was doing. Groups of friends would have challenges. Big shows would set a challenge and I would go along to look at the results. In Region 3 we tried to get a challenge group going but it withered and died relatively quickly. In the end, there were two of us left and my companion was on her way to sail from the Caribbean to the UK. Anyway, the two of us decided to carry on and set a series of topics for the time that she would be sailing the high seas.
I freely admit that the first few I made were pretty awful! Bad interpretation of the subject; an inability to work on a small scale, unable to get my work squared up. Binding? Well, forget it! Wrong fabric choices, I couldn’t think outside of my box. BUT something changed. Not quite sure where or how but I had one of those eureka moments and made changes to my wadding. I simplified my designs and stopped trying to make something too intricate. I began to have fun with these small pieces and a sense of freedom began to develop.
When I looked out the original photos I discovered all those A4 pieces were mainly made in 2013.I would like to say that I am happier now working on a challenge but I have just joined in with another one set in a different style. This is getting the old grey matter ticking over nicely to bring my mental image of the finished piece into fruition. No doubt I will worry all the way until the hand in date but isn’t that part of the process?