February 1   Things Accomplished

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I described to a friend today in an email how this year is starting to feel to me – a year of consolidation. I meant it in regards to craft, my quilting to be specific. Here is the object in question, the finished quilt top of the monochrome tumbling blocks.

For a few years now, I’ve had the new years resolution to finish x many projects and have failed to deliver. This year, I have no resolutions at all. I’m content to go with the idea that whatever is really important to me, I will do. And the rest, well it was not important enough for me to do. And without such imposed rules, one month into the year and I’ve finally finished my first quilt top for the year. A project in development for over two years now. I hope to be able to have it quilted by the time the year is out. But we shall see.

And I haven’t stopped here. I’ve been looking at all the exciting projects I have queued up, and all the stash that is, as yet, unallocated. And still I am picking up started projects and working on them. I like the tidying and organising feeling of working on projects long into development and the wrapping up. Well. *This* year I like that. This is the thing I often complain about here but don’t explain well. I go through *periods*.[1] And right now, I’m in a progressing and finishing phase. I’m working on the scrap quilt and the charm quilt and finishing off the still in progress Xmas presents. And after those are done, I will be basting and quilting a quilt top I finished last year.

I like the order that is being created. But I am also aware that none of this is really at the creative end of the craft spectrum. And I wonder if I’m out of creative steam right now. I’m preferring to do the repetitive tasks of fiddling and finishing projects where all the creative decisions were made long ago in a startitis phase. I don’t seem to want to sit down and create or plan or start anything new. And actually, that’s ok. Like I said, a year of consolidation. I do do that from time to time – spend a long period just tidying and sorting and finishing things and creating order in my world. The sweeping the floor and clearing off the desk to make for new projects to come.

I’m still hard at work sorting and culling in the house. It’s down to all those boxes you never open and I’m having to look at all kinds of small objects that I don’t really want and make decisions about them. I’m doing it bit by bit. And sort of understanding how those people really turned their life around on Hoarders Buried Alive – that it really is a long and ongoing process but in so doing it also really does change the way you think and the things you do. I am so much better able to just turn down offers of crap other people are trying to get rid of. I actually told the lady at Bunnings that the Australia Day flag she was offering me would “just be one more thing I’d have to throw out later” and she nodded very knowingly. Don’t acquire it in the first place is the best rule of all. But I’m getting there. It’s an emotional process so it does take a while and I don’t feel up to sorting through my past every day. It’s not every day you feel like you can part with it and toss it out. But on good days I’m getting through a lot of it and I don’t regret tossing out anything so far. I guess soon that will make me properly moved in.

And I guess to some extent the Twelve Planets feels like a consolidation process. I’ve delivered 4 of the 12. And I’m very proud of them. I think they well represent the rest of the series to come. Book 5 is very almost at the printers. And Books 6, 7 and 8 are not far behind. All the stories have been finalised and rewrites done. And now that I have sent Jason his edits for Salvage, I realised that I might very well have done all the heavy lifting for editing for 2012.

It really does feel like it will be a good year. On the other hand, the quilt top is upside down in the photo above! It really should look like this here, and that matters to me because I agonised over the placement of the red blocks! My original idea had been to have just 3 red diamonds. But Kate convinced me that I would need blocks for the 3D effect to still work. She of course was right.

I learned a lot in making this quilt. I especially learned a lot about the effects of texture and on mixing lights, darks and mediums. I also learned that overall effect can swamp the individual pieces – I worked so hard on not placing same blocks next to each other etc but your eye hardly really pulls that much detail out to look at. And I also learned that finishing is more important than perfection. Sometimes, the lesson learned is more important and moving on and taking that lesson to apply to the next thing is more valuable than standing still, redoing to perfect the current.

I took the lessons from this quilt and immediately turned them to my charm quilt. The charm quilt has no two pieces repeated. Every piece is unique. And in mine, I’m trying to do something with hexagons and darks and lights to create yet more tumbling blocks, but this time in full colour. Turning to this project I was immediately able to see several sections that simply did not work, and why. And there was nothing for it but to unpick these pieces and replace. And there I was removing centre pieces and replacing like it was nothing. The process gave me some insight into art – the process of making art, where works are about exploring, not perfecting, a technique. Where the process of creating art is about learning to create rather than creating perfect work  for the appreciation of others.

Photos of the next quilt to come.

[1] And my issue with this is that whenever I am deep within one, I worry I will never come out, and do likely the opposite. So in a knitting obsessive period, I worry I will never quilt again. And vice versa. etc. So actually I am worried I may never knit again right now. I’m also worried if I take knitting with me this weekend, I might get kicked into a knitting binge and abandon my quilting.

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