I am a bitmaker. You could also call me a piecer, a stitcher, or a rescuer of small scraps. Over the years, I have made many quilts this way.
Something compells me to take tiny bits and make the big.
I believe in scraps—I want to find them permanent dwelling spots in my quilts. What do they say in the animal shelter world? I want to give my scraps forever homes.
What makes some of us to be scrap lovers and users? (I know you are out there stitching right along with me.) I don’t know exactly. What compells a cook to roll leftovers into other culinary treats? What compells some individuals to start their gardens with seeds? I think for some of us, making the most of what we have is incredibly satisfying. Just what can I make with limited resources? What potential resides in those itty bitty cotton squares, and how can I manifest that?
I arrived in McCarthy this summer with five zip lock gallon bags filled with remains of previous quilts.
I also allowed myself one tub of solid colored fat quarters and a selection of pima scraps I scored on Ebay. I brought very little yardage and no black—which was a mistake.
It is forcing me to try new things. Navy is a new favorite.
I organized all the bits and began thinking about how to reinvent them.
I have left over pieced bits that appeared in other quilts, but were not completely used up.
Can you find them in the quilt Boulevard?
I sorted out the small pieces into strips, strip sets, and tiny pieces. This is a tidied up version of what that looks like.
As I work, these piles become great jumbles—mounds of mess. Occassionally, I force my self to reorder things. This keeps me tidy AND it tells me things. For example, I can tell I am not using enough yellow.
One of the great things about being a bit maker is that new bits—new material—are always growning. It’s like a sour dough starter.
I like to work on about six quilts at a time. For some reason, this suits my brain. Usually one quilt is completely in the construction phase, and is a no brainer—all I do is stitch and stitch. While I am doing that, I can think about the quilts that are not moving along as smoothly. I love holding all of these ideas in my head at the same time. It is a meditation. Cut-Stitch-Press. Begin again. Cut-Stitch-Press.
Of course, this doesn’t always work. Sometimes, I will look at a pieced bit and think “Who are you? What are trying to be? Because I can’t remember.” When I am at my best, I take notes on these things.
The making of these quilts is a meditation on piecing, an exercise in tenacity, and a contemplation on process as art.
That’s my sweet spot.