Monday, December 19, 2005

quilting.... A blog about the actual process of quilting

Once upon a time ago, in 2000 or 2001 I started to quilt. I just made that decision and stuck with it... No lessons "just do it." I also was going to do it all by hand.... I joined a guild just becasue, really.... I thought I could learn and do - I took my first class with Karen Kay Buckley - not a beginers class. (She came to teach at my guild - as a newly joined member, I promptly signed up for all of the classes being offered.) I did not even know that the needle stayed on top of the project... (I had been a cross stitcher) There were so many things that I did not know(like how to chose fabric), but I did not know that I did not know so I trudged along.... (I never finished the block.... & it no longer lives with me to remind me of that fact.)

Then a gal in my guild gave me her old sewing machine - circa 1960's Kenmore - top of the line back then & she kept everything even the Consumer Reports magazine write up on sewing machines. Very cool & I did not know any better about how much sewing machines changed in the mean time.... It was in a cabinet - I took the whole kitten kaboodle to the repair shop.... :o)

My first pieced project was also "advaced." It was a kaliedoscope by Bonnie McCaffrey she was also hired to teach and to give a lecture at my guild. (She taught right before I joined, but lectured and sold patterns on my first day...) I bought one & went to town.... I finished it, it was paper pieced, I did not remove the paper... remember I was in "Just do it" mode and did not know what I did not know. Apparently, that was an unwritten instruction that someone buying that pattern should have known.... (I have no idea what happened to that project - but it did look awful!)

Where am I going with this? (I am getting there!) My next project was a stack and whack.... Again, I did not know anything about buying fabric & did not bother to read what Bethany Reynolds had to say about it. Instead, I was working from the "I love that fabric" point of view! (I chose a pink and lavendar bows on cream print with gold accents- I liked gold back then.)So the piecing turned out pretty good for a novice, aside from the fact that it did not look like a stack and whack - no contrast between the bad choice in stack fabric & background fabric (cream with gold speckles). I was happy that it also did not look like a bra. However, the quilting "RUINED" my top! (I used a gold metalic thread.)
My second & last attempt at S&W was a Stack and Oops. I forgot to unfold the fabric before cutting it. So while the first three repeats looked great the last three did not... Since I cut-out enough triangles (Yes, I got that far before figuring out my mistake!) for a king sized bed quilt I tried to match what I could - make lemonade out of my lemons..... "FUGHETABOUTIT" I set them aside & started on something else.... The birth of a UFO! (Since then I trimmed the triangles, all 1 billion of them, into squares for a scrappy Irish Chain. Thanks Bonnie for the inspiration.) BTW My fabric selection for the second S&W was 100% better than the first!

Back to my story.... around the time that I messed up royally on my attempts at quilting, a friend introduced me to Sunshine Quilts. I have been using a long armer ever since... Even on tops that should not have become tops & that definately should not have been sent out to be quilted.... GEESH, what was I thinking? (My cats love their quilts though!)

Finally, what have I been getting to... I did not quilt the cats... Our very own JudyL quilted them. As well as several other of my quilts. I use other long armers too & I still try, on occasion, to quilt my own stuff & I still HATE it....

With all of that said, my fiancee is giving me a sewing machine that is younger than me (Brand New, unless there is a very nice "trade in" available! Lets be realistic....) & I promised to try to quilt on it.... I am currently sewing on a Featherweight - so my new sewing machine is older than my old sewing machine.... (my current excuse for using a long armer....)


quiltpixie said...

oh, do I hear you... Your "distroy of quilting" brought back lots of smiles. I was fortunate to have a quilt mentor in my family, but rather than projects that just went "wrong" I had the quilt police instilled early on to never try something I wasn't sure about.... Ahh the joys and tribulations :-)

Finn said...

That is quite a story Amy..LOL. Glad you hung in there and got to the good stuff. Nothing wrong with using a longarm quilter to get the job done..*S*

Laurie said...

Great story! Thanks for sharing and thanks for sticking with it! LOL...many people would've quit!

Granny said...

Thanks Amy! It's always been fun to work on your quilts.

Judy L.

Jules said...

My first Stack n Whack had some bra-like spots to it. Lots of tight machine quilting and pictures from not so close up make it look ok.

Evelyn aka Starfishy said...

Gosh Amy, you are a determined quilter to stick it through so many attempts. And look where you are now! You do super-fab work!

I use a long arm quilter too. I have finished quilts and I am happy! Like you, sometimes I question my sanity when I send it out, but it always looks so much nicer when I get it back all quilted and then I love it.



Deb R said...

Aaaw, Amy. Looks like the longarm quilter has been doing a good job on your quilts, but it can be fun to do it yourself too, honest. :-)

The secret is practice, practice, practice...

Quiltgranny said...

Amy - we all go through the same process at one time or another. If you still have the Kenmore machine - keep it! It is made of all metal working parts, and I'll bet in your lifetime, a Kenmore might become the next Featherweight craze!

And about the longarm quilting? There are some of us who are piecers and there are some of us who are quilters, there are a rare few who are pieced quilters. I am not among them. Just the piecing please! I like to handquilt, which I am not allowed to do anymore, so it's off to the longarmer for me! I just got a hobby quilter (a Pfaff) so maybe I will be able to get more of mine done now. I know I still won't enjoy it as much, though. (Sorry Debr)

woof nanny said...

You have a featherweight? Oh man, I'm jealous.