Welcome in STITCHES Blog Tour!

March 6, 2011
in STITCHES is a fabulous digital publication put out by Interweave publications and I was honored to be asked to put together an article for one of the early publications.
So – the idea behind my little spot in the in Stitches eMagazine was to show a bit of what goes on in my design process. Sometimes I have a plan. Sometimes not. The half-done Zebra in the top middle there is mine. She had a plan, one that didn’t work out as well as I’d hoped so the plan changed. No big deal. You can watch the video to see what happened there. You can purchase your downloadable copy here. http://www.interweavestore.com/Quilting/eMags.html Believe me – it is totally cool to see and hear the authors work!
This kind of thing happens to my plans all the time. Right now I’m working on a piece, pushing right up to the deadline as per usual. It didn’t have so much of a plan as a vague idea, a general direction to head in for a few steps, then see I wait to see what ideas pop up next. Things were going well but I found the piece rather boring and flat. I’m a big fan of texture and things just felt rather uninteresting to me.
Paint is often my “go-to” solution so I decided to add some shadow/highlights to the large ammonite.
I didn’t want brush strokes – more of a wet wash feel so I took a brush and thoroughly wetted the quilt in the areas I wanted the paint to smoosh around in. Yes, smoosh is a technical term.
All went well for a while. The hour was getting later and I wasn’t paying close attention as I kept slopping on more and more wet paint. I didn’t notice some leakage and wicking happening along some of the edges until it was too late. ACK!!! I did what I could. Sopped up water, used a blow drier to stop more wicking on the inside of the big ammonite while using more water to try to sponge up the leaks. It didn’t work well. 
No point in getting more stressed – so I put it to bed. Sleep usually helps. It looked a bit better in the morning and I think I’ve found the solution I’ll follow through. I considered smooshing a lot more of the paint all over the quilt to make it look like the rest of the fabric is that way too. Instead I’m going to unpick a bunch of quilting and I think extending the purple edges will work. More careful painting will happen tomorrow – in daylight and with a fresh eye. Life is too short to stress too much about mistakes. If the piece is juried into the show – so be it. If not, I just enter it into the next show on my list. Check back in a couple of days and I’ll show you a picture of the completed project. 
You might be interested in a series of essays I wrote on showing your work. They include, essays on the jury process,  rejection,  choosing venues, organizing your entries, and packing to ship your work.
If you’d like to learn more about the basic elements and principles of good design you might like to take a look at my book, Art + Quilt: design principles and creativity exercises.
Tell me what you do when you make a “mistake.” Do you expect perfection of yourself and are you devastated when you don’t live up to the critic in your head? (been there – done that – not fun!) I’d especially love to hear about creative ways you’ve used mistakes to your advantage. 
And here is the list of all the posts on inSTITCHES blog tour.
Sunday (Feb 27): Pokey launches the tour!: http://www.quiltingdaily.com
Monday (Feb 28): Jane Davila: http://janedavila.blogspot.com
Tuesday: Lynn Krawczyk( March 1): http://www.fibraartysta.blogspot.com
Wednesday: Jackie Cardy(March 2): http://dogdaisychains.blogspot.com
Thursday: Deb Bates (March 3): http://stitchtress.wordpress.com
Friday: Deborah Boschert (March 4): http://deborahsjournal.blogspot.com
Saturday: Michelle Allen (March 5): http://allendesigns.typepad.com
Monday: Lyric Kinard (March 7): http://lyrickinard.blogspot.com  
Tuesday (March 8): A surprise guest on Lindsey’s blog will be the final stop of this tour http://www.quiltingdaily.com


  • Reply
    Lyric Art — an invitation: the NC Artists Exhibition
    February 24, 2014 at 8:43 am

    […] You can read a little bit about an “adventure” I had in creating this piece here. […]

  • Reply
    March 11, 2011 at 1:01 pm

    It pains me to trash a project so I'll do almost anything to keep it going. There are also times that I'll just "let it be"
    I have a quilt that brought $1400.00 at a charity auction and no one knows (well now they do) that there are carefully placed appliqué covering a spot where sunlight faded the computer printed fabric.

