11 October 2010

It's Been a While...

No, I'm not referring to the song by the same name by the band Staind. I'm talking about how long it's been since I last posted. I've been very busy at work, and for the next two weeks or so it'll be busy, but hopefully after that it will hopefully calm down a little bit. Well, it probably won't, but I can always hope, can't I?

On Thursday, I got the package I was waiting for in the mail. What did it contain? Well, it had 5 yards of this fabric:

That's "Journey's Beginning Brown Trees" by Wilmington Fabrics - t's the backing for Pop-Pop's quilt. Isn't it pretty? It's soft and subtle and just generally awesome. I'm excited that I'll have some of it left over for future projects. :) The package also contained three packs of Warm 'n Natural Batting, the twin size pieces. So I put aside the piecing of my mom's quilt top and got working on Pop-Pop's quilt. I started by ironing the backing, which I've never done before, but it made a world of difference in getting the fabric to lay flat and not be wrinkled on the back. I pieced the back for the first time using the masking tape method of holding the fabric down and stretched out. It worked kind masking tape wasn't very sticky so a few pieces of it came up while I was pinning, but hey - it held it out flatter than it would have been otherwise. Once I basted it (I miraculously had enough pins! I put one pin in each of the big squares of the design, in alternating directions...if one pin was vertical, the next was horizontal, etc.), I had a brilliant idea. The kind of idea that makes a light bulb appear over your head...and break, because it can't handle the brilliance of your idea. Why don't I move my sewing machine and table out into the living room? My laptop hates playing DVDs, and I could just go play my movies on the TV and watch them that way. Plus, since my sewing table is usually against the wall, it would give me much more room for keeping my quilt away from the machine while quilting it! So I did just that. My sewing setup is in the living room, and I can enjoy my movies and work on this quilt simultaneously. Hooray for me. I am so'd think I would have figured this out sooner, but hey - late's better than never!

I did change my quilting plan. After a lot of consideration, and reading a lot of different blogs about quilting, I decided that instead of quilting in the ditch, which would draw attention to where my blocks don't line up exactly, I would echo quilt inside of each shape. I'm just using plain white thread, and I absolutely LOVE the effect it gives. It really accentuates the fact that each piece of the disappearing 9 patch block is separate, and that the "fields" of the quilt are all separate. Plus it makes a nice design on the back! I'm not quite halfway done with the quilting. I was hoping to get more done tonight, but I got a chance to talk to my mom tonight and I wouldn't have given it up for anything, even if it meant that I could have this quilt completely finished.

Don't get me wrong, this quilt is far from perfect! I'm not sure if any of my quilts will ever have the corners actually line up, or if I'll ever manage to do my anchoring stitches without ending up having sewn sideways and having it be perfectly obvious that I went back over that area...but I'm getting to the point where I'm not sure if I care that my quilts aren't perfect. I mean, I'll strive to make them well. I want my quilts to not fall apart in a few years or less...I'd love it if I could still see some of my old quilts from when I was just starting out quilting when I'm old and gray, and see that they've survived the years...the being dragged around the house, the spills that inevitably happen when babies are involved, etc. Sometimes I wonder if I really should care about getting my corners to match up exactly, and whether I should be bothered when my quilting isn't perfect. It seems like all of the quilts I see online that other women make are perfect. I can't see any flaws in them. But are they really there?

My mom (who used to sew all of my clothes when I was a kid...surprisingly, I still can wear a pair of shorts she made me...they were more like culottes back then and now they're the type of shorts that I'll only wear in the house when it's just my husband and I...but she made them I think when I was in 5th grade so I take that as a sign that I'm doing okay!) tells me that I shouldn't strive for perfection. There are cultures in this world that purposely ensure that any product they make isn't perfect. For instance, Persian rug makers used to intentionally mess up the pattern somewhere just so that they wouldn't insult Allah - since Allah (in their religion) was the only perfect thing in the universe, they would ensure that nothing they made was perfect. Maybe I should just say that I agree with that idea - God is the only perfect thing anywhere in the universe, so why would I want to make my quilts compete with Him? Haha, somehow I don't think that would fly. My wonderful mom has sent me pictures of quilts in magazines that have obvious flaws, where corners don't line up, etc. for me to look when I start feeling inadequate because my quilts aren't perfect. But it still kind of bugs me. Should I really care? I'm not sure. I'd love feedback. I love quilting, but I am afraid that if I were to pick out every seam that wasn't 100% perfect and straight, I'd hate it. Any thoughts?

On a lighter note, my dad found this blog. It's kind of a funny story how it happened. I had sent my mom the link to this post by Lynne at Patchery Menagerie. One of my mom's favorite words is Aubergine, and she absolutely loved the quilt that Lynne is making. Apparently she forwarded the link to my dad. Not thinking about my mom looking at the quilt, I left a comment on Lynne's post, offering up some of my scraps if she wanted them for her next few words. My dad checked out Lynne's post and saw that "Emma" (with my avatar, which he knows from my other blog) had posted a comment. He clicked on the link, and found the Quilting Hermit. Don't worry though - he read through it a little bit and saw that I was posting about making a quilt for my mom, so he did not send her the link to this site. He and I will keep it a secret until after I give her the quilt. Hi, daddy! It sure is a small internet, isn't it?

Anyways, on that note, I'm off to bed. I start work again tomorrow (hooray for 4-day weekends!) and I desperately need to get a workout in before heading to work. I've eaten entirely too much this weekend, thanks to sleepover movie nights, movie and a board game nights, and a farewell lunch for a friend. I hope your weekends were as productive as mine was! Tschüss!


  1. on being "perfect": my feeling is ... "is it good enough?" Good enough for the purpose, that is. Doodle cloths for veterinarian cage liners, experimental quilts for charity, cuddle quilts for toddlers, "just because" quilts, show stopper quilts all have different levels of perfection in my book. I've done all of the above except the show stoppers. To me, that would require 100% OCD, anally-retentive perfection ... and I just don't have enough time in my life to do that. There are SO many things I want to sew and quilt that if it's "good enough", I'm happy. Not to say that my quality is shoddy ... but if the points get chopped off of a doodle cloth, I'm not going to get bent out of shape.

    Same goes for the actual quilting .. who's going to get it? I'm certainly not doing real detailed work on a baby quilt; it wouldn't be reasonable. If something is just for me, I might tend to be a bit more relaxed on perfection, too.

    All in all, don't get your knickers in a twist over every single item. Life is too short! Do your best on whatever you do with the skill set you have at the time, just realize that your best will be different on different days depending on a whole LOT of things. Don't beat yourself up if everything is not a show stopper. Not everything needs to be. :-)

    At least, that's what I'm thinking. :-)


  2. There is a vast amount of difference between perfect and grossly flawed. When we are first quilting, our quilts need improvement; corners DO need to match up (close enough) and a quilt needs to well put together so it won't fall apart, but you can take all the fun out of quilting if you need perfection. It's a hobby. It's an outlet, and we are supposed to be having fun. :-)

    I totally love your backing fabric!

    It is so much fun hearing about your finding a new way to organize yourself so you can stitch AND watch movies and be comfy in your living room. :-)

    The echo quilting sounds lovely. Emma, I still have quilts to finish that I put away a long time ago and know that one day I will know what to do with them. You're doing fine.


Thanks for stopping by! I'd love to hear from you, if you've got the time to leave a comment!