You know those No Passing zone signs shaped like a pennant? I want to make a NO COMFORT ZONE sign!
Why? Because it's always nice to have a reminder to shake things up a bit every once an while.
It's very easy to get into a rut of what you know and what you can do well. Why change anything when you can make a quilt quickly using x technique, and y fabric, and z pattern?
It's certainly true that sticking with one thing will definitely teach you loads about it. That's a large reason why we've spent 9 solid week son Stippling - we've learned more about it, experimented with it, and challenged ourselves to see it in a new way.
But after the learning phase is over, sticking with the same thing, day after day, quilt after quilt, can get rather tedious.
Personally I've recently realized I have a huge comfort issue when creating Goddess Quilts, specifically in the fabrics - all batiks that read as solids.
I also can't seem to help myself from stitching the snot out of these quilts. At least with my last quilt, Torrent of Fear, I avoided this tendency and for once stitched on a larger scale and ended with a much softer finish.
Part of this challenge to create 12 goddess quilts is to drive myself out of this comfort zone rut. I'd really like to challenge even the notion that a goddess quilt can't also be a bed quilt, or a lap quilt, or a baby quilt. That one of these girls could also be used and useful, not just a pretty girl on the wall.
So partly from this desire, and partly because I've been watching Top Gear UK a lot recently, I decided to force myself out of my comfort zone and into a whole new world of fabric....
I've been collecting prints since I started quilting, but for the last 3 years a better description would be HORDING, since I haven't used them at all.
I've purchased gorgeous prints, collected a drawer of fat quarters, and splurged on lots of yardage with the idea that ONE DAY I'll use these pretty fabrics to make skirts, pants, shirts, quilts, and many other fun projects.
Yet all I've done is collect and wait...collect and wait...collect and wait...
I'm tired of waiting! I'd like to USE these pretty bold, crazy, wild fabrics in an awesome quilt so it's time to bust out of this comfort zone and go DO IT.
So I did.
Pretending a bit that I was a Top Gear presenter with a quirky production team sending me rules for a challenge, I decided to cut and piece a Giant Dahlia quilt top this weekend with the following rules:
- No batiks.
- No fabrics that read as solid, even prints look busy up close but that read solid from far away.
- No buying new fabric.
I can't tell you what a challenge this was! For one thing, while I've collected a lot of prints, I seem to have mostly focused on green and blue, and many colors like purple I had barely enough to cut from.
But I made do! No buying new fabric or trying to micromanage this! Every time I felt the need to run to the quilt shop, I'd grab the loudest, most garish, clashing print I could find and force myself to cut a big ole' piece of it for the dahlia!
At first I wasn't very optimistic. This can't possibly look good, can it? All these different colors and shades, and busy, complicated prints - they're just going to make a bit mess!
But slowly the quilt took shape and I have to say, it's probably the prettiest quilt I've made in several years:
So where does the goddess go in this quilt? Right in the center where she belongs! I'll be using the second goddess sketch in this post right in the center of the quilt, then squaring the whole thing up and adding a border.
In the end, this won't really look like a giant dahlia as much as it does right now, but I definitely plan on making another one with a different color layout.
It's a terrific pattern and surprisingly easy to put together. I used Marti Mitchell's Giant Dahlia templates and so far they've been perfect to cut out, mark the matching points, and it's piecing together very easily.
So now I'm needing to head back into the No Comfort Zone to finish up this top, piece the goddess center, and get ready to quilt it nice and open so it can be used as a throw on the couch!
Let's go quilt,