Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Acute Frog

Quilt No. 92
March 2013

I agreed to do a demonstration at our quilt guild on how to create a pattern suitable for appliqué.  This was sure to be the proverbial piece of cake.  I always have a couple of quilts of this type in various states of completion.  It would be a simple matter of collecting up all the constituent bits when the time came.  And that time was somewhere in the very distant future.   

Fall and Christmas ripped by like an uncaring tornado.  January, living up to its reputation with white and bitter cold, loomed up on the schedule.  Abruptly, it was less than two weeks until I was to do the demo.

My quilts usually involve scaling up my art work or existing drawings or photos into a pattern that I can then use to make the various shapes for the quilt.  I start with a drawing of a cactus, and I end up with a cactus on a quilt.  Plenty of stuff happens in between those two points. This is tedious work, suitable only for the not-easily-bored.  It involves creating line drawings, and transferring these onto acetate sheets, then onto freezer paper.  Ultimately it yields the pieces that are sewn onto the background. 

There’s always plenty of all those items basking on my quilt table.  Who could have ever predicted that my demonstration prep would fail to coincide with an in-progress quilt?  When have I ever had all quilts completed?  Never before had this situation occurred.  I can only surmise that some sort of conjunction of the quilting planets had aligned to conspire against me.  I was finished every quilt. 

A new project would have to be started, but I didn’t have enough time to jump into a major quilt.  I needed a minor quilt.  A cute frog would do.  But I had to hurry.  And I had to break down my process into steps I could describe, something I’d never before intellectualized. I usually just work in wordless surge of creation. This was more like deconstructing a recipe - taking the cake apart and coming up with the flour, eggs, and milk that were the starting point.

And so I picked a smiling red-eyed tree frog, taken from a calendar.  There was no time to get too original!  Whipping through my preparations, I realized that it had to be not so much a cute frog as an acute frog – according to medical terminology –  “brief and severe”. This episode was definitely that and the usual chronic process – “long and dragged out”– was a null option. 

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