Wednesday, August 06, 2014

Transformation of a Long Term Project

Since I have been working on reviving my Indian Orange Peel (aka the IOP) quilt , I have been thinking about the evolution of long term projects/jobs/relationships/quilts as they go through various stages.  


Originally the "IOP" project (as it was first named) was an opportunity for me to take on a challenging project designed by one of my favorite quilt designers (Karen Stone), to take a class with my quilting friends, and to learn more about colour theory.



Paper Pieced Arcs

The beginning of the project was a blast! I enjoyed organizing the fabric, and my favorite part was paper piecing the arcs. Loved it! It was all happiness and sunshine in the honeymoon phase!


Chompers!


And then it became hard work. Sometimes it was sheer misery. I renamed the project "Chompers". It reminded me of chomping teeth, because I had braces put on my teeth and I am not overexaggerating to say that it was agony at times.
Misery



And this quilt was painful too! It had morphed into biting teeth - it's all I could see.  "Chompers" hung on my design wall for a long time untouched. It was too hard to sew the next step and I couldn't get the layout "right".
It irritated me.
It was ugly and I didn't know what to do to improve it to help me like it more.
But I knew that if I took it off the design wall, it would sink deep into the UFO closet, never to be seen again. This is the stuff that UFO closets were made for, right?!?  Projects we hate?!? 
I had invested a lot of time, money, and energy in the IOP project, and I didn't want it to disappear. So I left it on the wall for 3 years to taunt me every day as a symbol of my failure and misery.

Then I had an experience that improved my skills and boosted my confidence. I had an experience of success!   Miraculously the blocks started to be sewn with ease. I practically squealed with delight as each curved seam was sewn - and laid completely flat.



And the points matched up!
And I loved the blocks again!
Here is my latest finished block. So pretty and colourful, and wonderfully chaotic looking, with not a single point chopped off around the curves ! I have sewn about half of the blocks in the last few weeks and can see the end in sight!

Strangely, the layout decision became a non-issue for me. I no longer cared it if "worked" or it didn't, or if the colour layout was "balanced", or if the colours and fabrics that touched each other were acceptable to colour theorists. It was all good because the energy of the project had shifted so dramatically that I just wanted to sew those curves. I leaned into those curves in a big way!


It's funny how my niece Erika could see the potential of the finished product and how her positive energy kept me connected to the possibility of continuing when I could only see the misery and the failure. Encouragement is sometimes essential!
Some may think this quilt still looks ugly. It might not be their "cup of tea" or they might feel that the design and bright colours are "too much" or the layout is all wrong.
The amazing thing about this quilt is that it is all of the above. 


Most importantly for me today - this quilt has become a symbol of my persistence, patience, and hard work.  What an amazing process to see the Indian Orange Peel become the IOP, which morphed into Chompers, and now that this project is close to becoming a finished quilt top, I need a new name... any ideas of what I should call it?!?!

37 comments:

Carla A Few Of My Favorite Things said...

I had a quilt that took me ten years to finish. Know the feeling. I just took on a project that I wasn't ready for, but I didn't give up either. Maybe the it's name should be Success! You should be very proud! It's gorgeous!

antique quilter said...

Its wonderful, I think I would call it my transformation…or perseverance equals great success!
Kathie

Barb said...

what an inspiring post - your quilt looks amazing. i love how happy the colors are.
congrats on making it through. Encouragement is such a powerful thing.

Kate said...

It's such a great feeling to make something work that you experienced such struggles with. It turned out beautifully! Transformation sounds like a good name or maybe Pulling Teeth?

Chantal said...

Oh! Kathy, I'm sorry you felt so bad about yourself.Falling doesn't hurt; it's hitting the ground that is painful! But you got back up and what a wonderful comeback you've made; full of energy and enthusiasm. If it reminded you of chompers maybe its name should be something more pleasant like Saved by a smile, Erica's smile... as I am sure now you are not shy to smile and show your straight teeth (curves). ;^) Enjoy the home stretch.

The Cozy Quilter said...

Congratulations! We learn something new in everything we do and you learned so much more than colour theory. Could you send some persistence vibes in my direction so that I can get back to working on my IOP???

Ellen said...

It looks beautiful! Congratulations on overcoming so many of your challenges with this quilt. So glad you kept your eye on The Prize because it was certainly worth it!!

Karen - Quilts...etc. said...

I love it!! I have never made this pattern.

scraphappy said...

Triumph! What a wonderful transformation. So happy you have stuck with it through all these years. So worth all the agony along the way to have done it!

Deb @ Frugal Little Bungalow said...

I would call it Bright Beauty! :)

Loved this post! :)

Quiltdivajulie said...

