Sunday, January 27, 2013

The Tale of Woe

I wrote this earlier this week - doesn't matter.

Today is a tale of woe. 

I have been working diligently on finding alternate methods of quilting large quilts, as my main machine is a Janome Gem and has about a 5 inch harp space.  You really can’t blame me for trying.  Meanwhile, Ed, an older Kenmore that I have, has been pressed into service as of late to handle simple quilting. Ed’s internal cams are cracked so he can only manage a straight stitch at this point.  I officially am no longer investing money into Ed in any way; I was told that parts cannot be found.  It’s OK – Ed was a donation from a guy named Ed. 

So in this pursuit of alternate quilting and finishing methods, I bought the Marti Mitchell book about quilting in sections.  One method was to do quilt as you go on small sections, then machine sew the top sections together and hand stitch the backings.  OK, I thought, let’s give this a whirl.  So I took a yellow set of log cabin blocks and got started.  I will tell you that I love these blocks more than I ever thought I would.

The blocks are huge – 18.5 inches unfinished.  I like this large size; they sew up quickly and are fun.  20 make a twin sized quilt no problem.  For those of you following along, I recently took 20 log cabin blocks that were green and white and made them into a lovely St. Pat’s quilt that was quilted on Ed over the span of a week.  Since I finally have a table to sandwich quilts and a machine to handle them, I began to rethink my approach to the yellow blocks.  After all, the St. Pat’s quilt really went together smoothly….

But I forged on.  By the time I quilted the St. Pat’s quilt, the 20 yellow blocks had all been made into individual quilt sandwiches and had all been quilted.  I was in the process of sewing the blocks into rows and then doing all of that joyous hand sewing.  Now, I don’t mind hand sewing, but usually that is the binding and when the hand sewing is done, so is the quilt.  Not the case with this one.

I fought this quilt.  I shoved aside; made excuses not to do handwork, you name it.  But I recently decided enough was enough and it needed to be done.  So last week I sewed a lot of rows together to make the quilt itself so that the final hand sewing could be done.  I even took it in the car with us to Chicago this weekend and made myself work on it.  I sewed on it last night during Downton Abbey.

And then I saw it.  On the front side, there are poofy mountains.  In order to get the proper overlap on the back, I had pulled the two squares together too much and thus the top would no longer lay flat.  It was all over the quilt. All over. I about cried.

And then I decided that I loved these blocks too much.  I had slogged on all this time with the mantra of done was better than perfect and I would never do this method again.  But now done wasn’t any good any more.  It was inferior to my quiltmaking; an insult to my art.  No way. 

I stopped what I was doing.  I made a new plan.  This quilt now has homework status, which means it will be worked on each month until completed, as all of the work is just no fun.  Necessary, but no fun.  For January, I will do no more.  For February and future months, I will have to think about it.  My goal is to have about 4 quilts available for a finish in a month and 5 homework assignments and then BOMs from Peddlers Way.  That’s like 10 things per month to choose from.  I may buy a new backing; there is a wonderful fabric in the sale room at my LQS that would work.  It will be OK.

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