Sunday, April 29, 2012

Crazy Quilt Chaos

Years ago I made a Crazy Quilt throw.  You know, the kind you see made of left over velvets, satins, jewel tone fabrics stitched by hand.  That was before digital cameras and before I ever cared about taking pictures of the gifts I made. I did a lot of sewing and embroidery before I went to work full time in about 1976.

In recent years, I have wanted to learn new methods of crazy quilt.  I love to see what you would call "eye candy", however, that style of CQ is not really what I would choose for myself.

This block is my first attempt at machine stitching a CQ block. I became disinterested as I worked on it.  Put it aside.  Re-organized my room.  Picked the block up again.  Super unhappy with it.  Tear it apart?  I thought about it.  Then I REALLY looked at it.  Looking for the flaws.  There are a lot of flaws. Where are the solid fabrics? What was I thinking. The pieces are big chunks, especially that HUGE one one the right.  Why didn't I apply the processes to this block that I had read about in several books.  The only word I can use to describe it is CHAOS.

That got me to thinking about what was going on around me while I was attempting to start this project. The chaotic mess my room was in with too many items stored there to make room for the kids. The activity that was going on around me overwhelmed my desire to focus on the project. Many emotions were occupying my mind.

But I realized the block has purpose.  The theme portrays that I was born in Chicago, though I haven't stitched the identifying features on the tower.  My birth was definitely a chaotic time.  Shortly afterward I was sent to live with my aunt and uncle because my mother was unable to care for me. So the chaos of the block portrays the chaos of my roots.

Nope, I'm not keeping this block.  Much like I have learned to overcome the chaos in my life, I will learn to decently piece a crazy quilt block.  Come back and see.


Unknown said...

When I was quilting I tried machine crazy quilting but it hasn't worked for me yet. I still have the piece I started maybe I will show you someday!

Barbara said...

I'm not good at machine (or any other kind CQ either, Carol. I just don't seem to easily get it, although I can do most other things, Crazy, huh? (no pun intended ;)

jinxxxygirl said...

My work often reflects whats going on around me too. I've really not produced much since this big life changing experience came about. I don't do well with change and my artwork or lack there of reflects that. I do my best to open my arms and embrace this change my husband needed so badly. But i know in my heart of hearts that i need a home....a home is my anchor in the storm........I think your crazy quilt is wonderful........if anything i don't care for the Chicago Bears part of it but then i'm not a Bears fan. LOL! I love the 'stariness' of it. Hugs! deb

Momma Bear said...

I don't know Carol I like it!
there is a feeling of movement in the way the pieces are arraigned.
it feels "windy".
and if Chicago isn't in a semi-constant state of fluctuating chaos I don't know my city!)!

it seems to me you were sewing your currant mental state into the block too not just the past.

the Boys moving out , and the cleanup/rearranging of life, schedules/home are in there too.

I see a lot of thoughtful thoughts
in the choice of fabric and placement.

I would council keeping it for now, so you have something to work off. this is your first piece, now lets see you grow!)

Flora in Bothell

Yesteryear Embroideries said...

I like this and I like that you have a theme about your life to it! I do not use a machine too much, I love hand work. But a machine can come in handy at times!

Crystal said...

Oh Carol, I immediately liked this piece!
It draws you right in... the colors/fabrics are gorgeous. It has depth and movement. It IS art - there's no denying it.

If you don't like it, that's ok - but it is a record - as all art is. It reflects the thoughts and feelings you were experiencing while you were creating it. It has a bit of your soul in it. So I say, keep it. It doesn't have to be your favorite piece.... but it is a piece of you, and looking at it sparked a very positive response from me. I am SURE that lots of people would feel the same. :-)


Darlene said...

Hi Carol, I wanted to respond to your post about your block. You sound like a woman who has had a lot of hardship in the past, but has managed to find joy and hope in your life. To that end, I think the block is a reflection and is "the foudation" The beauty of crazy quilting is that the foundation fabric is just that. Sometimes the beauty is what comes after, the lace, ribbon, charms, tatting, motifs and the joys that come after and can make the foundation sing. I would suggest keeping the block and slowly add to it with the next layers. Like your life, You will always have what's "underneath", but you can add to it and make something of beauty..... Fondly, Darlene in MI

Cathy said...

Why not keep it as a reminder of your chaotic roots? Besides, it's really not a bad block, Carol. Not embellishing it also says a lot about where you are NOW, ya know? BTW, even Judith Baker Montano has her first piece, and yours is much better, LOL!!! Hugs, Cathy

GlorV1 said...

Hi Carol. Hope all is well and how fun that you are quilting. I've made about 4 little quilts from odds and ends. Not very good at it. Have fun and enjoy. Take care.

Timaree said...

Sometimes a piece doesn't work out. I would have tried evening it out with embroidery and added embellishments but the thing is, it reminded you of something you don't like - chaos, so yes, it's probably best to move on. After all this is about having some fun! Growing and being challenged are great but behind it should be joy in the project and you don't feel it here.

Carol- Beads and Birds said...

OMGoshh!!!! Thank you.

You have exactly nailed how I feel about this block. I just didn't realize why it was so distasteful.

I'm pretty happy with the next one. I'm just so happy to be stitching again.

pam T said...

I've always loved crazy quilting... but at least you are making a valid attempt at it! great job !


Hello Carol. I thought the fabrics in your first CQ block really reflected Chicago. I am glad to hear you have found a happier life now verses your past. I will look forward to seeing your new CQ block. Hugs Judy