Rough Patch: a New Quiltlet

I had no ideas. Not blocked, just empty. I cleared the working surfaces in the studio and pulled out a piece of scrap batting to start. After pawing through my ziploc-ed scrap baggies (they are sorted by color), I felt drawn to the blacks and blues. Maybe the dark green. No. A few with subtle patterns, a few hand-dyed. 

They were wrinkled, as they always are. I ironed them. Ironing is good way to pause and take a moment. What now? With some small squares I began laying out a checkerboard pattern. But I didn't want to do it again; I used a checkerboard as a calendar for Repetition of Days. How about ninepatch? I'm not a fan of ninepatches, although I'll use them for a base sometimes. I didn't have enough squares, so maybe I could fill in, let them go askew, use varying sizes. That's it. Disrupt the nine patch. 

What now? It needed a little color, or would I embroider the color later? Nope. Couldn't resist. Not orange: reminded me of the Aquila quilt. Reds. Darker reds, yes. Maroon flannel. Maroon velvet. Pink velvet too! Just a tiny bit. It is variegated and flashes as the light changes. 

I started understanding what I was doing, and I heard a title: Rough Patch: Lightning, No Rain. It would be the fires started by lightning strikes that are impacting some of us in Northern California right now. The maroon and pink are the fires. It could be quilted with metallic silver, the lightning. And some machine stitched texture on the bottom. Got it. Did it. 

The outer flannel pieces were hand-dyed with raven black, and the color splits nicely with some red highlights.

The quiltlet is small. I was able to piece it in a day. Bind it slowly in another two. Relief. A little. Making this one gave me an idea for another.

I wasn't empty. I was just emotionally exhausted. And, perhaps, I was both thinking too hard and trying to push it all away.

The light at 8:36 on Wednesday morning, September 9, 2020, was orangey-pink. We had our lights on all day. It felt like night; the smoke hung above the fog and blotted out the sun. It felt like what children imagine as the Dark Ages.

I wasn't able to get a good picture of the quiltlet, taken by the window, like I usually do. The light was too wrong and too dim.

On September 11, although the air quality was in the purple "Very Unhealthy," the light was better, much closer to the actual colors of the quiltlet.

Rough Patch

23"h x 15" (59 cm x 38 cm)
Hand-dyed and commercially printed cotton, velvet, linen, flannel; hand and machine quilted

Sometimes, when the mind doesn't know, the hands know what to do. Just keep swimming. Take care.


Liz A said…
This took me back to other fires ... the buildings that fell on 9/11 ... the souls that rose into the smoke-filled sky
Alisa said…
Liz A—So many ways we are all connected.
And need to keep reaching out to one another.
Thanks for writing.
Nancy said…
That Wednesday in the Bay Area with the orange skies provoked the most bizarre feelings I've had during this whole bizarre year! Your quiltlet is comforting and reminds me of the Amish quilts. I've found it impossible to be creative during the worst of the smoke filled days. Getting better today, on 9/14.
Alisa said…
Nancy—Yes, definitely strange times made stranger. I'm glad you are feeling better. Thank you for reminding me about Amish quilts. I love them and now will have to go look some up. Sue Bender's 1989 book, Plain and Simple, made a big impact on me when it first came out.