Turning a vague idea into reality: step 1

Some days, actually getting on with something seems to be a challenge.  I respond well to deadlines, especially when they’re looming.  But when there’s a seemingly generous amount of time before a deadline or – even worse – there’s no deadline, I am altogether too good at spinning my wheels.  I have had a particular quilting project in mind for at least a year now, but because we have no bed crying out for a new quilt and no family member showing any desire for a new quilt, my ideas have been languishing.  Today, bolstered undoubtedly by my lack of interest in what I am supposed to be doing (but its deadline hasn’t pushed it into the urgent quadrant yet), I have been dusting off my quilting idea.

My concept is … trees!  I know, that sounds a bit lame and also not much to go on.  But I think they provide a grand theme; there are so many trees that are emblematic of special places … or seasons … or experiences.  Some of my favourites are:

banyan tree

banyan tree

baobab tree

baobab tree

copper beech tree

copper beech tree

Dutch elm tree in winter

Dutch elm tree in winter

redwood trees Source: flowersociety.org

redwood trees
Source: flowersociety.org

maple tree in fall Source: countrywingsinphoenix.blogspot.com

maple tree in fall
Source: countrywingsinphoenix.blogspot.com

Southern live oak and its wonderful Spanish moss

Southern live oak and its wonderful Spanish moss

pine on the Canadian Shield Source: Varley's Stormy Weather from arthistoryarchive.com

pine on the Canadian Shield
Source: Varley’s Stormy Weather from arthistoryarchive.com

Then of course there are willow trees, palm trees, and Christmas trees.  The acacia trees in southern Africa.  You can just close your eyes and see them, can’t you?  Do any of these trees have special significance for you?

It’s not just the shapes, size and colours of trees that help differentiate them, their leaves do too.  So right away I have all kinds of design decisions to make.  Should I go with tree shapes and silhouettes or maybe just with leaves?  Or mix it up.  How stylized should I make my trees?  But wait a minute, what am I even making?  Maybe placemats … or a wall hanging … or maybe a full quilt?  I have a bias towards full quilts, but I seem to have run out of beds.  If I go with place mats I could try a different design on each placemat.  Now there’s a thought: some placemats with full trees and their signature shapes, other placemats with just leaves, and a table runner that brings in both.  Hmm, see how helpful it is to think out loud? I’m brainstorming all by myself!  Time for the next step.

I’ll get back to you on this … 🙂

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16 Responses to Turning a vague idea into reality: step 1

  1. Karen Annett says:

    Your “no deadlines” and “spinning wheels” hit home… as I too do some of my best work when meeting hard targets. However, your quilting peaked my interest. Having dabbled over the years on various quilting projects, I love your tree theme!… I too find them reminiscent memories, perhaps artistic in their own right… OK, getting back to the quilting tree theme — if I may make a suggestion — make individual panels of your trees. Why make the decision on the end product first? You can always decide to keep them separate (placemats), or join them into wall hanging(s) or a quilt. Wait and see where your trees take you.

    • Jane Fritz says:

      Hmm, a very interesting suggestion, Karen. Now that you’ve added this to the mix, I may be forced to go back to the drawing board. I definitely like the notion of letting the trees lead the way! Thanks for your input.

  2. Oh, and while we’re at it, just look at what my friend in Norway just posted :>)
    http://lifelivet.wordpress.com/2013/04/11/long-gone/

    • Jane Fritz says:

      This fellow is beyond weathered and gnarly! We have a few just like that behind us, down by the river. Thanks for this link, Maurice.

      • Iain takes awesome pictutes. I discovered him one evening waiting for youngest to finish with dance. He is from Scotland but is living in Norway. As far as I am concerned, any of his pictures remind me of what I like best about home. Best of all, he posts 5 or so every week so there’s always something new.

  3. Ha ha–that first paragraph could easily be me; just substitute quilting with anything I am expected to do right now :>)
    My grandmother quilted and out in my other house I still have some of them stored away. She’d make her own wool and the backing came from salt-sacks. Those things — not just my grandmother’s — are treasures
    I love your idea of trees but why not use some of the local ones as inspiration. I know they’d ‘speak’ to me more than the exotic varieties. Just pick a particularly weathered and gnarly one as your model.

  4. alesiablogs says:

    I m in Hawaii right now and just came back to the condo from a scenic walk. Guess what I am taking photos of? Trees!

    • Jane Fritz says:

      The meeting of the minds! Alesia, I thought you were going to take a holiday from blogging while you were in Hawaii?! As a matter of fact, the first banyan tree I ever saw was in Hawaii when my Mom and brother lived there for a year – very long ago. I just couldn’t get over that amazing tree. I hope you’re having a grand time.

  5. DM says:

    `I love trees and I especially LOVE quilts. Quilters are never compensated for the hours and love that go into a project. On those rare times I’ve been to estate sales, I’m always drawn to the old patch work quilts…if you absolutely can’t get a fire lit to make a quilt…I would love one to fit on our queen size bed (an apple theme would be perfect) 😉

    • Jane Fritz says:

      Well, DM, I am a sucker for making quilts for people, but I think I’ll get this tree/placemat project under my belt first. Meanwhile, I’ll keep a lookout for queen-size apple-themed quilt ideas! I can make one of the placemats an apple-tree theme, just for practice. 🙂

  6. Roy McCarthy says:

    Great tree pictures! They generally belong to the vast countries don’t they? Places where they can thrive in peace away from pressure on land space.
    I like the way they’ve preciously guarded the Major Oak in Sherwood Forest (Robin Hood country) so that it stays alive at all costs – 800-ish years now!

    • Jane Fritz says:

      Thanks, Roy. I love it when trees are given the space to grow unimpeded by other trees of buildings (or wires!), so that they can realy spread their “wings” and take shape. I agree that the truly old ones that are being protected are very special. One of my favourites was a magnificent large copper beech that I admired regularly as I passed by on my walks to and from central York when I was at the uni. We don’t have copper beeches in my region.

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