Monday, September 16, 2013

Mug Rugs Are My New Thing

I've made three now that are practice pieces to get me ready for the Swap. They are mini quilts and take a lot of thought. What is great about doing something like this is the 'practice' component.

I met a woman at the Project Linus site on Saturday and as we looked at some of the donations, she told me she never shows her quilts to other quilters. I get that. To the untrained eye, these quilts are lovely.

Today, I am sending these to one of my Nieces for her birthday instead of the usual card, and with a note telling her what they are, so she doesn't think they are potholders and burn her hand holding something from the stove or oven.

Learning to quilt has become an act of being slow and steady with my progress. Sure, the results can be immediate, like what you see above, and I love just looking at them because they are dramatic in color. What you cannot see in the photo and I realize, is that I need more practice on...for instance the binding. 

My MugRugSwap partner will probably look at what I send with a more knowing eye, and while they might be pleased with what they see, they will also be looking to see what it is I need to learn. 

Quilting gives me a calmer, more even approach to how I see myself and how I do this work. As the operator choosing the speed, my machine runs slower than when I first started because I have learned that my impatience was actually an obstacle to quality. Accuracy is a well-appreciated quality. 

As I reflect on my life, I wonder how my in-born need for speed really worked for my greater good. With a quilt, if something is amiss, you can go back and rip the seam out and do it over. With life, those do-overs aren't always possible.

This realization is a big leap today. 

Yesterday, I was able to baste and machine quilt TRAINS for one of my Great-Nephews. It needs trimming and binding next. I learned from making the Mug Rugs that I want to do the binding just a little differently at the joined seams. There are two methods: One is a straight cut and the other is a mitered cut.  The straight cut saves fabric which was fine because I had just enough scraps to do them. However, with TRAINS, I expect this little boy to want to play with vehicles on the quilt and so even the smallest bump might make a difference.