Ow. My legs and feet are sore. And I'm *tired*. It's been a while since I spent oh, 2 1/2 to 3 hours walking and standing nonstop. Yes, I'm in bad shape, I know this. selenite
and I took the kids and went to see a quilt show here in Fort Worth
It was very interesting, and I saw a lot of beautiful and fascinating quilts. Maggie got to take part in the kids' Treasure Chest search - she got a list of elements to find in quilts, and had to write down the number of a quilt that had each item. Well, we did, anyway, she's not up to the writing part, and we mostly had to point out the elements for her. But still she enjoyed that, and got to pick a prize - she got herself a little rainbow plastic zipper purse. We didn't win any door prizes, and I didn't bid on any of the small silent auction quilts, although there were some very nice ones.
However, I was really hoping that the whole thing would be more inspiring and less of a downer for me. Honestly, the displays were inspiring, the merchant section was the downer. I want to get into quilting. I've wanted to for years. Various members of my family have done quilting. (In fact, somewhere there's a half-finished cat quilt bkseiver
was going to do for me to take to college...I still want it, Mom!)
Every time I've tried to learn more, I've gotten mostly more discouraged. (Well, not every time. msminlr
was encouraging. And I need to get over the rest of the intimidation and just go with what she said, I swear.) Most people keep talking about doing fancy modern stuff with paper piecing and how important it is to get the seams exactly right, and you know, you get it just a little wrong the whole thing will pucker - and sheesh, people, do not start me off with Mt. Everest! Give me a hill! The perfect becomes not only the enemy of the good, but the enemy of the possible. I keep saying to myself "darn it, they used to do this in covered wagons with fabric, needle, thread, scissors. Maybe a ruler if they were lucky." And then I go off and give up for months to years again, because it sounds too important to get it perfect and I don't think I can.
And everything is SO machine-oriented. I don't have a working sewing machine right now. And I'm terribly intimidated by them. Hand me a complex lace and cables knitting pattern, no problem. Weaving with sewing thread, no problem. Sewing machines, those make me tense and unhappy. Threading kattelyn
's relatively simple machine totally defeated me recently. bkseiver
is bringing her old machine to me in November - which is NOT relatively simple - and I'm terribly afraid the training session is going to go by at what feels like 90mph, and then she'll say "see, it's easy!", which it probably would be to anybody but me, and then after she leaves I'll stare at the terrifying machine in horror, try to use it, and be unable to thread it or adjust the tension.
I was looking at some kits there - but it was all very machine-oriented. And the plans horrified me. Lay stacks of fabric together, use this paper stuff, sew on the dotted lines, then cut here, and unfold, and hey, it's two triangles into a square! (diamonds into something else, really) And you just throw away the rest of that fabric? Throw it away
? Doesn't that go against the whole POINT? And I was being advised against using existing material from clothes, which I want to do - okay, admittedly by merchants who SELL fabric, so that's easy to take with a grain of salt. And hearing the bedturning ( (bedturning explanation) )
with the lady talking about "utility quilts" made from recycled fabrics for household usage as if it was something bad... well, overall I came to the realization that my problem is I was born 100 years too late.
I want to use traditional old-fashioned piecework patterns, make "utillity quilts" that will get used on beds, not artistic wall-hangings. I want to use calicos that I like, especially the now-defunct calico outfits I had bkseiver
make for me years back. (And I still want more of those someday...) I'm interested in hand-piecing, and it's not because I'm a "purist" really - it's partially that I have so much trouble with sewing machines, partially because hand-piecing I can do on my lap while in the room with kids, travelling, at cons, etc, and partially because the whole wasting fabric quick methods make me twitch. I'd like to learn hand-quilting too, because sending it off to stores with huge quilting machines seems so impersonal, and I'd rather do it myself - but I'm afraid of doing bad sloppy stitches and getting negative reactions from people who matter to me.
I need to draw up my courage, get a new rotary cutter (and pray I can use it properly), get those old calico garments onto the crafts table and cutting mat, and cut a bejeesus load of little squares, and start trying to hand-piece nine-patch blocks. And just pile them up, and eventually figure out what I can do with them - maybe pick another nice fabric and make a double-ninepatch top. And just try it. And if there's not enough to make a bed quilt, well, I don't know. I can always make a crib one. And no, probably it won't come out even, and some of the ninepatches totally won't match others, and okay, fine, it would at least be doing something.
Lynette's coming over tonight, and she used to do quilting, so I'll pick her brain. But I'm also tossing out a couple of questions to quilters on my flist - msminlr
, I particularly mean you, although I expect there's others.
- How big should the squares that go into a nine-patch block be?
- Do you use "quilting thread" for piecing? If not, what?
- I know you use "betweens" for quilting (although HOW? they're so short), what type of needle do you use for hand piecing?
- Any hints for ways to figure out if you have a 1/4" seam allowance on hand-piecing?
I probably won't start this any time soon. FenCon is next weekend, and I'm totally not prepared for it. The house is a mess and laundry is behind. (I am SO not a domestic kind of person. I'm an artist, darn it.) Sock Wars
starts next Friday too, and will suck up a lot of my time until I get wiped out of the competition. But still, I'm going to find ways to start (pardon the phrase) piecing this into my time.