  • Reply
    Sue Roper
    March 10, 2011 at 8:58 am

    If I make something I'm not happy with and don't know what to do with, I usually put it away in one of my UFO boxes and keep learning and playing with other projects, then I find that when I stumble across it again much later, I have new skills to deal with it then!

  • Reply
    March 9, 2011 at 2:20 pm

    Creative design change. When I make a mistake and I need a solution because I am too far into a project this is what I do. Find a solution and call it a creative design change. Sometimes I have to admit defeat but I try to think outside the box. I think this is what all creative people do. It is hard for a "A" type personality not to be perfect but it happens. I do find setting something aside for a day or a night is a good tactic. Sometimes I get a friend to look at a piece to see what it is missing. I have a friends who I gather with to have "craft night" I am a fabric person, one is a weaver and another is a potter. We support each other and give advice. Mostly we listen to each other and we find our own solution.
    I would love your book. I have looked at it 4 times when I have been in Chapters our Canadian version of Barnes and Noble. If I don't win I think is time to buy it!

  • Reply
    Jan from Wyoming
    March 9, 2011 at 4:24 am

    If I have made a mistake, I often let the project sit for a day or two. Often I am surprised when I look at it again, that the mistake isn't that bad and I can either leave it alone or figure out a way work with it. Sometimes, if the mistake is really bad, I leave it be and move on to something else.

    I am glad to participate in your drawing. I have always wanted a copy of your book, and would be thrilled to win!

    I can be contacted at janfromwyoming@bresnan.net.

  • Reply
    March 9, 2011 at 3:28 am

    Hi Lyric, I used to be worried about perfection; my children taught me that a flexible approach to life is much more fun. I honestly believe that most mistakes are opportunities for learning, reaching, creating! Too much control & planning can sap the "life" right out of life.
    I hope to make your "Sketch-In" on the 18th; I can pick up the book then – if I win or if I don't!

  • Reply
    March 9, 2011 at 2:51 am

    Mistakes are just a reminder to lighten up! I've made some doozies, but in the grand scheme of things, they're not going to cause the world to stop spinning. I usually look for a way to fix it or work it into the design first. Add quilting, couching, funky embroidery, beading, paint, whatever. If that does not work, then I "retire" it or make it available for use in other pieces.

  • Reply
    Samantha Conklin
    March 8, 2011 at 9:57 pm

    I try to remind myself that this is supposed to look handmade and little imperfections are welcome.

  • Reply
    Sue Andrus
    March 8, 2011 at 9:30 pm

    Mistakes??? Yea, I've made my share…. once I cut a slice in the top of a quilt that I was showing while doing the finishing touches…. I did a Wonder Under fix- fused a bit of the same fabric underneath, holding things together, added fray check to keep the cut edges smooth, and now I can't find it myself because I don't remember where the boo boo was. Paint is also good for little spots that seem to appear out of nowhere and won't leave any other means.

  • Reply
    March 8, 2011 at 8:58 pm

    It depends, I often let it sit, sometimes I tear out stitches, and sometimes I just toss it.

  • Reply
    Sherrill Cortes
    March 8, 2011 at 8:27 pm

    Sometimes I fix the mistake, sometimes pitch the mess and begin again and sometimes it just turns into something altogether unexpected. Like the part about the painting gone sloppy. Thanks–it was great to meet you at RQG in Naperville last month.
    Sherrill Cortés

  • Reply
    Catherine Etter
    March 8, 2011 at 8:05 pm

    SUCH an inspiration, it's so incredibly freeing to "allow" for mistakes as I simply consider them all learning experiences on how to make it work!!!!!!!!!

    blessings, Catherine

  • Reply
    Jane LaFazio
    March 8, 2011 at 7:08 pm

    smooshing. yes. I've done it and I highly recommend it.

  • Reply
    Leslie Tucker Jenison
    March 8, 2011 at 6:41 pm

    While it is true that some mistakes are truly regrettable, I have learned that, more often than not, a mistake is actually an opportunity (provided I have done several minutes of slow deep breathing immediately after it happens!!).
    Thanks for this thought-provoking post, Lyric.
    Your blog is a true pleasure to read!


