Surrendering My Piece to “Rescue”

This is a follow up to the post What’s on the Design Wall: “Ohio Star” (a taste of “Big Magic”).

Starting out with a strong idea and good intentions…

In this previous post, I shared my excitement over my sudden inspiration to create a traditional pattern quilt from nontraditional fabrics (recycled garment silks and linens). I knew it would be an experiment and in this first experiment, I created a traditional Ohio Star block from my collection of recycled silk and linen samples from garment manufacturing.

If you are not a quilter, an Ohio Star block is a “nine patch” block made from quarter square triangles around a central square. This block is a very traditional quilt block and was used in early pioneer and Amish quilts in the 19th century. The pattern I used was for a “Star-within-a-star” Ohio Star.

Ohio Star, recycled silks (in progress)

The plan was to make a small wallhanging. I pieced the Ohio Star block, and as I auditioned fabrics to use in the border, I grew more and more unhappy with the Ohio Star block.

At first I could not figure out what specifically was bothering me, as I was pleased with the color combinations/palette.

I realized what was bothering me – the piecing itself. My prior work with recycled silks involved intuitive free-form designs for art quilts. This was my first attempt at making a traditionally pieced structured quilt block from recycled garment silks and linens.

When I used to make traditional quilt pattern quilt blocks I would use crisp quilting cottons – this fabric was easier to manipulate to achieve accurate piecing and star points.

Working with silk and linen samples intended for garment making can be challenging, especially when attempting to accurately piece shapes such as star points. In order to work with the delicate silks, you need to put a backing/stabilizer material on the back of each silk section. Silk backed with a fusible stabilized can be cumbersome to cut into small accurate sections. Silk also frays.

So…to shorten what could grow into a very long and tedious story of my explanation why the Ohio Star was not working for me (and to avoid putting my non quilter readers to sleep), let’s just say: I was quite unhappy with the imprecise piecing of the block.

For a moment, I started to – just throw it away (gasp) ! Then I thought: let me try reimagining it – into some sort of “fractured” Ohio Star, where the accuracy of the piecing would not be as much an issue.

I sliced up the Ohio Star and sewed it back together into a new configuration. I revisited my stash of recycled silks and linens to audition other combinations to try to build some sort of abstract wall hanging art quilt piece around the “fractured star”.

“Fractured” Ohio Star

Frustrated and drained of inspiration, I put the piece and its potential coordinating fabric away. I did not know where to go next with them.

Time to let someone else “rescue” the piece

I have several previous posts about working with “rescued” and “recycled” quilt blocks. Another quilter started a piece/making quilt blocks and abandoned the project; I then “adopted” the project and created a new piece based on the original blocks and my imagination.

While sharing my dilemma with an art quilting friend (that I was going no where with my Ohio Star silk and linen experiment), my friend offered to “adopt” the piece and create an art quilt with it.

I was delighted! Not only was I delighted but I felt a great sense of relief! I realize a textile project is not a living being but I felt as if I had recklessly abandoned a piece in progress, filled with creative energy, to the lonely “Projects on Hold” box in the back of my closet.

My experiment is going to be adopted and go to a good and loving home, where it can grow into something wonderful! 

(Yes I will share a photo when my friend completes the piece from wherever her imagination takes her!)

Life is a balance of holding on and letting go – Rumi

13 thoughts on “Surrendering My Piece to “Rescue””

  1. Yes, I work with silk alot. Sometimes I interface…sometimes I don’t; it depends on the type of silk. But I love the uniqueness it brings to any art quilt project. Dupioni silk is the easiest, chiffon and very light weight ar the hardest. Also incorporating different weight fabrics is always a challenge. Don’t give up! Keep experimenting!

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    1. Thanks Diane! I jus think making blocks with points is challenging with interfaced silk as opposed to less structured designs. I think I will stay away from “silk stars” 😀


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