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I think planning is my favorite piece of any project.  I delight in making lists, drawing diagrams, and doing math.  Figuring out how to translate the colors or pictures or words that spark an idea into a real project is fraught with uncertainty and potential.  You can create anything you dream up - anything at all.  One change, mistaken or otherwise, can determine the whole outcome and its exciting!

I usually start a quilting project with the colors or even specific fabrics I want to use.  Then, using the mood those fabrics have, I start to look for a pattern to work with.  I've done some stuff where I mostly follow a pattern, but I like to make little changes here and there even when I do.  The best part of making something is knowing that you made it.  Even when you've followed someone else's pattern, you've translated that vision into something real that can be touched.  I like quilts because they're useful, but also can be pretty.  Quilts are something that people use and treasure and hand down.  They have emotional connections.  There is nothing more amazing than being able to make something that means something to people.

My latest project is a table runner for my mother.  I ended up with a whole bunch of purple fabrics after some other projects.  I didn't have much of most of them, just scraps.  I wanted to do something with them, but I wasn't sure what.  To complicate things, I wanted to use this black fabric with them instead of white and I didn't know how to keep the whole thing from being too dark.  While I was surfing around online, I can across a pattern for repeating fish and I immediately seized on it.  The black fabric would be my pond water and the purples could each be fish.  I took the pattern and started trying to figure out how to get a good smattering of fish without having too many.

I started diagramming on a piece of graph paper.  I counted out my rows and columns for the length and width and then filled in the ones I wanted to be fish.  Cutting out the pieces and keeping straight where everything went was an exercise in patience.  I think it was worth it though.  I love how it looks now and I hope my mother will.


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