Tuesday, June 12, 2012

The Anti-Quilt



’Tis a ridiculous notion – the one that involves two graphic designers (and three children) meeting at a fabric store. Even when the graphic designer with a small amount of quilting experience, has forewarned the graphic designer with no quilting experience, of the danger of Overwhelmed by Sheer Choice. Both graphic designers will enter the fabric store with a degree of confidence, nonchalance and a solid understanding of colour theory.*

One graphic designer – the one foolish enough to haul along her three offspring, will waftily declare a time limit: “Twenty minutes! Tops!” Yet, it will become apparent to both graphic designers, within thirty-seven seconds; they have bitten off more than they can chew.

All around them, real quilter-types will bustle about the store, throwing thirty fabric combinations together, with confidence and ease. Meanwhile, the graphic designers will freeze with indecision and the three children will punctuate their inevitable, long-haul wait, with huffing and eye-rolls.

Only after the desperate notion of an ‘anti-quilt’ is vetted, will the two designers function sufficiently to select two plain fabrics within fifty minutes. One fabric for the quilt top. One for the quilt back. There is no requirement for the piecing together of any fabrics. None of that daunting co-ordination of floral with stripe, spot with paisley.



There is a palpable sense of relief.



On a roll, the two designers will take but thirty minutes to shortlist from the Liberty fabrics on offer and select one for the binding. One of the children will nap fleetingly under the cutting table.



After eighty minutes, two dazed graphic designers will be evicted from the fabric store by the three desperate (to varying degrees) children. One graphic designer will drive home, in a stunned sort of silence. She will ponder the reasons why the other graphic designer a) claims to enjoy this quilting lark and b) is dumb enough to haul three children to a fabric store. This graphic designer will wonder if the anti-quilt she has commissioned will ever arrive in time for an important birthday.

The other graphic designer will drive home in a stunned sort of silence, as two children threaten calls to Child Services for the Gross Act of Boredom inflicted upon them. The third child will seem quite perky, (after the fleeting nap) and the graphic designer knows this child will punish the Gross Act of Boredom with wakeful vengeance into the wee hours.

Some time later, after the wee hours, the graphic designer with the small amount of quilting experience, will baste the quilt. Some time after that, she will machine-quilt the living daylights out of the thing.



In the true spirit of her notion of an anti-quilt, she will do her best to make things haphazard and rule-bending – even if she doesn’t know any of the Official Rules in the first instance.



She will make many, on-purpose, anti-quilt-type, stitchy mistakes and use kilometres of multi-coloured thread.



The graphic designer will remember, at the very last moment, to stitch the personalised message requested by the other, commissioning, graphic designer.





The Anti-Quilt is finished an uncharacteristic three weeks prior to gifting deadline. Characteristically, both graphic designers leave things to the very pointy end and engage in a panicked, sixteen-mobile-calls-later, top-secret, Spooks-style handover, with a mere handful of gifting hours remaining.



.........................

* It took the graphic designer with the small amount of quilting experience, thirty eight years to work out the correct colours of the rainbow, (it turns out THAT song led her well astray) and she has never grasped ANY theories on colour. The other graphic designer, with no quilting experience, could draw you a definitive colour wheel in a snap (but a paisley pattern scares her senseless).

76 comments:

Mrs Smith said...

I love that story and that quilt.
I'm going to read it again.

Mrs Smith said...

I love that story and that quilt.
I'm going to read it again.

CurlyPops said...

'Tis a masterpiece of anti-quilt proportions!

You know what - you may have actually inspired me to want to quilt too.

One Flew Over said...

Tis all about the journey...or so everyone keeps telling me.

Fanbloodytastic quilt!!

PS: Had you been shopping at C&I...I would have taken matters into my own hands and had you out of there asap! ;)

Claire - Matching Pegs said...

"Both graphic designers will enter the fabric store with a degree of confidence, nonchalance and a solid understanding of colour theory.*"

This whole post made me smile a wry smile.

A design degree has not made me any quicker with my choices.

