Monday, June 23, 2014

Winging It

I'm not usually a fly-by-the-seat-of-my-pants kind of quilter. Sometimes I wish I were - sometimes I see beautiful improv quilts and wish I could throw caution to the wind and just let a quilt come together, but my type A tendencies usually make it hard for me to do that kind of thing. That's exactly why I was surprised when I out of the blue up and decided to start adding to my Drop Dead Gorgeous block to turn it into a medallion quilt. I had spent a while sketching a few weeks ago, trying to think about how I wanted to tackle it, but I hadn't come up with anything that I really loved, so it got pushed to the back burner, awaiting inspiration. But this weekend, rather than continuing to move it around my design wall, I printed some extra templates from the pattern and started playing with how I could use them to start creating the first border.

Drop Dead Gorgeous Medallion in progress - border 1 on! by Elizabeth Dackson photo IMG_0812rt_zps2cec88f4.jpg

I'm really happy with how it's working out so far...though I haven't a clue where I'm going to go next with it, let alone how big I'm aiming to make it, but I'm trying to enjoy the process. I'm digging into my scraps and putting them to use for once, which is nice and refreshing - I feel like I haven't used scraps in eons! Now I'm wondering...are you a fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants quilter? Or are you a thinker that's got to have it all lined up and planned to the hilt before cutting into a single piece? Inquiring minds want to know if they're alone :)

Drop Dead Gorgeous scraps for the medallion by Elizabeth Dackson photo IMG_0813rt_zpsc06b60bf.png


  1. I totally wing it most of the time. I do some basic math for fabric requirements, buy generously and just go for it. Not having everything drawn out to the quarter inch means that I'm more accepting of changes and added design elements as I go. Sometimes I try to plan it all out but it ends up stifling the creative process for me.

  2. I'm an engineer through and through. I can't just not doing things the most efficient way. Add to that my long commute, and I usually have an entire quilt planned out from fabrics to binding a few times over. Then the idea gets pushed to the back burner for awhile. It can be frustrating though, because I'll have these fabrics that I will think would be perfect in some current project, but my first instinct is to not use them because they are designated for project B. I'm trying to overcome this though...:D

  3. I was a math major and a computer programmer, so everything has to be planned out A to Z before I start. Often, I start at A, B, C, and jump to Z, Y, X and meet in the middle to get my plan. I'm so anal that if the pattern states that a piece should be cut 4.5 x 5 and I'm sure that it should be cut 4 x 5, I'll cut it out of a scrap first to make sure. I just cannot imagine that a pattern will have an error in it. I'm that much of a perfectionist, that I just cannot imagine that. I can read patterns and find many mistakes in them without making them. I was also a software tester and I don't do it to be critical, that's just what I was trained to do - find errors and ask questions to get the issue resolved. We had a lady from the local modern quilt guild speak and the colors and patterns didn't freak me out as my mother was a teacher and wore brighter colored clothing on dreary days. It was the process. Let the fabric speak to you - Geez - I have enough trouble trying to figure out what God is trying to say to me - now the modern quilters want the fabric to talk to me, too? I have trouble going to sleep, not from voices but from ideas spinning and spinning in my head. I don't need something else calling for my attention. I would love to visit one of their sewing meetings and enjoy working with them. Several of the members of the local modern quilt guild are also members of our more traditional guild. I admire people who can just "do their own thing" - that's just not me. I recently took a Liberated Basket class with Gwen Marston and it was a stretch for me and, actually, it was fun. I want to make more blocks and make a quilt from many more than the 2 blocks I made in class.

    1. Suze, I know what you mean. I'm a math major, too, and worked as a technical writer for 20 years. Errors and discrepancies leap off the page at me. And yes, I don't want fabric talking to me. Too much is going on in my head already! Can't sleep, either. I love quilting, but improv doesn't work for me, and neither does anything "wonky". I don't improv and I don't wonky. I'm just not equipped for them. The very idea of either one is terrifying, actually.

  4. I'm much more like you. Not a fly by the seat of pants at all. I would love to free myself up more often by being able to improv but it definitely doesn't come easy to me. And since I design patterns to sell, planning is a big part of the process. I actually love to design and figure out all the possibilities before starting. It's fun to see how others approach things and nice that there is room for both. Look forward to seeing where this one takes you.

  5. I'm like you! I need some concrete ideas on paper. I do end up changing things as the quilt progresses. I never seem to end up with the exact quilt I originally sketched, but it's pretty close!

  6. Okay, I'm not mathematical or technical, I can make the same mistake over and over again, and miss it. However, I have all of your 2013 blocks, and I can't even figure out what kind of colors or patterns to do them in. I'm rarely a plain color person, I like pattern. I don't know how to even start with your beautiful star blocks, because nothing jumps out at me. How terrible is that? I pretty much have to have a pattern, and if there's a mistake in it, I'll make it and then sit and look at it trying to figure out what is wrong with the picture. I know something is wrong, but I have to figure out why. I too can't sleep because so many ideas and possibilities are going through my head, but I really wish the fabric would talk to me. cdahlgren at live dot com

  7. The name says it all! Love it and the colors are perfect. Can't wait to see where you go next with it. More colors, please.

  8. I'm with you, I like to have it all planned out, sketched and coloured, drawn to scale, with a cutting guide and everything. Also, I'm loving that pale grey Botanics print. I've got a couple fat quarters of it and thinking I need to finish some quilt tops so I have an excuse to buy some more of it.

  9. I'm a brand-new and just starting out quilter. So, I need the patterns and directions. Taking a long break from knitting and crocheting. I love the fabrics and visiting my local quilt shop.

  10. I'm definitely a planner. I'll even sit down with graph paper or an Excel document just to figure out how to cut my pieces (well... if I'm using yardage and cutting more than a couple pieces).
    This quilt is looking awesome so far. You are such a talented designer!

  11. Hahaha! Whatever that may mean: a fly-by-the-seat-of-my-pants kind of quilter - it sounds good! Coming from Germany I have not a clue what this could be! Love your blog - I always enjoy passing by and I can even learn new things that have nothing to do with quilting!

  12. I might fly by the seat of my pants by pushing aside my gazillion WIP's and decide I want to cut into some new fabric I just got. But I usually have a clear idea where I'm going and what I need. Recently I tried to do some improv piecing and it drove me a little nuts.


Thank you for leaving a comment for me! I appreciate each and every one of them and try to respond when time allows. Your comments totally brighten my day :)


Welcome! I'm Elizabeth, mom to a very busy nine year old boy and a one year old baby girl and I sew for my sanity. Let's get to quilting, shall we?
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