Productive Procrastination

>> Monday, May 10, 2010

Like many people, I procrastinate. Sometimes I'm trying to avoid hard work, other times I'm feeling unmotivated, and still yet other times I'm just restless and seemingly unable to focus. One of the rules I set for myself this year was that I could only watch TV (by which I mean watch shows on the internet) while crafting. I haven't always held myself to this but I've been pretty good. And yet there are times when I opt to make something without the side benefit of TV. Indeed, when I find myself mindlessly scouring the internet, I've been trying to train myself to pause and ask whether I'm really going to get back to work in 5 (10, 15...) minutes or whether I should acknowledge I've fallen off the work wagon and ought to intentionally dedicate my time to something else.

About a week and a half ago, the "intentionally dedicate my time to something else" won out over writing my last-ever class paper. It was a Thursday night and I was having people over for Shabbat dinner on Friday. After making challah and soup, I sat down to write....and found myself trolling the internet. I stopped and realized I wanted a new challah cover, a more spring/summery one. And so I decided to make myself one. Three and a half hours later I ended up with a fun sherberty-orange zig-zaggy challah cover.  

Inspired by all sorts of zig-zag quilts I saw on flickr (e.g., here, here, and here), I knew I wanted to do a few things: use vertical zig-zags, use three fabrics similar in hue but different in design (Amy Butler's Lotus dots, Sandi Henderson's Darmer's Market Peach Medallion Bloom, and a Michael Miller trellis print), place the orange zig-zags next to one another, and have a fair amount of negative space. Originally I wasn't sure about the size, so I started by making the half-square triangles (HST) with the white solid and Lotus dots and then decided how many I liked. From there, I made the rest of the HSTs and laid out the full design. I tried to be very deliberate in creating piles and keeping the correct pairs together but the seam ripper was called into service when I sewed a right side of fabric to a wrong side of fabric in one set of HSTs.

I could tell you that in terms of making the challah cover, I was working symbolically: I used three orange fabrics for the three orange zig-zags and, in Hebrew, shabbat has three letters. If oriented in one way, the zig-zags move left to right, as Hebrew does, into the larger negative space. However, I just thought of all that now. However, I was purposeful in other ways: I quilted the zig-zags and followed the patter (imperfectly) into the negative space. Moreover, I deliberately chose a bright green binding (brighter in person, than in the image; the fabric is from Erin McMorris' Wildwood collection). I think one of the ways in which my quilting design has grown significantly over the past year is in making color choices that allow the quilt to zing or pop or choose your favorite onomatopoeia verb. In the past I probably would have opted for a safe choice -- one of the oranges; it would have been fine, but just fine. I think the green really elevates this challah cover in ways an orange binding would not.

And the back: some more fun orange (Sandi Henderson's Farmer's Market Petal Party). I used this challah cover last week, and it was well-received by my guests. I may be making some more similar ones in the future. If you'd like to get in line and order one, be in touch!


Micki May 10, 2010 at 12:56 PM  

Beautiful Job! Your challah cover turned out so nice!

~Michelle~ May 10, 2010 at 1:03 PM  

I'm liking it! Plus, if that mini is covering the goodness of challah, I'm sure people are impressed!

Anonymous May 10, 2010 at 3:15 PM  

Really pretty, Ronit. I'm not a much of pattern person, and definitely not usually into mixing multiple patterns together, but I really like the combination you have going on in the challah cover. The patterns are perfectly sized so that no one pattern dominates, and they work in harmony. And I agree, an orange border would have been okay, but the green really does help everything pop much more. Beautiful work.

Anonymous May 10, 2010 at 11:40 PM  

So pretty!

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