Sunday, February 12, 2012


I love quotes and collect them. When I finished the last Rules quilt, I didn't want to do another quilt with letters for a while.  So I made the Four Seasons quilt. I wasn't really thinking about another letter quilt. In fact, I was kinda lost without a project until I decided to make the Red Sticks.

Serendipity stepped in. After I wrote the post about Picking Up the Pencil, I picked up a book by Twyla Tharp called "The Creative Habit." 

I'd had the book for years, but this time when I opened it up, the title of chapter 5 really spoke to me. It is:

Before You Can Think out of the Box, You Have to Start with a Box.

It really hit home, and instantly I knew it would be my next letter quilt. I started making notes about it in my little sketchbook, and even drew a rough layout. I didn't immediately start buying fabric or figuring out how I would go about making the quilt though. I didn't have enough information. The idea needed to gestate, to percolate, to grow, to develop.

I had some basic ideas of color though. I knew I wanted the "magic box" to resemble a magician's top hat, I knew I wanted it to be black, I knew the opening had to be a bright white and that white had to be used sparingly in the quilt - that elements coming out of the hat could be bright, but everything else would have to be a bit duller.  Should the background be dark? I didn't know.

After a couple of weeks, I ordered some creamy batiks and (gulp!) an "Ultimate Pastel Batik Packet" of 25 pastel batiks (for $70USD).

After wrestling a bit more with ideas, I finally realized that I would not have any answers until I started sewing, so I made the magic box.

I was thrilled when readers "got it" right away by seeing it both as a stylized box and a magician's hat, which was precisely what I was going for.

Last night I made some words.  These haven't been trimmed down to size at all. They will be a lot thinner. (Think Make It Work)

 This is one of those quilts where I sorta have an idea of what I'm doing, but the idea isn't complete, finished, carved in stone.  I sorta know what "Before you can think" will look like, and I am pretty sure I know what the background fabric will be, but that could change. I have some ideas to do for the stuff that comes out of the box, and how I might do some of that stuff, but I'm not quite sure.  I know what the "starting" box will look like, and I've chosen fabrics for it.  That leaves a lot unplanned. I don't know where it will go, I don't know how it will turn out, and I may scrap everything I've done if I get a better idea.

None of which bothers me one bit.

Stay tuned!


Yvonne said...

Looking forward to the process and of course the results. Very cool project!

joe tulips said...

Millie's comment was no-reply...(?)
It would be fantastic for you to steal the colored centers.
Your project here looks the fabrics!!

Elaine M said...

Love where this project is going! So fun.

Michelle said...

I just love watching your quilts evolve!

Quiltdivajulie said...

Excellent process post!!

Clare said...

Like - like very much (but $70! Gulp indeed!).