UFOs Part II: Convergence

February 2, 2010 at 11:47 pm Leave a comment

In July 2006, I helped the guests at my niece’s birthday party to tie-dye T-shirts.  This represented my first foray into working with Procion dyes; more on that in later posts.  Naturally, it seemed a waste to only dye shirts; I had to dye some fabric as well.  One piece looked like a good candidate with which to try Ricky Tims’ convergence technique:

Tie-dye Convergence

Tie-dye Convergence

The technique starts with an oversized four-patch, either from one extremely varied fabric, or from two, three, or four different ones.  The four-patch is then sliced, diced, resewn, resliced, and ultimately transformed, as you see.  To two squares of my tie-dyed fabric I added a purple mottled print and a yellow batik that picked up the fuchsia/purple and yellow accents in the predominantly green-dyed fabric.  Unfortunately, I didn’t buy much of either one.  Generally, I see it as a good thing that I very rarely buy any more than a half yard of a given fabric, unless I know I’m using it for a border.  However, in this case, my fabric-buying sobriety backfired.  But I’m getting ahead of myself.

This project really was more about the process than it was about the end product; I had bought Ricky’s Convergence Quilts book, ate up the pictures and the description of the technique, but wanted to try it for myself, and this tie-dyed fabric offered the perfect opportunity.  If it hadn’t worked, I would have just put it aside.  But it did work.  In fact, my husband, who is normally very supportive of, but pleasantly detached from, my quiltmaking, was quite taken with this one while it was in pieces on the design wall.

But here’s where we get into the obstacles again.  The first obstacle was just logistical, a fabric emergency:  I wanted to put a border on it, and as I didn’t have enough of the fabrics I had converged, I needed to choose something else.  In general, I see that as more of an opportunity than a roadblock; to quote Paula Nadelstern again, “when it comes to fabric, ‘more is more.'”  In this situation, though, I had an extremely difficult-to-match fuchsia/purple color AND an extremely difficult-to-match green.  Suffice to say, I am unlikely to find a batik or a large-scale print that contains both.  I did drag the top to a couple of quilt shows, but I never found anything I particularly liked, and by that point I had lost momentum.

Lost momentum is a majorly recurring theme in my UFOs.  I definitely have some personality traits of obsessive-compulsive disorder, albeit fortunately not ones that negatively impact my life in any significant way (although I have been known to put the toilet paper roll on the holder the right way in bathrooms not my own.)  In many ways these personality traits have been assets:  I can become extremely focused on a task until it’s complete, I am a scrupulously thorough researcher with a Boy Scout-like conviction to be prepared, and I always have clean hands.  The downside is that once a particular obsession has run its course, it’s difficult to kindle up enthusiasm for it again.  I can eat, sleep, and breathe a project for a while, but if I get distracted (ooh, shiny!) or derailed (no border fabric!) the project loses its Most Favored status, and if there’s no deadline for it, off to the UFO cabinet it goes.

This project also reeks of Quilt Guilt.  I’d had pretensions of finishing this quilt to take to the Ricky Tims Super Seminar last May to have Ricky himself autograph the label.  Didn’t happen.  I even feel guilty about the fact that this was one of the few quilt projects my husband really took an unsolicited interest in the mechanics of, and I didn’t get it finished so he could enjoy it.  This is something I need to work through and just get over; once again, this seems like a “Hoarders” impulse, attaching unwarranted emotional weight to an object.  It’s not the quilt’s fault I didn’t get it finished; I shouldn’t wrap all those negative emotions up in it.

I just read a New Yorker article about a form of nightmare therapy in which sufferers of recurrent nightmares are encouraged to spend daytime hours visualizing the upsetting scenes from their nightmares and reimagining them to be less upsetting; one example given was of a woman reimagining the sharks circling above her as she tried to swim to the surface of the ocean to breathe, as a circle of friendly dolphins.  Perhaps I can visualize making all the negatives, all the “should-haves”, into tangible, squishy objects.  I can visualize myself placing them into the Convergence quilt top center, then gathering up the corners like a hobo sack.  I can visualize myself carrying that sack full of gelatinous, drippy, toxic emotions down the upstairs hall to the back bedroom and out the door to the balcony.  It’s a bright sunny day, and I can just let the edges of the Convergence quilt top fly, waving like a beautiful, colorful flag in the breeze while those lumpen blobs of guilt tumble forth — and are gone.

I’ll report back when I get that border on.

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Entry filed under: UFOs. Tags: , , , , , .

Inspiration Interlude: TQS #508, Paula Nadelstern Snow Day!

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