As some of you know, I'm an avid quilter. I've made more than 30. This weekend I had a talk with my quilt teacher about a new project that I’m about to start - a replica of the Jane Stickle quilt, a Civil War era quilt that has 225 different blocks. I made my first replica of the Jane Stickle quilt a few years ago. It took me one full year.
Why do I want to make another Jane Stickle quilt? Quite simply, I love it. I love the patterns of each of the blocks, I love its symmetry, I love how the colors work together and I love being able to recreate it in my own vision. Also, while I'll always treasure my first Jane Stickle quilt, it was only the second quilt I made and I am now critical of my color choices and my less than stellar skills on some of the blocks. Think first draft.
I’m going to do things differently this time. I’m going to pick what we quilters call a “focus fabric,” which is a single piece of fabric, usually with a vivid pattern or set of colors. The idea is that you use the focus fabric as a color palette and pick other fabrics that coordinate or match the colors in the focus fabric. I’m also going to make an outline, planning what color will go where so that I can create a pattern of color symmetry within the quilt. The other big difference is the amount of time I’ll have to devote to it – after my family, career and my book, it’ll probably only be a few minutes a night. It could take years to finish.
So will my book. Quilting and writing have a lot more in common than you might think. Both are arduous. Both require dedication and inspiration. And, the raw materials are similar. Looking at fabric gives me lots of ideas, so does reading great books.