Friday, May 2, 2014

From Failure to Finishes, or Not

 Today I thought I'd talk about how I got to yesterday's Central Park Mini Quilt and the failures along the way.  I included a definition of failure (from, and am really referring to definition #2: A thing that is disappointing.  I mean, I was still creating and enjoying the process, and really still making quilts, just not getting the outcome I desired.
I started out with a plan.  A blank piece of fabric and some fabric crayons and acrylic paints.
I got it as far as this, and was even relatively happy with my painting.  It was a bit stiff, because of the paints I used, and I probably won't use acrylics again on fabric, even watered down - but I learned something!
The next part I wanted to work on was the grid of the buildings in Manhattan.  If you look at pictures of the city, the buildings are not just grey, as you might imagine, but a rich mosaic of greys and browns and creams.  I thought I would try to capture that with some small strip piecing.  The strips are 1" wide, .5" finished.
So I made up my strips and put them next to the park, and was disappointed.  The scale was wrong, the prints were too busy compared to the park.  Not at all what I had in mind.
So I grabbed some tan fabric, so it wouldn't be so busy and drew out my grid and quilted away.

 Still disappointed.  And this is where the piece sits.  I haven't bothered to bind it.  To be honest I'm not sure what to do with it.
It makes me wonder what Picasso and Beethoven did with their failures, burn? Sign? Give to the kids?  Anyway....

I did sort of love the colors of my strip piecing and didn't want that all to go to waste, so I pieced it all together.

Quilted it up with Insulbrite in the middle, and now I've got a new hot pad for the table. 

 I'm not super attached to it, so I won't cry when spaghetti sauce gets spilled on it, and of course I can just throw it in the wash.  It finished up at 10" x 12.5"

This one doesn't have anything to do with my Central Park quilt, but it is related to the Four-in-Art quilts.  In fact, its made from the left overs of my Map Mini Quilt.
 I had a bunch of pieces left over with fusible webbing on the back, so I stuck them all to a long piece of white fabric.  I thought perhaps some straight line quilting would help turn it into something.

 I got this far with the quilting, and I still think it looks like a piece of fabric with bits of fabric stuck to it.  Its going into the batting leftovers bag.

So there you have it, some of my processes, and some of my failures.  Just goes to show that not everything is sunshine and roses around here.  That perhaps is one of the things to keep in mind when reading blogs, you only get to see what we choose to share.


Jusmom1 said...

I've had my share of failures...but I have learned from every single one! So, in retrospect...not a failure at all!

Leanne said...

I think the painters painted over the paintings they did not like, canvasses were expensive, but that is not a quilting option. I hope you save them or the photos at least so you can think more about them. I work so differently what I am making just morphs into the next thing but I am pretty sure if I really did not like the thing I would just toss it out. I love the hot pad by the way, the colours and the rectangles are really calm and lovely.

Mindy said...

I like the painting and the finished "Manhattan Buildings Hot Pad." It's so nice when you can salvage something out of your work that didn't become what you'd planned. And the scrappy bit with the straight line quilting looks like a fun beginning of a little bag or something. It could be the bottom border for a 'crafts-on-the-go' bag! You'll figure something out--you always do! ;-)

Vicki said...

I really like this post! Thank you for being willing to share what you consider failures. I like the central park quilt...but I REALLY like the little art quilt. The matchstick quilting suits it so well. Please don't stop.

OPQuilt said...

Hey! I like that "fabric stuck to white fabric" piece. But I get that there sometimes has to be a line drawn as to how much more time you want to put into something.

I loved reading this post, and seeing how one "failure" took you to the next success. I had a blog post a while back about "deliberate incomplete" a term that I thought really described what was going on here. You chose not to finish something to move your creative process to a new stage. And I have to admit I like the one you showed Thursday the best of all!