January 19, 2008

Quilting in Progress

I am piecing my first ever quilt! It's monotonous... not quite like wheel throw, where I can put on my headphones and tune out the world, letting the clay tell me what to do: what it wants to become. I can sit back and let it spin, or I can dive in and close my eyes while my hands do the work.

Not so with sewing.
I have to concentrate the entire time. I have to have a plan so I can tell the machine what to do, and I have to guide the pieces. I am a mathematical person, and I am somewhat of a perfectionist, so really I don't mind the precision. But at the same time my perfectionism poses a problem. I know that an eighth-inch mistake won't matter in the big picture, until I make one on every piece. Then I will end up with one crooked quilt! (Some might call that artistic, but I'd rather get it right.)

In pottery, mistakes turn out to be the best pieces. I'm not so sure in quilting. I don't want to allow myself any mistakes, if I can help it.

The interesting thing is I take pleasure from the tedium of ironing, piecing, sewing, ironing again, checking, and - let's be realistic - ripping seams apart. It is definitely a learning process. As I said before, I was never any good at sewing - so I'm not a bit surprised. Or frustrated.

Here are some lessons I have learned thus far:
  1. I need a bigger work space.
  2. Accurate measurement is important. Straight cuts are too.
  3. It's better if you measure accurately and cut precisely on your first try. Otherwise, you waste a lot of time - and a lot of fabric.
  4. If you don't measure correctly the first time, you might run out of fabric. Driving back to the store in the snow is a drag.
  5. It is not easy to stitch in a straight line.
  6. The stitch ripper is a wonderful invention.
  7. A quarter inch seam is not very big.
  8. The stitch ripper is a wonderful invention.
  9. Pins don't always do what they are designed to do.
  10. The stitch ripper is a wonderful invention.
  11. Some of my fabrics are woven more tightly than others... maybe I should have prewashed everything. The quilting books suggest that.
  12. Different weaves travel through sewing machines at different speeds.
  13. The stitch ripper is a wonderful invention.
  14. Fabric scraps and threads can make a big pile of trash.
  15. I need a bigger work space.

1 comment:

Rhondi said...

Hi Lauren I hear some frustration here :) If you aren't used to sewing, making quilts is difficult at first. What I love about it is the color. Much of my inspiration has come from Freddy Moran and Mary Lou Weidman who both make very colorful quilts that are not so precise. If you google their names you can see their work and Mary Lou has a blog. It is supposed to be fun :). And yes the seam ripper is a great invention. One of my friends calls it the unsewer! She says she's great at unsewing!