I must admit that I do scoff in unbelief at the people that would rather follow a pattern that specifies what colour fabric to use - that my friends is THE BEST BIT!

I had to learn from fellow quilters that you need to have a little bit of slightly-not-matching fabric in your quilt to really make it sing.

I am very glad I have passed the point of needing to take small children with me on fabric purchasing expeditions. Lame toys (string-less guitars are a case in point) in baskets, in Quilting stores "to amuse the kids" do not work.

The quilt looks lovely, but I am very curious about what it says.

Annette - "MyRoseValley" said...

HA ha ha! You are so funny! Says another Graphic Designer with no official education more than following her gut and making coffee for two other GREAT graphic designers who put their whole faith in her, teaching her everything she knows (or not consciously knows...) just to after a while quit the industry and have a bunch of kids followed by becoming obsessed with all sorts of crafts... No pressure...I am still laughing. This is a fab post. And after all - that graphic designer quilt is awesome.

red in oz said...

love it.

rachelmp said...

Love it. And I miss Spooks too. From a self taught quilter who studies visual arts at Uni

M. Bloom said...

Oh... But you have me on the edge of my seat wanting to know what that bit of wordy, fancy looped stitching says!
mb

Pétra said...

I love this quilt story! I think we all bring the kids to the fabric store at least once and then you hope never again : )

Allana said...

Great story, and it turned out beautifully! Love the colours, the wonk and the word stitching :)

Jane said...

Teehee! Looks worth every bit of grief. And designer-minimalist-with-a-bit-of-quilting-pretty. Perfect.

OohLookBel said...

Eeek! You're a scream! And such a great talent in the last-minute quilting department.

Flaming Nora said...

Brilliantly funny story.
I love the concept of an anti quilt, may have to embrace it my self if I am ever mad enough to make a quilt my self!

willywagtail said...

I think anti-quilts might just become the new rage. And definitely dodgey stitching. Cherrie

SmitoniusAndSonata said...

And the quilt , instead of languishing in a plastic bag under the spare room bed , was FINISHED* !!
See , that's the part a lot of fellow-quilters know nothing about at all .....
*and is magnificent .

Nikki said...

You two graphic designers obviously paid more attention when they were teaching about design synthesis than I did. Given that long Amitie, I'd have come up with 68 design ideas and and bought the fabric for each one... just in case.

Super-dooper anti-quilting, lovey. (And all on the little Bernina that could? Looks like you've mastered the free-motion bizzo!)

Tammi said...

Now this is my style of quiliting! Your anti quilt is quite magnificent, loved the story behind it :)
x

Anonymous said...

Love this post!!

Christine said...

"Brilliant!"

Christine xo

A Peppermint Penguin said...

"it's time to stop and eat the daisies"

it's called 'whole cloth' quilting and it was probably invented by people with only one bit of fabric, but it's never been done with quite such panache.

Why is it that when you put a blob of matted stitches at the end of a line it looks fabulous and when I do that by accident, while trying to go in a completely straight line, I have to get the unpicker out and weep in frustration at my own incompetence?

talent that's why - you haz it.

best Antique Wilt evah.

Anonymous said...

T
As far as I am aware, from my experience, THIS is how ALL quilting is done...
And if there isn't the tiniest suspense at the end, then where is the fun?
W

Shannon said...

Many of your posts just make me want to swear (in a good way) like how fantastic is that kinda way. So, it is time to stop and eat what exactly?
Nice colours by the way.

Suse said...

I miss spooks too. However i have many of them on a USB stick if you need a fix.

Nice quilt girlie.

leslie said...

love the colours and wacky stitching! and so lovely to see you today at the zoo (small world, this melbourne place : )

mel @ loved handmade said...

Fabulous!! FABULOUS! I love this anti quit to bits!

Posie Patchwork said...

Gorgeous work. I made a career out of quilts i taught myself, it's so much more fun that way, love Posie

Fran said...

perfect in every way - perfect!

Cinnamon said...

Reading this as I drink my morning coffee and trying not to choke on it as I laugh! I want quilts but do not know how to. I believe the anti-quilt is the perfect solution to my problem. Your version is just perfect.

