I started this quilt in the fall and if you want to read the back story, feel free to click the links to read Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, and Part 4. WARNING: This is pretty heavy depressing stuff. Read with caution.
So why have I waited this long to finish this quilt?
The quickest and easiest answer is I needed space and time. I also needed to look at the quilt for awhile to figure out how it should be quilted and ultimately what more it needed before it could be called "finished."
It's now been on the wall since October where I could see it every morning as we ate breakfast, every afternoon as we ate lunch, and every evening as we ate dinner, and anytime I cooked as well.
Living with a quilt top on the wall is a terrific way to figure out how to quilt it, or if anything needs to be changed. There have been many quilts that have ended up with different borders and / or quilting designs simply from looking at it on the wall for a few weeks. There's something about looking - really looking - at the design every day for a few weeks or months can be very helpful for figuring out the next step.
In Sinkhole's case, I already knew what the next step would be: quilting the rings of the hole with all the words of my past, literally the negative phrases that I heard as a child that I allowed to define me and sew up the seams of my personality and psyche for way, way too long.
Looking at this quilt would make me really angry sometimes, other times it makes me very sad, but lately every time I see this quilt I just see what remains to be done. But I continued to wait and wait and just stare at it wishing I could finish it, get these awful words out, and get on with my life.
Finally I realized last week that I was just waiting around for the "right" time.
Usually for me this is the week after Christmas, the last 7 golden days of the year that, for the last 2 years, has been some of the most glorious quilting time of my life. Quilting Sinkhole during Christmas? That just seemed wrong...
But what is a "good" or "right" time for this kinda of thing? The quilt needs to be finished, and I'm ready to work on it now.
So what is left to be done?
Well, the very first step was to figure out the next step with the design. What in the world is going in the background of the Sinkhole?
For that I decided I needed to see the new movie Tron. I'd seen previews for this movie as far back as August and I knew that I wanted to incorporate some of the imagery and design into this quilt.
Yesterday I finally went to see this movie and had high expectations for the design inspiration I would find there. I was not disappointed (note: I said "design inspiration" not "deep and thoughtful plot" or "well rounded, 3 dimensional characters").
I came home finally ready to design the background, but as soon as I looked at the quilt top, I knew I had a problem.
Most of Tron is very dark in shades of black and gray that match perfectly with Sinkhole, but there were also sudden electric bursts of white, silver, or neon orange that stand out boldly from the rest of the colors.
When piecing the quilt top, I had major issues finding decent gray fabrics in a variety of shades. I pretty much had to make do with what I could find and unfortunately, what I could find was just not good enough.
Looking at the quilt last night, I finally accepted the limitations of what I could find in fabrics.
And this got me thinking. What if piecing the colors was the wrong approach? Haven't I been saying over and over for the last year that thread can do more than just stitch the layers of a quilt together? What if the thread can provide the color that the fabric cannot?
So I've decided to start over, almost entirely from scratch.
Not completely from scratch. I do love my double sided quilts, and since I already have this whole thing created, why can't it just be used as the back?
Yet even as the back, it's still not right. The lighter rings are too light, even some of the dark rings are too light. This is a hole of all my darkness and it needs to look the part.
So today as the quilt comes down off the wall, it's going straight onto my tables to be painted, darkened, and (hopefully) completely changed.
Originally I was going to carefully paint each ring with Shiva Paintstiks or colored pencils, making sure to stay in the lines and keep everything neat and tidy.
But I'm not feeling neat or tidy anymore.
There is another type of paint I use occasionally for landscape quilts called Setacolor. The translucent paints can range from very dark to very light, depending on how much water you dilute them with.
You can do some really cool things with this paint, like salt effects and sun printing. I've used these paints before on Torn Tree, so I know I can get the effect that I want. The nice thing is that if I totally screw it up, I can always soak it in water and get all the color out. Water based paints rock!
This is most definitely not a dry medium like paintstiks or colored pencils. The whole surface will get very, very wet, so I've protect my tables with a plastic shower curtain. This is Sinkhole with the first layer of paint:
Once the paint dries, I can heat set it to make it permanent, though painted fabrics will never hold color as perfectly as dyed fabrics. For this reason, this is one quilt that will never get wet again after it has been quilted and bound.
So that's what I'm up to today. I wasn't planning to get back into Sinkhole until after the holidays were over, but when it's time, it's time. This quilt is ready to be finished and I'm ready to be done with it for good.
Let's go quilt (or paint!),