Sunday, September 20, 2015

Quilting Expectations

I've been thinking about expectations a lot lately. These thoughts are mostly quilting related, but these could apply to many parts of my life. As with many things, the only time I'm conscious of expectations (mine and others) is when things are not going as I think they should be, otherwise why question them?

Landscape Art Quilt Challenge button
I've decided to re-examine my quilting expectations. I've often said that quilting is about fun and wanting to do things as opposed to having to do them. I'm also about avoiding deadlines - and ironically I started a monthly landscape art quilt challenge! (more about that later).
Still flitting around like a butterfly

I’m thinking about all of this as my list of active quilting projects keeps expanded. I've had a difficult summer and it would seem that I dealt (or didn't deal) with this by starting many projects but not finishing much.

I started by looking at my list of ongoing projects, especially those that have been in the design stage for a long time. It might be time to question these. Do I still want to make this? If I do, what's stopping me from completing it? If I don't want to make it, then is there a reason that I have to?

Block 36 of Grandmother's Choice
Reviewing the list, I decided to remove four projects. One was a quilt that I said I would make for friends, but I'm not interested in doing it anymore. Since my friends don't really have expectations of what quilt I'll make, I've opted for a much simpler quilt made of 5" charm square batiks. This will be much easier to make and probably just as appreciated. The other three projects seemed like good ideas at the time. I did start one of them, but I'm sure I'll be able to use the few blocks I've already made for something else.

Embroidered Frogs
Blogs for Frog Quilt
After making a few of these quick and fun landscape art quilts, I've decided that I don't want to make complicated (i.e. pieced blocks and/or appliquéd) large quilts any more. I do have two of these on my list, but they’re more than half done. I want to finish my Grandmother's Choice quilt (I’m looking forward to designing a medallion centre block for it); and the Frog quilt (it's too cute to stop but may take a while!)

As for the monthly landscape art quilt challenge, I have to say that it hasn't been too stressful, mostly because I can't image anyone in blog land would really care if I do this or not; and it has helped me think of techniques and subjects that I'd like to try. Speaking of which, here are a few ideas that may or may not happen:
  • I saw a flock of Canada geese that was landing on the water. It was so cool. I'd love to find photos of these and try quilting them.
  • I have a really great picture that I took in China of rice fields in the evening. The colours are amazing and it would be a great image to make in the style of Monika Kinner-Whalen, of My Sweet Prairie Studio. I love her mixture of background thread sketching and hand-embroidery.
  • I’ve also fallen in love with Muv's (of Free Motion Mavericks) Free Motion Landscapes. Her friend, Linda Wulf Koenig also made a lovely one using hand-died fabrics. This is definitely on my list!
  • The Great Wall of China would be great, done from photos we took there last year.
  • I love swamps and I want to depict the swamp we had next to our cottage. I've already started gathering photos for a project.
Since it's already past the middle of September, instead of starting a new landscape art quilt, I'm going to complete a landscape UFO. It’s a tree that I started in a course with Elaine Quehl of Ottawa. I thought I had lots of work still to do, but after taking it out last night, it might be manageable in the next couple of weeks. For some reason, I find this project very intimidating. I guess that's another reason to keep at it!

I’ve decided to make the tree in the fall season. I've been intensely looking at the trees as they change colours. Hopefully I'll find the fabrics to pull it off!  

What I learned:
  • I am often my harshest critic and a lot of my crazy expectations are self-inflicted. It's good to take a step back every once in a while and review these.
  • I often get great ideas for landscape quilts on the drive into work (that's because I'm not driving and I get to look at the amazing scenery on the parkway). I think that it's a good idea to put these ideas down somewhere. I don't have to make them all, but at some point I may be ready to try them.
  • I love that the quilt world is so huge and includes so many types of quilting. It's wonderful to be able to try all of these things and see what I like and what I'm best suited for.
How are you handling your quilting expectations?

I hope you have a great week.
I have linked up this week with Free Motion Mavericks.


  1. Hi Andree - Gosh, we sure do put stress on ourselves easily, don't we? I have to regroup periodically, too. That frog project sure is adorable - nothing wrong at all with having a long-term project meant for slow work at leisure! (Kinda like a quilting metaphor for occasional meandering strolls through the woods on a perfect day.) The nice thing about not quilting as a job or for competition is that there are no deadlines from outside sources, and we can re-think our project list any time we want. :D By the way, I also perused your kayak landscape post. That is so pretty! I love the details of the flowers and the stringing of the kayak. The sky looks absolutely A-OK!

    1. Thanks Lynette. Yes, a long term project is good, as long as there aren't too many of them! As you say, what's the hurry? It's just the efficient part of my personality that wants it all done now (my but that sounds like my mother talking! I'm sure she's chuckling to herself as she looks down!)
      I had a great time making the kayak. It was the perfect picture for it. I'm now struggling to put a few pictures together to make up my childhood swamp. That's harder to do, but then no one will know if I fudge it.

  2. Hello Andree,

    It has been interesting reading your post, because I sympathise totally with your approach... looking at landscape, nature and photos and digging into your memory, and then finding your own way of interpreting the images.

    Your tree is amazing- -so bare and stark, and with so many possibilities.

    Thank you for linking up with Free Motion Mavericks!

    Love, Muv


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