Amy said...

This just might be one of my favorite blog posts ever, as in of all time. Terrific.

I'm impressed that none of the graphic designers involved grew dizzy from the visual stimulation/ assault that is the interior of a quilt shop. I've been making up my own quilts in my own way for a few years now and I still feel faint when I go inside such a shop.

As for the finished unquilt - mercy it is pretty! I especially love the sewn "knots" in your quilting. I'm definitely going to try that the next time I un-quilt on my machine.

Lola Nova said...

I'm thinking fabric stores should start installing play areas for children...a petting zoo perhaps, or a water slide.

Gorgeous anti-quilt my dear!

Magic Bean said...

Bleedin' Nora that is bloody gorgeous.
Ax

lamina@do a bit said...

Hilarious! I can totally relate... quilting shops are very scary places for the inexperienced! :)

jennie sandford said...

I'm generally anti everything but I'm pro anti quilt. Love it. Love the story. Thanks X

teddybearswednesday said...

THat song has a lot to answer for i reckon ( being one too who was led astray and had not realised it til now...)
the anti quilt is gorgeous , i always think the most agonised over pieces of craft are the best ( or perhaps that's me justifying the agonising) xo

small + friendly said...

I adore the anti quilt! Gorgeous, I think I might need to add anti-quilting to my list of crafts!

Heidi Fitz said...

amazing! you have a gift of the quilt and the quill!! loved this. Hx

moukelis said...

I love it,it is so special!

Sue said...

You've just explained to me exactly why I cast aside graphic design in 1969 and and am now a quilter.......it the love of "no rools" I have!

Bee Girl said...

OH! This is so wonderful and incredibly inspiring for me! I have never quilted before and am just beginning the slow process of learning how to sew the most basic stitches. Never did I think I could make an anti-quilt..."mistakes" on purpose?! Who knew! Love it!!! Thanks for sharing your funny story and fabulous quilt!

Fer said...

Long live the anti-quilt!

quirky granola girl said...

i adore the way you write about your quilty adventures :) and your quilting that breaks the rules is gorgeous. are those crossweave fabrics? or chambray? either way, they have more depth in your pictures than a true solid.

i've never quite gotten into liberty fabric before. i think they are pretty, but i didn't see how they could work with my style. now that i see it used as binding it all clicks.

Brette said...

Sounds much like my shopping experiences. Such a Beautiful "No Rules" quilt!

heather said...

i really want to make an anti quilt. i just per sued the liberty fabrics last week. and came home with a yard each of two sweeties for my girls' upcoming birthdays. my mum works at this fabric store, so lucky me, i get a little discount too! whippin stuff up in liberty is just almost too exciting. really gives me heart palps. but i'm gonna do it. oh yes. i have 5 days now to get olive's all ready. oh boy. i haven't even picked a pattern yet.

(i have a new blog btw. needed me some change. love...)

Duyvken said...

Um, honey? That is AMAZING. I want to make one RIGHT NOW.

june at noon said...

What an adventure! ... But, I'm glad it's over. I positively have the shakes from all those vicarious moments of indecision. I am HORRIBLE at coordinating fabrics.

Cat from Raspberry Rainbow said...

Well, I commend your bravery (insanity?) at taking three (3!!!) children into a fabric shop. Stuff of nightmares, in my experience, with only 2 children.

Your quilt is gorgeous, none the less.

flowerpress said...

Those graphic designers can be so finicky about every little detail... can't we?!
I love your quilt, it is so beautifully coordinated and I love the quilty type. Well worth the fabric shop with bored children nightmare. (p.s. Last time we told the kids we were going to Ikea the youngest burst into tears!)

Chriss said...

Just totally loved this. Worthy of publishing in its own right. Well done.

Karen said...

Priceless!!
However long it may have taken to make them, I love your selections and your 'anti quilt' is my kind of quilt.
No paisleys and florals for me.

Shadygrey said...