  • Reply
    Diana Louie, The Village Fabric Shoppe
    March 8, 2011 at 6:17 pm

    The first thing when a Mistake is made is to get calm, take a deep breath, walk away for a while, have a glass of wine, whatever makes me calm again that day. Most of my art quilts are done without a strict plan, so once I feel calm the mistake can simply become a change of direction. Often a bit of fused applique, well placed stitching or paint, or in drastic cases, a judicious use of the rotary cutter are the most frequent fixes.

  • Reply
    March 8, 2011 at 5:34 pm

    I've learned to just set aside a pice on which I've made a big mistake. Upon revisiting it later, my frustration has diminished and I may find that what was once a mistake has become an enhancement, or at least I have fresh ideas about how to salvage the piece.

  • Reply
    Carol Kamin
    March 8, 2011 at 4:44 pm

    I once cut some fabric on a finished quilt. I decide to take embroidery floss and put my initials over it. All was well until I realized my initials were upside down and I had no time left to fix it because it needed to be in the mail. I decided the upside down initials fit the quilt which was about April Fool's Day.

  • Reply
    Linda Mac
    March 8, 2011 at 4:29 pm

    Thanks for the chance to win.

  • Reply
    March 8, 2011 at 3:43 pm

    The fun of playing around and being creative is that things most likely will not "follow the plan". Sometimes the mistakes are worked into the plan and make it better. I've also had to pick out stitches and remove or repair when the accident just couldn't be worked out, but usually I can work around it and make it part of the design.

  • Reply
    Suzanne in TX
    March 8, 2011 at 12:14 pm

    I walk away and let it rest. Sometimes I'll get an idea of how to proceed; othertimes I play "what if?".

  • Reply
    Mary Ann Gallaher
    March 8, 2011 at 11:49 am

    Not necessarily what I would advise to someone, but this is what I do. Put (keep) it on my design wall and come back to it a few days later. But sometimes it ends up in a drawer for the next six months until I get back to it again. Note that I have never worked on a deadline — that would make a big difference!


  • Reply
    Nancy B
    March 8, 2011 at 7:22 am

    I have a problem with perfection, trying to fight that! When I make a mistake I TRY to incorporate it into the piece. But more then not I end up taking it apart and starting over, till I get it right. Perfection is a big problem!
    Nancy Balding

  • Reply
    Karen Burton
    March 8, 2011 at 4:42 am

    Hi Lyric –
    When I make a mistake that I can't live with, I layer something over it or do heavy threadpainting.
    See you in Hamilton, MT. I'll be at your workshop. Looking forward to it!!

  • Reply
    janet sellers
    March 8, 2011 at 1:28 am

    Hi, Love the Nautilus shell design. Hmmm. In mistake-land, I usually use the mistake as a launching point unless I hate what I just did. Then out comes some idea with fabric, paint, or beads as a disguise. I'm too lazy to unpick stitches, but I also do that as ER.

  • Reply
    March 8, 2011 at 1:17 am

    Hi Lyric. I'm new enough at this that I make LOTS of mistakes. I figure, better make them now and get it over with. It's all a "learning" experience. My favorite mistake was when I was melting some tyvek that I had painted with paint and thread. Then ooops. Melted big giant holes in it. Except for the areas that I stitched. It turned out QUITE cool looking! So I covered it with light tulle and stitched some more and pretended "I meant to do that!" LOL.

    Your book is on my amazon wish list 🙂

  • Reply
    Sandy Chavez
    March 7, 2011 at 11:52 pm

    Hello, your work is exquisite, I need to go back and look some more. When I make errors, I usually save the piece for a later time, I can go back and use it for some other purpose since it did not work out for it's originally intended project.

  • Reply
    March 7, 2011 at 11:43 pm

    I try to figure out a way around the mistake, or at least modify it so it looks like it was intended.
    I love love love the ammonite.

  • Reply
    March 7, 2011 at 11:07 pm

    I try to view my mistakes as a "flopportunity" … an opportunity to turn that "flop" into a positive. If I cannot find a way to incorporate, fix, or work around it, I may shelve it and work it into another project at a later date.

  • Reply
    March 7, 2011 at 11:00 pm

    For me, mistakes are the gateway to experimenting and learning something new as I try out different ideas to rectify the mistake. Once I have found a satisfying solution, I journal about what I learned in that process.

