It’s an unusual array of colors for me, although the roots are in greens, a zone to which I’m returning and sliding into as one might a pair of favorite, well-worn jeans. The above stack, small as it seems, took weeks to order. I’ve been debating colors for a project about mapping and journey, a project I realized in a flash is not a black-and-white project but something that is at once rich and quiet, at once alive and serene. It is a project I think, of forest and water, of city and island. The project had, however, already been pegged as one involving predominantly Kaffe Fassett fabrics, a decision which had led to the collection of many Kaffe fabrics in reds and pinks and oranges–the colors one would expect me to use. In shifting palettes suddenly and dramatically, I found myself contemplating how to reformulated the project so that I stay within similar boundaries (two quilts are being made – and the other is certainly mostly Kaffe) but find my own way through the trees to the project which says and does what I want to say and do in this piece.
Complicating matters is the sense that I probably really should not be indulging in ordering fabric right now. (I’ve even been careful to not put myself in a fabric store because I’m a reluctant window shopper, and if I buy one… I’ll buy a dozen.)
So it took weeks of looking at my cart at an online site, adding things, removing things, upping quantities and then reducing them to the minimum 1/2 yard again. My cart timed out at one point, vanishing, and so I started over. I find it very hard to order 1/2 yard. It seems such a small amount, even for someone like me who, basically, is a “stash” (or “scrap”) quilter, working almost exclusively in small pieces, clippings, and leftovers. My instinct is always to get at least a yard. But, I was worried about color… about how true to life the on-screen representations were, especially given that one of the prints I’d been considering looked markedly different in images at two different sites.
My cart also contained a few extras, not shown here. But finally I ordered, and I eagerly awaited the arrival of some fresh greens to infuse new life and added dimension to my planning for this journey, one I am mapping right now in the dark, knowing and trusting in the process.
All in all, it’s a wonderful set. Many of the colors, however, were very much not what I expected! Several are more muted or pale than I thought based on the photos, and at least two have black backgrounds, which I had not realized. And one, one of the few that I ordered extra yardage in, is very, very blue… much less green than I’d anticipated. (It’s also a piece I already have! But I had thought based on the online picture, that the one I was ordering was different.)
All in all, it’s an exciting palette and will blend beautifully in with the box of pieces I’ve already pulled and gathered and dedicated to this project. I’m really loving the departure from colors I so often use. And I really excited to see what happens over the course of the next 10 months.
I looked again at the stack yesterday. It was sitting quietly on top of a pack of Bristol board in a chair. Ready and waiting. At the same time, I was finding myself questioning my work, questioning the credibility of recent projects, worried about the recent auction submission (probably because I’d learned there were other quilts submitted also and maybe because of something someone said), worried that my work is simply a mess, a jumble with no clear line or cohesive vision, worried that all that is in my head is not making it to fabric, that I’m not able to take the leaps I need and want to take, worried that so much can’t and doesn’t happen… simply because I have so little time to give this part of me.
A crisis of faith, maybe. There have been many in recent months. But, yesterday, I kept working. I had enough projects in progress that I didn’t allow myself to simply stop. Instead, I shut out the voices and just pinned and sewed. But the niggles of worry and doubt are still there.
I’ve been thinking about it today as I’ve debated (futilely) with one son and found myself realizing that I can’t understand and am not prepared for what may prove to be the apathy of the young. There’s a longer thread of thought in my head, and I know I’m frustrated, and I think that dealing with my own creativity (and the ways in which it struggles with realities of time, work, and money) and simultaneously dealing with this new and murky space of parenting is challenging. I fear I will make a mess.