Thursday, July 13, 2006

This is a little wholecloth that I made from some of Keryn's patterns in her Treasured Forever pattern pack. I like doing these small quilts, the width of a piece of homespun, and able to be finished quickly. Sometimes I think it takes longer to mark the design than it does to actually sew it!

This has received a lot of admiration, but all I can see is a dirty big wiggle in one line of the basket. I wasn't that experienced when I did this, and I sailed on, content in the knowledge that I'd go back later and unpick it. Hmmm, four years later, and now I've convinced myself that I should leave it there to show that something can be not quite perfect and still nice to have around.

I have to be really careful not to be too critical of my own work. I don't judge others harshly, in fact when I teach, everyone says I'm very encouraging. I love to see that dawning realisation "Perhaps I can do this after all"

But if I'm faced with my own imperfections I have to struggle not to pick things to pieces. In fact just looking at these close-ups has me muttering "My Godfather, the rim of that basket is really blobby and the area around the flowers is too poofy and...."

And so what? Who really cares? It's a nice little quilt and is living happily as a topper on my spare bed and I say good morning to it when I see the sunlight catching it as I walk by.

And I guess my quest against perfectionism is helped by the fact that I'm really, REALLY lazy about unpicking and the discovery that if you wait four years you can probably live with those mistakes forever.


Sunday, July 02, 2006

I don't know why I want to do a Wheel of Fortune like Keryn's when I've already got 22 blocks like this made up. This was called an "Aster" in the book I got it from, but I'm not sure what the traditional name is.

Piecing the middle section (by hand) is an absolute doddle, very pleasant to do, even those little rounded triangles. And the ring of points is hypnotically simple too, I kept making more amd more. But joining the two together is a right royal pain in the ...neck. I don't like curved piecing at all, even though I usually manage to get it looking nice, and I've come to the conclusion that I don't like anything I have to concentrate on. I like mechanical, repetitive movements that I don't have to bother my brain about. Basically lazy I suppose.

Another thing I hate about these blocks is pressing them afterwards. I'm the teeniest bit obsessive about this stage in any project, and even more so when it's hand piecing. Sometimes seams just have to go a certain way when you're working on the machine, and I can live with that. But with hand piecing you can make those little allowances go anywhere you decide, and I was determined to make these beggars behave, or else!

I finally worked out a system which minimised bulk and didn't distort the intersections on the front of the block, but it involved a bit of cussing and heated manipulation. I like pressing seams to one side, but some of these worked out better if they were pressed open, so there's a mixture in this block. Which is another thing that annoys me...

And pressing this block takes about 15 minutes and results in singed fingers every time.

Did I say I was a bit obsessive? I trim each seam to a scant quarter inch as soon as I've sewn it (it's just a habit now, and makes for a pleasingly neat wrong side, and dark material won't peek out). I also finger press as I go, so that makes life easier too.

When Keryn and I were poring over the few magazines around in1978 we couldn't work out what stitch to use when hand piecing, so we decided on backstitch for durability. I still do all my seams backstitch, and I'm so used to it that it's just as quick as running stitch. In fact, contrary to popular belief, I think handpiecing is pretty quick and my usual complaint is that I've run out of cut pieces. I can't seem to keep up with how quickly the blocks go together if you sew every night.

So why do I want to piece a Wheel of Fortune, when this is pretty similar? I dunno, but I like making the same pattern in different colourways so repeating myself is not a big deal. I liked reading about Tallula Bottoms who sometimes made eight quilts of the same design for grand-daughters or other rellies. As I said, I like repetition.


Saturday, July 01, 2006

Keryn sent me a wonderful parcel full of material and yarn and gadgets, so I've been as happy as a pig in mud sorting through it all. I like to play with new fabric for several days, sort of imprinting it on my mind, so this pile has been left out for me to fondle.
However, I didn't let the needles cool down from the pair of red socks before I was casting on some stripey ones with the wool Keryn sent-Regia Crazy Colour. I've already turned the heel, (in one day, I'm obsessed with seeing how the colour knits up) in fact I turned it twice because I didn't like the effect the first time and pulled it out. This is my sixth pair of socks this winter, and I keep telling everyone my goal is to have 14 pairs so I only have to wash them once a fortnight!

And I don't have stinky feet, so I can't see why this isn't feasible!
And Look, Peoples!!! There has been some sewing, at last.~ Just boring old blocks that I was making from the leader-ender 4-patches back in march I think. But they represent the first project that I've sewn in my new sewing room, which is almost sorted out, except for my fluro light. So this is a huge thing for me, finally being organised enough to sit down with all my equipment around and just stitch my little bits of fabric.
If you aren't a sewer I suppose it's hard to understand just how comforting this obsession can be. I, on the the other hand can't understand what 'normal' people do to make themselves feel better when under stress. Smoke? Drink? Meditate on their navels? Give me fabric and a machine any day.


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