  • Reply
    March 7, 2011 at 10:53 pm

    My motto has long been that there are no mistakes, only alternate design decisions…sometimes those alternatives are hard to come by, though!

  • Reply
    Ann Morrell
    March 7, 2011 at 9:49 pm

    When I make a mistake which happens often…I stop, cover it up so I don't have to look at it and put it on a back burner. My mind still thinks about it but my eyes don't have to focus on my mistake. Usually in a week or less I come up with a possible solution, at that point I uncover it and try my "fix". If the fix doesn't work…then I try to save as much of the piece as I can to reuse, or I just chalk it up as a learning experience.

  • Reply
    Nancy Ann Belsky
    March 7, 2011 at 9:35 pm

    I find that sleeping on it (not literally) works for me. I have been known to hide it in a drawer for a few months. I've usually read a new technique in QA Mag that I can apply and it always looks better after some time.

  • Reply
    March 7, 2011 at 9:25 pm

    Many a time I have used embellishments to cover small mistakes. I too like the challenge of working through mistakes only to discover something better than the original intended results.(I will email you my address if I should be the lucky one.)

  • Reply
    March 7, 2011 at 9:09 pm

    Me, make mistakes? (Just kidding). I have some mistakes stashed away that I will fix "someday." Other times I just cut up the piece, keeping the good parts and stowing the rest with all the other ufos. Or, I may spend time just thinking about it as it hangs on my wall, where I see it every day and often it's just part of the scenery until I get a bright idea. Thanks for sharing yours!

  • Reply
    March 7, 2011 at 8:57 pm

    well, some mistakes get shelved for a loong time, others get redone, ignored,…

  • Reply
    Cedar Ridge Studio
    March 7, 2011 at 8:44 pm

    I really need the e-mag.
    The advice is priceless.
    Love you blog I check it every day
    Mary Ann

  • Reply
    March 7, 2011 at 8:25 pm

    I usually step back – time wise – and let things percolate and me settle down. Then I work at it again and usually like it better!

  • Reply
    March 7, 2011 at 8:08 pm

    I usually find all kinds of ways to deal with mistakes and usually they involve going forward with the project rather than retreating. I sometimes think of a mistake as a 'pause and choose' moment, as if I had come to a fork in the road.

  • Reply
    March 7, 2011 at 7:43 pm

    I used to take it to heart when I made a mistake, but now I try just to step away, come back to it when I'm fresh and see where I go from there. Life's a work in progress = }

  • Reply
    March 7, 2011 at 6:32 pm

    I almost never unpick quilting stitches, way too painful. I look for ways to rework it.

  • Reply
    March 7, 2011 at 6:31 pm

    I almost never unpick quilting stitches, way too painful. I look for ways to rework it.

  • Reply
    March 7, 2011 at 6:19 pm

    When I was taking classes after purchasing a new sewing machine, the instructor impressed us with the fact that an unwanted result is an opportunity for embellishment. Think of it as a creative departure, fix it and move on.

  • Reply
    Jeanne Marklin
    March 7, 2011 at 5:55 pm

    Mistakes are opportunities to solve a problem. I love the challenge – unless I'm on deadline, and then I have to hold myself back from cursing myself out! I think I've figured out my brain dead point, so I don't get there as often.

  • Reply
    March 7, 2011 at 5:53 pm

    Depends. Some times I have to walk outside and take several deep breaths. Sometimes I have to sleep on it…well, not actually ON it, but you know what I mean!

  • Reply
    March 7, 2011 at 5:37 pm

    Comment 31 has no way to get hold of me

    Please use this if I am drawn:
    jhaas @ mt-r ushmore. net. Thanks Judy Haas

  • Reply
    March 7, 2011 at 5:34 pm

    I want to see that piece when it is completed and how the story went on. Maybe I should be working later too. Judy Haas

  • Reply
    Bonnie's Quilts
    March 7, 2011 at 5:26 pm

    I hope this comment is not duplicated. I never consider that I make mistakes. Interesting slips become part of my work. Lots of it in my pieces. I consider mistakes artistic license. Bonnie Ouellette

  • Reply
    Bonnie's Quilts
    March 7, 2011 at 5:23 pm

    I don't make mistakes, I consider little slips my artistic license. My work if full of that. Bonnie Ouellette

  • Reply
    March 7, 2011 at 5:15 pm

    I sometimes need to walk away and collect myself and then work around it.

