Previously known as the “Anchored in Tradition” challenge for the quilt guild show in 2006, the “Mermaid with Boobies” quilt has been folded up in a box in the closet for 4 years. I made it in 3 months, working to a deadline, trying to work around a required cotton fabric and a naval/maritime theme (ugh) for an audience I thought wouldn’t likely appreciate it. It’s a wonder I finished it at all! When I was done the quilt was soaked in bad feeling… which would be why I stuffed it in a box in the closet.
When I pulled it out a few weeks ago I realized I wasn’t going to throw it away or cut it up or let it languish in the dark any longer. It was never going to be a great quilt, but it could be good enough, if I just finished it.
…because I didn’t ever really finish it. It needed more! much more… so I started adding silk ribbon and a wee bit of bold color. I added orange-purple variegated sashiko thread to the outline stitched fish, taking him from washed out orange to, well, a bit much. And once he was a bit much I had to embellish everything else, more and more. For balance, you know? Some half hearted flowers (not really navy themed?) became floral sprays, and the mermaid got herself some seaweed to hide in… and then the seaweed spread across the surface, meandering, blending the colors and the patches together…
Until I finally ran out of ribbon (I get to keep all my beautiful silk ribbon!) and the ends of my middle finger and thumb felt smooth and raw… and so she’s DONE!
And now I quite like the quilt. After all, who wouldn’t like a mermaid with boobies?
The moral of this story: be BOLD, go overboard, add more. If you’re going to make a crazy quilt, don’t be timid. What’s the point? I’m sure there’s something else in your life you could apply this moral to even if you don’t make crazy quilts.
Bonus lesson: just because I say I don’t like useless cluttered busy things doesn’t mean I don’t love a good crazy quilt. It’s all I can do not to run out and get a bunch of wild shimmery shot silk and ribbons and beads and trims and lace to start all over again. Only the faint numbness in my middle finger two weeks later reminds me why I’m not going to do that.