January 6, 2009

Watt & Shand in progress

I've been working steadily on the first quilt in the what will be the Watt & Shand series, and have the top assembled and basted. (If you are new here, you can track back by clicking "Watt & Shand" under Labels in the right sidebar.)

I was attempting to explain my working process while making this, and decided it was akin to putting together a huge jigsaw puzzle, only there's no picture on the box to serve as a guide. There's only the picture in my head, and it's rather indistinct until I work it out as I go along.
I have a marked antipathy towards measuring things. I don't like following recipes when I cook, and I don't like measuring and sketching and planning when I assemble a quilt top. It seems to me to impose an unnecessary intermediary between the materials and the idea.
I spent many years making garments from patterns, and making semi-traditional quilts from my own designs with perfectly matched corners and so forth, so I am capable of doing the math and fitting things into plans. I just don't like it. The really interesting thing is that as I proceed, I put segments of the work on the design wall and eyeball them as to how they will fit in with other segments, and they always do. Before I put the other borders on this Watt and Shand top, I did get out the yardstick and check to see if my visual perceptions were correct. It was within a quarter inch of being perfectly squared up.
I can't explain how I do that, although I do know I can't think about it very much. Rational thought has to be kept to a dull roar in the background as I work out the puzzle. It's a very joyous process, and I feel very lucky that I get a chance to engage in from time to time.

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