  • Reply
    March 7, 2011 at 4:44 pm

    It depends on how big the mistake is. Sometimes I get frustrated with the mistakes and take a break from the project…but doing that can be extremely dangerous because out of sight is out of mind. Sometimes I do go back and figure out how to finish them up. And for non-fabric projects, sometimes I defy my 'art teacher' and use an eraser!

  • Reply
    March 7, 2011 at 4:40 pm

    I make plenty of "mistakes" in my work. Drawing, Painting, and Quilting. Sometimes the mistake leads to a new idea or way of working, so it's not always a bad thing. My last mistake was some stitches I didn't like on my art postcards. Just not how I intended. I decided that it wasn't turning out right because I was rushing, so I took a break. When I came back, the stitching was really OK, so I left it alone and it looked fine.

  • Reply
    March 7, 2011 at 4:35 pm

    MIstakes? Me? Sad to say that this happens often. Sometimes I start over and other times, I go with it. But I always keep them and often I can use them again in something else, maybe cut up, maybe painted over, maybe just as it is! I'm more likely to walk away and come back later.

  • Reply
    Elaine Millar
    March 7, 2011 at 4:20 pm

    Love that piece. I love the subtle complexity of the background.Look forward to seeing the entire finished work. Thanks for the opp to win a copy of your book.

  • Reply
    March 7, 2011 at 4:12 pm

    I think an element of joy needs to be an integral part of our work. If we stress over perfection vs pleasure, we are missing the best part of our art. I find if I'm not having fun, I need to walk away for a little while, or maybe a longer while, and when I return to my studio the solution may be more obvioius.

  • Reply
    Joanie Hoffman
    March 7, 2011 at 4:12 pm

    Thanks for the giveaway! I convinced my self a long time ago, thanks to watercolor painting, to call mistakes "happy accidents" and to make use of them whenever possible. Amazing what a little different slant can do for my brain! Now, I should admit that sometimes even my "happy accidents" line the trash can or go into a "maybe I can use this someday" box.

  • Reply
    March 7, 2011 at 3:41 pm

    I would like to see your solution, so I Will check back.

  • Reply
    March 7, 2011 at 3:41 pm

    I quilt 'by the seat of my pants', so mistakes are so common they hardly register on the radar…but two of my favorites-
    1. Bordering a quilt without measuring first to make sure there was enough-there wasn't. Inserted a suitable solid with a broderie perse, the perfect accent!
    2. Doing a large wall quilt, hand applique, lots of work…almost done and a small stain appeared out of nowhere! Since the appliques were floral like, a broderie perse butterfly flew to the rescue. The quilt would have been boring without it.
    And thank you for all the wonderful resources cited on your site! Fun!

  • Reply
    Joyce Potter
    March 7, 2011 at 3:33 pm

    Mistakes are often the best teachers. And they can stimulate creative thinking when one needs to be overcome in a hurry. Nothing is a failure if it teaches…

  • Reply
    Barbara Triscari
    March 7, 2011 at 3:10 pm

    I find that it very rarely goes perfectly and I usually have to adapt my plan! I'm trying to accept that and to look past the plan to where the art is taking me since it didn't want me taking it!

    Love your post and will be following it!
    If I'm lucky enough to win, you can find me at artsifartsi@triscartsi.com

  • Reply
    March 7, 2011 at 2:45 pm

    I always walk away from it and cool down! Then I come back to it – maybe the next day ,week,year and work with/around it!
    Someone once told me there's no such thing as a mistake – look on it as a design opportunity!

  • Reply
    March 7, 2011 at 2:44 pm

    Some mistakes I try to make work, but depending on what boo boo I have made (and how soon I realize I did it!) depends on whether I am starting over or not.

