Last week, I finished this piece for my (secret) Kaffe Mini Swap partner.
Over the years, I've participated in lots of block exchanges -- those are easy, the recipient tells me what she wants -- block design, fabric style, color palette. All I have to do is cut and stitch accurately like these I made earlier this year for one of my Stash Bee hive members!!
I've made quilts for themed challenges such as this "road of life" with my local guild. It includes all the important slices of my life, my husband, my children, my pets, my passions. It was the "odd quilt out" when hung in the row at the exhibit, but I love it and have it hanging in my studio.
Round robins are another challenge I've take on several times. The one I launched a year ago is one of my favorites and it's laying here next to my desk, waiting to be quilted.
Challenges, block swaps, round robins, and now mini-swaps -- all are avenue for expanding one's "box" -- pushing us out of comfortable color zones, nudging us to try new stitching techniques, daring us to exercise our creative side.
Once the exercise is completed, we have the opportunity to reflect on what we've learned about ourselves as quiltmakers. It's a beneficial exercise as it helps us build a new confidence and excitement about our craft/art.
So what did I learn this time?
First, when one is confined to a single line of fabric, you need a lot of it! I like the fabric that comes out of the Kaffe Fassett Collective but I tend to scatter it around my work unlike many who only use "Kaffe with Kaffe". It's atypical for me to make a piece using the work of one fabric designer -- primarily because I prefer my work to look like my work. I want my quilts to be referred to as "Mary Huey's".
Second, auditioning is the most important skill I have built (after piecing). I can't visualize in my head -- I have to see it! I tell my students frequently, "if you aren't sure, it means you are arguing with your intuition which is saying NO." I pushed through at least a dozen different layouts of the fabrics and shapes to frame out the Dresden Star -- they were getting very complex -- but in the end, I took a very simple route that let the fabric do the work.
Third, my personal preference for clean lines and clear contrasts continues to guide my creative urges. I admire the "fuzzy, blended" look of many of the pieces I'm seeing on Instragram from this group of swappers, but that's not me (at least right now). My piece is based on the color preferences of my swap partner, but the clean contrasts are indicative of most of my work.
If you'd like to see more of the exciting work being produced by this gang of quilters, check out #kaffeminiswap on Instragram.
Amazing colorful stuff!!
And before I go today, I have to share this early morning photo of the moonflowers blooming on the posts of my front porch! I've been trying for four years to get them to grow there (intertwined with blue morning glories) and this is the first year they've grown/bloomed. Usually the morning glories are prolific but this year they haven't started?? Maybe next week?
Enjoy your stitching this week!!