Thursday, December 10, 2009

1,000 quilts later...

Quilting is quite the challenge. I am approaching my wit's end for the one I have been working on, but I am almost done with it, and yes, I am looking forward to the next one. I think I have finally found something I am not naturally gifted at. I mean, usually when I try something, it turns out really well. But not this. I feel like a compete failure at it. I suppose that is one reason I am looking forward to the next one — I want to succeed at this.

This afternoon I ripped up seams three times before I threw in the towel and considered the last try 'good enough.' The top stitching is what is really a giant pain. I have figured out how to do it, in general, but this time I am using this cloth called 'minky' cloth for the back. It's very soft and very fuzzy and I just cannot get it to move well. Top stitching requires being able to move the cloth around fluidly underneath the needle in a free motion sort of way. This minky stuff feels nice but it is a royal pain to move it along.

My quilt backing is bunchy and looks bad. Mr. Field Notes tried to give me pep talk about it when I pointed out the flaws, but it didn't really work. I just can't look at the bunches and see them as neat little hills.

Right now I am just making quilts for us, but eventually I would like to be able to make quilts that are good enough to give as gifts, or even to sell. I want them to be that high of quality. I have a long way to go. My seams don't line up, the backing isn't smooth and so on.

I am in awe of the woman who writes
She's got some mad skills — definitely PhD-level free motion quilting genius. She posts videos of her free motion quilting. I am going to have to study her technique.

Fortunately today I realized that when I first started making handmade paper, I was terrible at it. Now of course, I am really good at it and people even pay me to make them paper for their special occasions. Ten years ago I would not have thought so. My first attempts at making paper were awful. The sheets were unevenly thick and some had holes or super thin spots. If you held them up to a light, you could see the lumps. And they were roughly textured, not the smooth sheets I make now. I have no idea how many sheets of paper I've made, but I'd guess that it is in the thousands.

I really hope I do not have to make 1,000 quilts before I get good at making them.


BakerGirl said...

Quilting is an acquired skill. My grandmother does amazing quilts but it's taken a long time for her to be able to crank one after another out. She quilts them all by hand and it's crazy how quickly she can do them.

Keep practicing and it'll get better!

Becky said...

I know a girl who learned at a young age from her mother. She makes fabulously beautiful quilts. I was secretly hoping for one as a baby gift, but no such luck. And since I'm rarely naturally good at anything, and can't afford to buy one of hers, no quilt for us! Good luck with your venture. You should post pictures, even of the imperfect ones.

Science Bear said...

Thanks for sharing this! One of the teachers I work with hand quilts and him and his wife offered me lessons. Will probably end in disaster, but have to try it!