  • Reply
    March 7, 2011 at 2:43 pm

    I enjoy the the sequence of design and the art of smooshing the fabric paint. About being a perfectionist and artist…those two words may not blend together in a project. I mean, when I am in the perfectionist mode, I tend to be more critical and see my work with an edge of negativity. If I am totally into the artist zone, then yes, mistakes may be made, but most of the time I am happier with my work. My biggest problem…to know when enough is Enough 🙂 As always, things present themselves a bit different after some sleep, your answer for the next step or direction is clearer.
    Enjoy the experience!

  • Reply
    March 7, 2011 at 2:36 pm

    Great photos of your process in this post! I have a high tolerance for imperfection, so a mistake is simply a bend in the road that takes a project somewhere different than I envisioned.

  • Reply
    March 7, 2011 at 2:36 pm

    Great post! I try to think of a way to cover the mistake or camouflage it. If I can't fix it I usually cut it up and make something else with it.

  • Reply
    Jeanelle McCall
    March 7, 2011 at 2:36 pm

    Most of the time, I welcome those little surprises (mistakes?). The challenge often stirs my creative thinking and I'm thrilled with the alternative direction the solution takes! I have even created a series developed from one of those mistake challenges. The advice I have is embrace the chance to redirect and see what happens!!

  • Reply
    March 7, 2011 at 2:34 pm

    Most of the time, I welcome those little surprises (mistakes?). The challenge often stirs my creative thinking and I'm thrilled with the alternative direction the solution takes! I have even created a series developed from one of those mistake challenges. The advice I have is embrace the chance to redirect and see what happens!!

  • Reply
    Jane Teague
    March 7, 2011 at 2:17 pm

    The best thing I find I can do is put the work away for a while–a week, a month, even longer. Usually, I can see it in a new way by then and make lemonade out of what I once considered a lemon.

  • Reply
    Judy Morningstar
    March 7, 2011 at 2:06 pm

    When there isn't a big firm plan, it is harder to make a mistake. I find that new solutions pop up when I am trying to cover up the "oh,oh!'s", which give the piece unexpected freshness and excitement. Desperation is a great design incentive. Very occasionally some pieces end up in the trash, but only after I have tried cover up, chop up, and stitch up unsuccessfully.

  • Reply
    March 7, 2011 at 1:58 pm

    When I make a mistake or things don't turn out the way I expected, I play around for awhile with options. Usually, I do the same thing as you mentioned, go to bed and sleep on it. Next morning, there always seems to be a good answer on how to fix it!

  • Reply
    March 7, 2011 at 1:49 pm

    I constantly fight perfectionism and find it hard to loosen up when working in my sketchbook or with fabric and dyes. Our good friend Melly keeps after me and it is working. But I still can't keep working on one journal page over time like she does – so she has more tweaking to do with my attitude!

  • Reply
    March 7, 2011 at 1:10 pm

    Hi 🙂 I'm absolutely a perfectionist so if something goes wrong I feel discouraged, and I can cry out my frustration.

    Just last week I did a major mistake. I was tracing the quilting design on an hand-painted wholecloth with my water-soluble blue marker.
    When the design was finished I realized I had used a common blue felt-tip pen, not the water-soluble!

    I was in panic for half an hour, then I've decided to wash the cloth with a chemical. I was lucky, the pen went away and the colours are still bright.

    I'll look forward to see your quilt (those amonites are wonderful!)

  • Reply
    March 7, 2011 at 12:59 pm

    Love your process and your work, like the way you deal with deadlines and making things work. I work organically, consider my mistakes new design opportunities and am willing to take risks, try new things until I get a result I like. Thanks for sharing so much with all of us!

  • Reply
    Maria Elkins
    March 7, 2011 at 12:38 pm

    I've been trying to break myself of the perfectionism habit for many years! Sometimes I purposely make a "mistake" just to prove to myself that it's not the end of the world 🙂

  • Reply
    March 7, 2011 at 12:02 pm

    Wonderful post; your work is so lovely. I think it is all about the process, so I don't stress over "mistakes." Sometimes I will unpick stitches, or do some other work-around, but other times I say to myself: this is folk art!

  • Reply
    March 7, 2011 at 6:22 am

    I either come up with a way to make it right or set it aside until I can fix it or get rid of it…

  • Reply
    March 7, 2011 at 6:11 am

    I try to figure out how to get around it, cut a new piece and redo, or cover it with something better!

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