Wednesday, 2 March 2011

Confessions of a slap-dash quilter

Wednesday, 2 March 2011
I started quilting about four years ago when I discovered that a shop in my home town ran quilting courses - this meant I was able to drop Lia off with my family for the day and I could go learn to quilt.  This was back in the days when I could take leave from work whenever I wanted because we weren't tied to school holidays which was lucky because the courses tended to be during the week rather than weekends.

I don't remember exactly how many courses I went on, probably about 8 or 9 (it's a long time ago and I've had another baby since then LOL) but it was love at first class for me.  I'd never really been inspired to use my sewing machine, in fact I have no idea why I bought one as I had no clue how to use it or what to sew on it, but all of a sudden a new obsession was born.

I've made around a 20 quilts in the intervening years as well as smaller items and, of course, my ever expanding WIP pile and one thing I've learnt about myself is that I'm not a precision sewer.  I absolutely prefer speed to perfection and I'm certainly not into quilting by hand as, if I'm going to sit and stitch, I'd rather it be cross stitch than quilting.

I should clarify that I love, love, love making quilt tops.  I love the designing, measuring, cutting and sewing of them.  I like it when they're fiddly (just as well since I have a Dear Jane quilt on the go), I love the fact that seemingly random pieces of fabric can come together into something gorgeous and I love the 'wow' moment when the top is finally completed.

What happens next is the problem for me as I'm pretty slapdash at the whole quilting part of the project - they're not going to fall apart but they definitely couldn't be entered into any competitions. I like to think this is lack of space to layer and pin properly and having a small sewing machine which makes quilting larger items a real struggle but in truth it is really just my impatience and dumb ass attitude that causes the problems.  I don't know why but I seem to look at the quilting bit as boring sewing rather than being creative and if it's boring sewing I therefore have to get it over and done with as quickly as possible.  I also think that my lack of experience doing it means that I worry about messing it up and ruining my hard work on the quilt top.

Apart from one class on free motion quilting I've only ever done the stitch in the ditch method and most of that has been wonky LOL.  So one of my goals this year is to get better at putting the quilts together and I've just found a blog post over on Stash Manicure that I think might help.  I'd never considered the idea of quilting blocks as I go - to be honest it hadn't occured to me that I could - but I'm thinking that I could use this method to make a bunch of smallish blocks that I can practice free motion quilting on and then if I do mess them up I at least am only messing up a small block rather than a whole quilt top.

I have no idea if this will work but my pile of quilt tops is just going to grow and grow if I don't get more confident in my skills.  One thing's for sure I cannot afford to pay someone to quilt them for me so it's definitely time to bite the bullet.



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