Well, I've really done myself in this time. I've signed up for both Take A Stitch Tuesday (TAST) on Pintangle.com (Sharon Boggon's blog), and for the Crazy Quilt Journal Project (CQJP), so now I really MUST keep up with some sort of blogging.
So! I'm thinking that I will combine the TAST challenge with my CQJP and kill two birds with one stone. I'm also oh-so-dangerously considering joining the BJP (Bead Journal Project), but there is a little voice in the back of my head warning me that I'm already way in over my head already, so I am hoping that reason will win out and I'll just do the BJP unofficially if at all.
I started out just signing up for TAST. I figured I would work the stitches on fabric postcards and fabric ATCs to send out for swaps throughout the coming year. ... but then someone mentioned CQJP, and I got excited about the idea of merging the two projects.
I started out thinking about the CQJP in terms of standard squares or rectangles. The minimum size CQ block each month is 36 square inches, which could be a 6x6 inch square or a 3 x 12 inch rectangle... so I sketched out some ideas (in pencil, sadly, so they don't photograph well) in my working journal (thank you SharonB for your fabulous Studio Journal class last year! Which I am signed up for again in February because I don't think I learned enough last time! .. I think signups are still available through pintangle, too, if any of you dear readers are interested). I also played around with the ideas of what a CQ means to me, why I'm drawn to them, what themes I might use, etc.
I want to work primarily from stash, and that shouldn't be a problem because my stash is already threatening to overwhelm me. I might need to add a couple of trims or something along the way, but I think I've got enough fabric, threads, and beads to work with... if I can organize everything I have into a system I can work with. --my collection is a bit of an overwhelming mess right now, and my sewing room is pretty cluttered. So for the rest of this month I'm going to be planning and organizing and finishing up this year's obligations to make room for the start of the new year.
Early considerations of theme possibilities:
seasons, months, colorwheel, peacocks, random, places I've traveled to, bios of friends, self-portrait of techniques I've dabbled in, fairy tales, dance and music...
If I work each month on a 6x6 block and arrange them in a 3x4 grid, that's only 18 x 24 inch finished size. That seems awfully small! ... but a larger sized block seems like it might get away from me. Maybe I don't want a grid, then.
I started looking at wheel shapes, thinking of the wheel of the year, the turn of the seasons:
January = cold, ice, blue and white, bare twigs of brown and black
February = grape hyacinth and daffodils, buds on the tree branches
March = tulips and birds' nests
April = baby bunnies, baby birds, caterpillars
...and so on
I got stuck on some of the months, but I figure that as they arrive, I'd get some clues. ;) .... but that still wasn't completely drawing me into a commitment. I like the idea, but I think I will save it for a different year (and take notes on each month's changes this year in preparation!)
Of course, I could interpret the year in holidays... like 4th of July and Thanksgiving and Valentine's day...but that struck me as a little cliche, and anyway I couldn't think of a good holiday for January (but September would be Talk Like A Pirate day!) ... again, it just didn't grab me.
I still liked the circle format, though, and I could see maybe doing a color progression from the center outward, like a color wheel... but that's too much like Art School again, and I wasn't sure I'd be able to keep up with the enthusiasm for a full year.
What about random CQ patches on a circular format? Can anyone say Tree Skirt? Well, I googled some images of CQ tree skirts and that didn't quite spark an interest either. They seemed too chaotic, somehow, and didn't quite carry me to a comfortable inspiration.
How about a kaleidoscope, then? Whee!!! I love kaleidoscopes! I felt a surge of energy and excitement and thought maybe I'm on the right track finally! ... but Kaleidoscopes get their beauty from the regularity, and maybe that's just another paper-pieced geometric quilt, not really a CQ. What if I make each wedge with the same patch shapes and orientation, and assign each patch a gray-scale value (dark, medium, light)... I could have some control, but still have the kaleidoscopic design show through? Hmm... maybe, but if I don't like it three months in to the project, what then? What if it looks too contrived and loses the CQ feel? What if it looks too chaotic and loses the kaleidoscopic feel? Nope. Too much to balance. I want this to be a project that sustains my interest... that has enough of a theme to tie it all together, but still allows enough freedom to explore and make changes along the way.
Back to the idea of squares and rectangles. What if I create a CQ from blocks that are different sizes and shapes? Instead of a standard grid, I could have a more interesting grid. That could be cool...
I stuck with that idea for awhile and might even have been able to be happy with it.
But the kaleidoscopic wedge idea wouldn't go away.
Neither would the idea of peacocks. (hmm. wonder why.)
Then, one miserable sleepless night (those seem to be my best thinking times, actually-- when I'd really rather be sleeping because I've got a busy day in my future and will need all my rested energy, but a stuffy nose from allergies or a restlessness from eating the wrong thing gets the better of me and I can't sleep and I can't relax, and I finally give up and grab a pencil and paper and start scribbling something ANYTHING in the hopes that I won't feel I've wasted several hours of my life the next morning. ...they're also my worst thinking times, too. Most of my late-night ideas seem pretty stupid by the light of day, but every once in a while I get a real gem. This was one of those once in a whiles. I think.) I came up with a fusion of the ideas jumbling round in my head:
Now THIS I am really excited about! I think I can be happy working on this one for 12 months straight, and then be happy proudly displaying the end result for years to come. :)