spontaneity, or lack thereof

Q: Do you make a conscious effort to match your fabrics and notions or is that inherent in your taste?

Oh, I so wish I could be spontaneous and just throw together a crazy mix of things and have it work. But, I’m not. While I’m not exactly matchy-matchy (in clothing or fabric) I do like things to coordinate.

When I'm embroidering a piece myself to use in a project I can control the whole process. As I talked about a few days ago, I coordinate the thread colors for the embroidery with the fabrics I'll be using later. But that doesn't work with linens that are already embroidered. Sometimes I'll have the perfect fabric in my stash but not always. Then I have to wait to finish the project until I can locate the accompanying materials. Needless to say I have a lot of partially-completed pillows hanging around my studio.

Some day I’m going to force myself to work more spontaneously. I recently purchased Denyse Schmidt’s Quilts book and I loved one of her suggestions for when you get stuck when choosing fabric combinations:

If you find yourself experiencing too-many-fabrics-to-decide paralysis, try this technique: Cut a swatch from each of the fabrics you’re considering for a project and place them in a paper bag, Give the bag a shake and. without peeking, pick a swatch and use it. It’s surprising how freeing this technique can be, and you may end up with fabric combinations you love but would never have tried. In addition to shaking up your ideas about color, this exercise can make you feel connected (however obliquely) to quiltmakers from bygone days, when too much choice wasn’t an issue.


I've started working more with patchwork lately and I think this will be a good start towards spontaneity. And a way to use up those really small fabric scraps that I can't bear to throw out!


I need orange said...

"Some day I’m going to force myself to work more spontaneously."


One of my very favorite parts is picking which fabric will go next, so the random pick-it-from-a-paper-bag thing has never appealed to me. When I find myself stymied by myriad choices, I remind myself that there is not one way for it to be, but rather many good ways, all different.....

June said...

Not only would I like to work with more spontaneity but I'd also like the time to think about and create some designs of my own. I've been so busy making gift requests and joining in making other folks' projects that I've lost touch with my own ideas. Thanks for the reminder.