Brain Dead Projects

It's a Merry & Bright Wrap!
It's a Merry & Bright Wrap!

I have had some time to reflect on this project. I realized that “brain dead projects” have a place in my quiltmaking process.

“Brain dead project” sounds fairly derogatory and I don’t mean the concept to be.  To me, a brain dead project is a project that I can work on that has very few decisions involved. I have put off writing this post while I tried to think of a better term.  I haven’t succeeded yet. I am sure one of my brilliant readers will come up with one.

Quiltmaking is, in a way, an intellectual process for me. My normal way of working is that something intrigues me – a block, a fabric, a tool – and I start playing with it. The circles are a good example. I saw a quilt, began thinking about how to make it and what I wanted to convey and ended up in a class. The process with the circle quilt is not over by a long shot. It is still in the percolating process.

Sometimes, my normal process takes too much thinking. The It’s a Merry & Bright Wrap quilt was the perfect project when I needed just to sew. I didn’t have to choose the colors (except for a couple of background additions) and I didn’t have to figure out the piecing. I bought the pattern, which was a choice, but after that, it was basic sewing and pressing. I only had to focus on the more technical details of putting the quilt together.

I need this kind of project sometimes. It keeps my hands busy and allows my mind to wander. When I made this top (which still needs borders) I was having a hard time and the fewer decisions the better.

I am happy with the way the quilt turned out (so far) and that I got to learn to use a Jelly Roll. Yes, my quilt looks like everyone else’s. Sometimes that is ok.

Author: Jaye

Quiltmaker who enjoys writing and frozen chocolate covered bananas.

6 thoughts on “Brain Dead Projects”

  1. I had a small epiphany over the past 48 hours…somewhat related to what you are saying in your posting today. I make (bed) quilts because they are practical. I suck at quilting. (I lack patience) I need to make more art stuff. (Art = rewarding work)

    However, all the bed quilts HAVE given me skills. I can match up points. I can cut accurately. I can sew accurately. (except for quilting) My color selections have vastly improved. Quilts that don’t take a lot of brain power are our baby step quilts. They teach us the skills or hone our skills to be better at our other projects.

    I would guess that ‘Tarts’ vs the ‘Boxes and Bows’ quilt above, is something like that too?

    1. SherriD: the Tarts is definitely a quilt that requires a lot of brain power – in some cases making my brain hurt!. The quilt above, not so much. I believe that every quilt has a place in our process.

  2. Perhaps these could be called “automatic pilot” projects? You do still have to use your brain for them – if I am remembering correctly, you did have to apply some attention to figuring out exactly what was going on with the pattern — but once you got past that point, the rest was a matter of cut, sew, stitch and repeat…

    1. TFQ, of course you are correct. If my brain was completely dead, I would have sewn through my finger!. I also had to arrange the blocks. My sense is that this project was a lot more of pushing fabric under a needle than making complex creative decisions. I think the ratio of thinking to rote sewing is what I was getting at. Cut. Sew. Stich. Repeat. was the major portion. Love that!

  3. I find the term “Auto Pilot Quilting” another way to describe the no thinking/decision making to do. I am currently working on one too. It all came in a bag…. fabric, pattern and instructions!!

    I also begin a project (large or small) from a techinque, tool or other inspiration…. Not sure when or where it will go, but the process is EVERYTHING.

    Beth-Near Chicago

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