You are so funny. Fabric shops were on my kidlets black list from a very early age. Also Ikea, as Flowerpress mentioned. And just about any outlet that didn't sell Lego really.

arthousehomelife.com said...

I LOVE this quilt. Just love it. And love the anti-ness of it especially.

Pam said...

I've just clicked over here from the madeit blog while reading the interview from twirling betty(she gives you as one of her fav blogs) and enjoyed your post so much, thought I'd leave a comment saying so! Love your quilt too! Esp those anti-quilt type stitching mistakes and the personalised message. So very clever, all of it! :)

nlt said...

Brilliant! Love the quilt, totally empathize with the fabric shop + kids experience!
Niki from craft camp

nlt said...

Brilliant! Love the quilt, totally empathize with the fabric shop + kids experience!
Niki from craft camp

Tracey said...

oh, so other people have this dilemma too? And I am not even a graphic designer...Nice quilt though, ladies!

Potiron said...

I've just came upon this post, I really don't know how, and was absorbed by the tale of an anti-quilt being created!!! I do have some quilting experience and your anti-quilt from what I can see, is definitely what I've been aspiring to achieve... too much thinking kills the creative process. And from what I can see, just getting to it will do it.... THank you for such fun reading this morning, you've made my day and week as it is Monday morning.... Hop to it!!!

gardenglut said...

I have quilt phobia. Loving fabric and sewing so much and loving feeling cosy, I like the idea of quilts, but I have stood paralysed in front of bolts and bolts of beautiful fabric unable to move. As a consequence I really like your quilt. I think it is perfect!

Marine said...

how funny, how familiar...

Lisa said...

This is the funniest thing I have read in a long time...still smiling! Love it.

Alisa said...

So scarily true! A well stocked quilty fabric shop is enough to send a graphic designer catatonic with sheer possibility. : D Great quilt!
Alisa x

ally said...

Love this,start to finish
You are ace!

Miss Cinti - my poppet said...

love it. I'm all about anti quilting too.
There are too many rules in this world already
x

Greer said...

Am I being too much of a fan to say I miss you? ;)

heather said...

hi friend. i am wondering what you are up to!! how are you? come say to me at least, if you are up for it. love. h

Anonymous said...

How are you going??? We've been missing you here at your blog. Hope all is running okay in your world. Karen

Umatji said...

I've been away in the world and just come back and it seems you have too. hope your absence is an indulgent busy life one.

منتديات احساس عاشق said...

thankes very good

دردشة لبنان

صور 2013


منتديات صبايا لبنان

Di said...

I am IN LOVE with this quilt. Perfection.
And also in awe of your machine stitch writing.
And grateful that I'm not the only one confused by that silly rainbow song.

Kaylovesvintage said...

LOVE.....really nice
save money and come to see me

Saskia said...

Lovely blog, and lovely quilt! Great post too. Can very much relate to it; ie. graphic designer hauling children to art/craft fairs (c'mon, it will be fun!) and exhibitions (have taught them the 'exhibition walk', ie. hands clasped behind back, Prince Charles-style, so installations and low-lying paintings can't be prodded). Also tried the fabric store one day and I still have heart palpitations at the memory...

Joanna said...

Hi Tania... so nice to have met (and photographed) you! And I LOVE this! I must be a bit of an anti-quilter too, cause it's right up my alley!

Madeline said...

I've been off in baby land. Hope you're doing well and MIA for excellent and lovely reasons!

anna said...

i'm a big fan of your anti quilt... pinned it and all.

what foot do you use for the writing part? i was thinking about giving it a go and realised it would probably be almost impossible with a regular-run-of-the-mill type foot.

thanks for dropping by and commenting (in case you hadn't worked it out, you may remember me from such email correspondance as 'where is a good place to live in melbourne (not sunshine)?', 'wouldn't a tree change to daylesford/kyneton be lovely?' and 'what's with the preponderance of terylene curtain in realestate photography out macedon way?')

xx

Nycole said...

does a new blog header mean you'll be back soon Tania? We miss you!

kv barn said...

love the colors, love the quilt :)!