Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Eight steps to overcome Quilter’s Panic

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA         D’you ever panic when you're working On the Wall?  I know I do!
Even though I nearly always have a value sketch and a good idea of what I want to convey, plus a color scheme and a pile of sorted fabrics....still, as I start to block out the piece, the doubts start mounting...does this go? does that? Oops! I don't have quite enough of that, oh the other is too bold…
8 steps to overcome quilters' panic!

Step 1: Nerves. Make a cup of tea and steady your nerves. Don’t PANIC!! Don’t be impatient. Don’t be despairing, or self defeating, or foolishly optimistic ( as in “it doesn’t look good now but wait till I get the embellishments on!”). Give yourself time to solve the problem. Solving problems is good for the brain – how wonderful that now you have this great grey cell building exercise to do!!

Step 2. The Plan. Am I actually following my plan? If the basic structure of the plan was okay and every time I looked at it I felt excitement at the thought of making it, then perhaps I’ve strayed from the plan. Are my proportions different? Are my values different? Have I inadvertently changed my color scheme? If you didn’t have an actual plan, what was your intention with this piece? What were your thoughts at the outset? Can you go back to that point and retrace your steps to see where you went off track?

Step 3. An AB (aka awkward buggar). Every time I started a new job or joined a new group I always looked to see if there were an AB who was the reason things didn’t flow well. A thorn in the side, a stone in the hoof, a jam in the drain etc. Look for something awkward and out of place? Something that sticks out and doesn’t go with everything else (could be an odd shape, an odd line or color etc).


Step 4. Too much. Is it too much of something? Sit down, take a long hard look. What actually is it that bothers me? Is something too strong?, a too obvious texture, a too saturated color, too large a shape? Too bold a line?  Try removing the offending object – replace with something a little bit more subtle, less noticeable.

Step 5. Too little. Is it too little of something? No excitement, no pizzazz, no tension.
The piece looks boring! oh no!!  I go back to my source material - did it look boring? If it didn't what have I missed when blocking it out? What wild card could I add to the mix to jazz things up a little?

Step 6. The star. Is there a star? Or is it all chorus without a tenor? (or soprano!). Where is the focal area? Have I emphasized it enough?

Step 7. Step by step removal. Start taking pieces and sections off, review as you go. Very often you get back to the exciting, but yet still balanced and coherent, place where things were going well. Put those unwanted pieces to one side and tell them firmly to stay just where they are! Try not to repeat the same mistake, begin adding pieces at a different point, jump shift yourself into taking a different route.

Step 8. Give it (and yourself) some time. If the above steps have not yielded the solution, leave it for a while….move it to a side wall that you can occasionally glance at. Remember not everything works and if you think everything IS working you are probably wrong!

If you have more ideas to add to this list….or any comments at all, I’d love to see them!!  In any case, if you have been, thanks for reading!  and now….to panic!    Elizabeth


Lura Schwarz Smith said...

I love this -- the creative process is such a journey. Great musings on the stages we go through!

Nina Marie said...

OMG - going to print this out - perfect for this coming month when I have pieces due - thanks Elizabeth!!

magicmoonmusings said...

Great post! ITA that putting the piece aside for awhile is often the best thing to do. Making panicky, rash decisions can spoil a promising piece. Took me years to learn this!

Elizabeth Barton said...

I still have to hold myself back from rushing and pushing...tell myself - it's okay to wait, it's all right to take time with it.

Mary Keasler said...

Thank you thank you. These are wonderful tips tto keep the process on track.

Quiltdivajulie said...

Excellent post. (On a topic that speaks to many!)