Ready; Set; Go, Gogh, Gough

I’d lived in Ready for years.

I’ve been in Set for months.

Today I am in Go. Gogh. Gough.

Years ago, I had this image flash into my mind, and ever since then I’ve longed to quilt it. “Well, then why haven’t you?” you might very well ask, and the answer is “‘Cause.” Other people needed me – or thought they did – or I thought they did. Didn’t have the material I needed. Had the material but not the tools I needed. For the longest time, I said I was “letting the tension develop.” The creative tension.

It’s a technique that often works well for writers. We want to write about something, but not even sure where to start, we just do a brain dump then set it aside for a while, not letting ourselves even think about it. Days, weeks, months – sometimes even years – go by, and finally we pull out that file and it’s like magic coming out of our fingertips. Oh how the words come together to form sentences that make so much sense we’re hard-pressed to believe it’s really us writing.

But after 2 years even I had to question the validity of my “creative tension” theory. I mean, let’s be honest: it had become out-and-out procrastination. Procrastination born of fear. Fear of not doing it right. When oh when will I ever say to myself what I say to so many others: “The only wrong way is to never even start, to not do it at all.”

To amp up the pressure on myself (on the outside, I called it “increasing my level of commmitment” ’cause it sounds so much better), for the past 6 months I’ve told everybody who would listen that 2008 would be the year of my blog and my quilt series. (Yes, in the years since the original image came to live with me, it’s grown into a bona fide series.)

By the middle of January, I found that I’d already agreed to four different volunteer jobs – none of which involved my blog or my quilt, just taking time away from them. So I put on my big girl britches and did something i HATE doing: I called every one of the people I’d agreed to help and explained my situation. (Fortunately, all the projects were months away, so nobody was left stranded.)

And so today – this very morning – it begins.

The first in my Autoquiltography Series.

The fabric for this one is a 54″ x 73″ tablecloth of the 1950s era that I found when doing a little post-Christmas shopping in Asheville with hubbie and son. The batting is unbleached muslin, and the backing is flannel.


I am the pattern for each quilt in the series, I as in my body. My daughter traced me late last year, but hers is a work of art in and of itself – so much so that I can’t bear to cut it. Big into don’t-think-just-do mode and with Phoebe watching (too enthralled to eat her treat), I laid myself down on the paper so that one edge of the paper ran up the middle of my body and began to trace.

Tracing with my left hand.

That’s when I realized I should’ve given a teensy bit more thought to planning this whole thing out. I am right-handed, you see, but I was already on the floor and rather than heave myself up to start again, I went with the ole’ good-to-use-your-non-dominant-hand-occasionally-when-doing-creative-projects. When the pattern was finished, I laid it on the tablecloth I’d folded in half and began to cut.


Some observations and key points:

  • Mental note: add knee pads to my sewing kit. My “padding” is distributed in parts far away from my knees.
  • The anklet “socks”, that was not planned. Ha.
  • My head looked so appallingly small in proportion to the rest of me (I traced right up at my scalp), I opted to allow for hair.
  • I’m not nearly as big as I think I am.
  • Except for the hips. When I saw the hips, I KNEW they weren’t REALLY that big. Must just be part of the problem of self-tracing – opposite of what happened up at my head. So I picked up the fabric piece and held those hips up to my hips, and sure enough, they really ARE that big. Gives a whole new meaning to the term “writer’s block.”
  • I do actually have a waist, but when I cut it out according to the pattern, it made my hips look even bigger – and I didn’t have to ask hubbie to know that.
  • Note to self: always wear a bra on tracing days to avoid those odd-looking bulges just above your hips.
  • And the feet. They’re constructed, as they say. I have been doing yoga for 6 days now, but I still canNOT get close enough to my feet to trace them.

Today I cut it out, tomorrow I start stitching and well, we’ll just see what happens.

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6 Responses to Ready; Set; Go, Gogh, Gough

  1. jude says:

    i like coming here, i have placed your link on my blog. 😀

  2. jude – thank you so much for the kind words and the link. your blog is already on my playground. it’s a place i visit often and just have a big time every time i go.

  3. Laume says:

    I’m feeling restless and need to get off this machine and out to some errands, so I’ll have to come on back for a longer visit later but, from skimming through a few of your more recent posts I find myself looking nervously at myself to see if parts of me are missing. It sure seems like you might be using the same pieces. Thoughts, reflections, even our shape. Hmmmm. Maybe it’s just the old “Great minds think (wander?) alike” phenomenon.

  4. jeanne says:

    Laume, Great minds sure do wander together! Can’t wait till you “get your ducke in a row” and can spill the beans. I’ll be listening out. See you again soon.

  5. Latharia says:

    You crack me up … been doing yoga for 6 days and your feet aren’t flopping out and letting you trace them. LOL! 🙂

  6. Latharia~Yeah, well. Maybe 6 more days and I’ll try again. Let’s face it: my body is simply not a fast learner;)

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