I LOVE your IOP quilt!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Full Circle seems like a great name option ... To borrow that phrase from tv's Olympic coverage - the thrill of victory, the agony of defeat - you travelled the whole gamut during this project!

Congrats!

Deanna W said...

Chompers is now a happy face.So glad you were able to find the success that you needed to complete the project. It looks amazing!!

Angie said...

Wonderful post! I'm going to print one of the "chompers" pictures for my bulletin board to remind me not to give up on challenges! BTW, love the current layout - what an amazing quilt this will be!

Vicki W said...

Great post and I love your IOP. That has been my goal project for a long time. I think 2015 may finally be my year.

Dolores said...

I'd call it SUCCESS.

Cathy said...

It is stunningly beautiful!! Sometimes a project has to wait until we can catch up to it. That's why my Cactus Rose took over five years to do. And there were certainly times that I hated that project. I'm so glad you persevered and got back to it, otherwise none of the rest of us would be able to see it and use your experience as motivation to get at the projects that are challenging us.

Monica said...

Quilt diva Julie's suggestion, "Full Circle," seems very appropriate to me. Great post! I have a challenging quilt that's been lingering too, that's been redesigned many times. I thought it was telling that you spent so much time worrying about the layout, when it was really the technical skill of sewing the curves that was holding you back. That hits close to home!

Anyway, I love the colours, love the design. Great job!

Gari in AL said...

I think we should call it "Gari's". It was beautiful as the paper pieced arcs. It was beautiful as the brilliantly colored "chompers". And it is going to be perfect as a completed quilt.

Janet O. said...

You were working on this quilt years ago when I first found your blog. I loved it then and I love it now--and I agree with Julie and Monica. Full Circle seems very appropriate!

Carol E. said...

Beautiful!!! What a great post. It's a story about life! Call in "Energy?" or "This is Me!"

Vroomans' Quilts said...

I think it is wonderful - it either took the quilt to catch up to you are you to catch up to the quilt, but it all melded. I like Janet's name - Full Circle.

Barbara said...

I'd call it Perseverance because that's what it took to finish it. I think it is beautiful by the way.

Teresa Rawson said...

The first thing that popper into my head was "Romper Stomper." I cannot explain why...maybe because you "stomped" on all the things that were keeping you from completing this, then it became somewhat of a "romp!" What a great lesson for the rest of us facing a project that we become disenchanted with...quilting or otherwise...

Rebecca in AK said...

Kathy, this is just an amazing quilt! It is colorful and vibrant! You have really gone through the gamut of feelings and experiences with this quilt! I like the name Full Circle. I thought of The Agony and The Ectasy or Piece out of Chaos.

Julierose said...

WOW--and I thought Ihad persistence and patience--I AM a taurus afterall!! I think your quilt is absolutely a stunner! It just sings with color. How about "Just My Cup of Tea"...hugs, Julierose

Mary said...

Hoe about Brace Yourself? To remind you of that time in the Quilt Journey

Terri said...

Keep on, keeping on with it, and you can call it Done or Finished. It is amazing.
Hugs

Dresden Quilter said...

It is really beautiful. I have a few projects that have been haunting me. Now I want to get them out and work on them.

Nell's Quilts said...

"Halleluiah" sounds like a perfect name to me. As in halleluiah it's done and it looks great. It's a celebration!

moosecraft said...

Amen to persistence, patience and hard work! Isn't it amazing when that one bit of information could make such a difference towards success? I've experienced the same during my piecing journey... maybe Chompers should now be called Giggles or Sunburst?

Ursula Yeo said...

Your quilt is very beautiful to my eyes. It just vibrates with color. I thought that perhaps "Vibrations" might be a suitable title. Quilts give off vibes and so do we. Sometimes we struggle so hard to make something work that we forget to simply "feel the vibrations" of a quilt and just let it happen. Congratulations...You have created an heirloom....Ursula

AnnieO said...

Love it! Great story to this project. I might call it Bite My Dust!

margaret said...

you certainly stick at it and have ended up with a lovely quilt, like the way you finally decided to ransom join the pieces it works so very well

Lesley said...

Your quilt is fabulous! I see such beauty and perseverance in this quilt. Yay you!

Diane said...

I remember this quilt from the beginning-and have always thought it was amazing-even during the chomp era phase! So happy for your success and perseverance!!
I think it's a masterpiece!

Missy Shay said...

How about rebirth or joyful tribulation? Your quilt looks great!

Cheryl's Teapots2Quilting said...

Triumph! You triumphed over the adversity of curves with this quilt. You also triumphed, as you completed it. Congrats!