We quilters LOVE a special project don't we? Between making t-shirt quilts, portrait quilts of those we love, landscapes from a place with special memories, or that very unique graduation, birthday or wedding quilt for those closest to us. We pour our hearts into every stitch and fabric choice. Quilts we give as gifts are such a piece of our soul. We spend considerable money, time and creative energy into these types of projects. There is definitely something different when we plan a project that is meant for a special purpose.
As shop owners we spend a lot of time helping customers pick fabrics that help bring their vision to life. For some of us this is an easy task, but for others picking fabrics for a project can be overwhelming. We have a fabric store here in Portland that has over an acre of fabric bolts; talk about not knowing where to start. Sometimes the fabric tells you the pattern to pick and other times it is the pattern that determines the fabric selections. Regardless about which way it works for you, it is all about it what you choose as the designer. This is a great place to ask for help from an experienced quilter if you are unsure.
My sister and I, who were separated by adoption most of our lives, decided to do a special project for each other when we met for the first time several years ago. Our first face to face meeting was a pilgrimage to the quilt mecca of Paducah, Kentucky. Our first stop was Hancock's of course. There, as we observed each other, we chose a selection of fabrics and cut 2 sets of each one. We each went home with a set of fabric and the task of making a "special project" for the other. Talk about pressure! Well, my sister finished this project first and brought me my quilted gift the next year. I, on the other hand, waited and waited and waited. Rachel just got her quilted gift this spring. I was waiting for the fabric to talk to me. Do any of you have this issue? I told Rachel I hadn't forgotten, but the right pattern just hadn't spoken up yet. Finally, the design came to me and I got to work creating a wall-hanging with several different techniques. Now we both have a special project from the other, designed just for us. It really was a fun way to create a gift for ourselves. Our quilts are very different, but very much an expression of each of us.
Sometimes you are under the gun to get something done and you don't have the luxury of waiting for the fabric or pattern to talk to you. I encourage you to let it if you can. There is a unique joy when you know that the fabric has come together just the way you meant it to and you take the time to really live in the artistic experience.
Have fun listening!
Melissa & Rachel