Sunday, February 1, 2015
This is what I am thinking lately...why does machine quilting have to be so darn perfect? Granted the work done by people like Judi Madsen and Margaret Solomon Gunn (and countless others) is fun to look at and is quite amazing. However, it is just not practical in the real world for the average machine quilter who is trying to make a living through quilting. Even Judi Madsen says in her book that there is no money in custom quilting. It takes weeks for these artists to create their magic. They plan and plan, then mark the quilt with chalk and disappearing markers so that every line and every circle is exactly perfect. The end results are amazing...but, again, unrealistic for most of us. The problem that I am struggling with is that because of the proliferation of quilting magazines, Pinterest, and internet programs, one could assume that every quilt should be treated to this "perfect" finish.
I am confident that I can, given enough time and the desire to do so, create some pretty impressive quilting. The problem is, no one wants to pay for that. It takes so many hours to mark and execute such intricate designs that it is cost-prohibitive for the average customer. Instead, I like to do what I call "perfectly imperfect" quilting. I sometimes use rulers. I sometimes use stencils to draw a few elements on a quilt top. I do some very pretty free-motion feathers. My quilting is not perfect. I don't have a computer that I can program to do the exact same pattern back and forth across the quilt top. I can't program my machine to quilt the exact same pattern inside of each block. It's just not what I do. Instead, I like to improvise, listen to the quilt and what it is telling me that it wants, and do what I feel will enhance the quilt without taking weeks to finish. For the vast majority of quilts, "perfectly imperfect" is just right for finishing the quilt in a reasonable manner. Free-motion custom work does make a quilt special, even if it isn't exactly "perfect."
There are so many machine quilters out there. Some do strictly pantographs by laser light. Some use a computer to do pantographs across the quilt top. Some do free-motion custom work, Some do computerized custom work. I say...each to his or her own. For me, "perfectly imperfect" is just what my quilts need!
Sunday, January 11, 2015
The quilters stash...a place of mystery for most non-quilters! Every quilter worth their salt has what is commonly called a "stash." The word itself basically means something that you hide away and plan to come back to get later. Its a pretty good description and an accurate name-for most quilters. For me, though, its isn't quite right. I think of my stash more as a "collection."
You see, I do have a stash, but it is pretty small by most quilters standards. I very rarely buy fabric simply because I like it. If I do, I LOVE it! It is a piece that I simply can't see myself doing without. Here's my problem, I very rarely come back and use it later! It just sits in a container waiting for a magical "someday" that doesn't come. Hence, the word...collection. A collection by definition is something that you buy just for the love of it, and it really isn't expected to do anything or be used for anything else. Accurate, in my case. How about yours?
What I do, instead of building a stash, is I buy "projects." If I find a fabric that I like in the quilt shop, I think to myself, "what would I do with this?" If I don't know, which is usually the case, I look for a pattern right then and there to use that fabric. Then, I go ahead and buy whatever I need to go with it while I have the focus piece in my hand. I bring the project home, put it into a clear container, and place it on open book shelves in my sewing room. That way, I am ready to make a project when I have time to work on it. Its kind of like making my own kits for myself. If I end up changing my mind or run into something unexpected I will dig through my "collection" for a little help.
I generally do not make scrap quilts. That's why this system works for me. In fact, once a year, I give away most of my scraps and start the new year over with empty containers. My method definitely would not work for those out there that love to make scrappy quilts. I know that first hand from the times that I have tried to buy everything I needed to make a scrappy quilt! I ended up with way more than I needed for one quilt. Those occasions are where a stash would come in handy. Generally, my method works well for me, saves space, and probably saves me money in the long run. If you aren't a scrappy quilt person...you should try it:)
Thursday, January 1, 2015
|Christmas with my two favorite people!|
On a personal level, there is the always made (and never followed) goal to lose weight; the obligatory "try to be a better person" type goals; and recently discovered "downsize" urges have led to the goal to take one pair of shoes "out" every time I bring a new pair of shoes "in." I must admit, this last one has led to me buying a lot fewer new pairs of shoes because I like most of my old ones! I have found that a specific goal such as, "Smile and make contact with people I don't know at quilt guild" is much more likely to be followed than the general "make new friends at guild"-type goals.
Following that idea, I found last year that setting specific projects to work on each month led to my most productive year ever, when it comes to quilting anyway. My Facebook friends had started this idea a few years ago where at the beginning of the year, they labeled 12 projects with numbers 1-12. Each month, one of the members of the group posts a randomly drawn number, and that is the specific focus for that month. There are no project police that will come to your house if you don't do it, but just knowing that I made the commitment seems to motivate me. There is no pressure to even finish the project but just a goal to work on it and make some progress. We then post pictures of our progress at some point during the month. It is so much fun! If you aren't a member of a Facebook quilting group, I highly recommend finding a small one. The groups that literally have thousands of members really aren't great for this type of thing. If you don't have a group, you should start one! Invite me! I would be glad to join you:)
Happy New Year, and Happy Quilting!