Today I don't have much to show you in terms of what my dear husband calls "product" (it's a tease, you understand, because he really doesn't care how much I produce in my studio as long as I'm enjoying myself), because I spent most of my studio time this weekend working on the last stages of a commissioned quilt that has been three years in the making. Not that it's been three years of solid work. There was a lot of thinking time long before any fabric went up on the design wall and, I admit, a lot of nerves-induced procrastination about this project. I so wanted this to be a quilt that the owners would enjoy that I was afraid to start. Silly, I know, but there it is. I got the whole thing pieced more than a year ago after having received the go-ahead from the clients (who are not only family but extremely patient) who saw it in person. I quilted it last summer, and then suddenly thought I'd made a major design error and that further major engineering and additions were required. Then, apparently, I had a conversation with my dh sometime last fall in which we decided that I was over-thinking the whole thing and that the quilt is fine as it is and merely needs finishing. How did I happen to forget this entire conversation? Nevertheless, that's what happened, and three more months went by because I was so afraid that in making major changes I'd ruin the whole thing. Dh, however, stepped in last week and helped me get started again. So last weekend I attached and hand-stitched the facings, made the sleeve, drafted a label, and prepared the fabric for the label. Very little remains to be done and I'm hoping that a few more days will see the completion of this project. And that next weekend I can photograph the finished quilt and post the pics here next week.
In the spare moments of the weekend, I took the camera outside again and came up with yet more images of how magically the weather has transformed our little corner of the world. Colour has vanished, except for the Stellar's jay and the rosy finches who've been vying with the chickadees and nuthatches at the feeder. It's a monochrome world, but I'm loving the stark and beautiful lines of branches and trees and fences and hillsides and mountains. Oh, and there has been the odd bit of blue and pink in the sky at dusk some days.
We've been getting out into the snow as much as we can, though the temperature has been so mild that skiing has been virtually impossible. My waxless cross-country skis (one of the best things my dh ever gave me) work perfectly in cold snow but not at all in warm snow: the warm snow sticks to the bottom of the skis and I end up stumping along on skis bearing a few inches of these snow on the underside. No fun at ALL! So I've been using my snowshoes, given to me by my dear sister a year ago, and I'm able to get out and about in the woods in the foot of wet, heavy snow we have now without a problem. Dh decided this weekend that we should walk through a foot of crusty snow to the other side of our property (half a mile away) and he chose to walk in his boots while I chose to wear my snowshoes. Guess which one of us had an easier time?
And the dogs had a great time because the crust on the snow was firm enough to support them. Even Sass came the whole way. But the woolly bear (aka Django) had quite a lot of snow tangled in his feathers. Doesn't he look like a dust mop?
Finally, here's what's up on the design wall now. I showed you this stage on the design wall last week (and the week before).
The medallion is done, as I showed you last week. But what remains has become something quite a bit bigger and more complex. Also more time-consuming than I would have thought possible. By the middle of last month, this is what things looked like on the design wall. The more I produced the less this project looked anything like the magnificent creature I had in my mind's eye. I spent quite a bit of time sitting and staring at this arrangement trying to figure out what was wrong.
I finally decided that I didn't like the dweebly pastel units, that they were leading me too far into a frothy mood that was not at all what I wanted. So I pulled those blocks out of the mix. And also decided that that what this arrangement was missing was dark areas for contrast. The brights were meaningless without a foil. So I began to work on dark units and to place them around the edges of the bright central arrangement (if you can call something so random an arrangement).
I added a little more.
And then some more.
And in the roughest and most provisional way, I think I have the start of something I actually like. Stay tuned for further developments.