Monday, October 12, 2009

Is it OK to "go rogue" and "get all maverick-y" ?

I used to love the expressions "going rogue" and "getting all maverick-y" least until all the American Presidential politics of 2008.  Maybe Sarah Palin/John McCain have ruined all that for me...

I have always looked at "going rogue" as a cute thing, as in choosing to use my Kindergarten crayons to color OUTSIDE the lines or use different colors than the norm...or maybe even turning the schematic, colorless picture over and drawing my own picture on the blank reverse side.

As a quilter, I am constantly thinking about "going rogue."  Every time I start a quilt that has been made by another quilter, or featured in a quilt book, magazine, or purchased pattern, I find I want to change something about it.  This does not mean that I don't have the highest respect for the quilter that put that particular combination of color, shape, and cotton together.  It also doesn't mean that I think I can make it better.  I think my desire comes from an over-developed sense of wanting to make the project my own...have it reflect something of my personality and preferences at this moment in time.

Let's face it...everything we do is a reflection of ourselves.  All of our quilting and craft projects are like a portfolio of out lives.  And that is always changing.  Do you cringe when you look at or think of your first quilting project??  I sure do!

I became a quilter one minute after my grandmother, ill and declining from cancer, gave me the last quilt she was able to make (in the early 80's).  I was 21-22 years old, and she had made me a GRANDMOTHER'S FLOWER GARDEN quilt using some of the flowery scraps I had left over from making summery dresses and shirts.  She had pieced the top and her friends that she quilted with in the community hand-quilted it for me.  Oh my God, you could have knocked me over with a feather!!  I decided there and then that I had to keep this wonderful tradition going in our family.

Well, I rashly decided that in honor of my grandmother, I was going to make a Grandmother's Flower Garden quilt as my first quilt!  I looked through my scraps and saw crazy, bright cotton calico and bright royal blue poly/cotton left over from making my college dorm window curtains.  (YIKES!) On your mark, get set, GO and SEW...

Well...I have not finished it.  I still have good intentions.  I mean, it is hand-pieced and the technique was pretty good for a self-taught, first English paper piecing on that sucker...I did Y-seams!!.  But the fabrics, OH MY GOD!!!  The calico fabric selection of the late 1970's/early 80's...well, it SUCKED!  I remember very few possibilities.  One little ditsy flowered calico, I had it in five, yes FIVE colorways (yellow, blue, brown, green and red).  And all the stripes, dots, and solids were leftovers from making stuffed Christmas ornaments.  That was because there were so few prints and colors to choose from.

Well, I digressed...I guess that first quilt was a reflection of my youth and personality in 1982.  Would I go off in that direction now?  I love traditional patterns, but am also drawn to the bold and whimsical.  I am sorry that I used some cotton/polyester blend fabrics in the flowers and the blue connecting fabric...on that issue, I wish I had a "do over."  When I made that first partial quilt top, my stash fit in a about your humble beginnings!  Things are not so sparse now...I think my husband wishes I had my 1982 stash now...  

In stitches,
Teresa  :o)


  1. It's bright and beautiful! And, I love it!

  2. I find myself doing that all the time. Changing or adding something to a pattern to make it more of my own. Great first quilt. You are braver than I was with my first quilt. All those little pieces would have scared me as a first time quilt. Thanks for sharing it.

  3. I am SO with you, woman! What a fabulous, funny, eye candy filled blog you have! You are an amazing quilter, but I suspect even more fun to know in person ;)


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