Monday, September 29, 2014

Spectacular Quilting

I've been seeing some amazing quilting lately and wonder how quilters get to that stage. As a care-worn quilter who is beyond the beginner stage and somewhere between a confident beginner and an early intermediate quilter, I puzzle at the process. 

I am sure the stories they tell give a great look into what it was when they first started to where they are with this fabric art now. Some have been quilting longer, and some just have this gift that springs out of their fingertips.

My struggle today was in making a block pattern for a 12" Halloween block swap. After two tries, the smaller one got cut down to a Wonky 6.5" square after two sides were cut off. The larger one, with its less than accurate points, will go into my collection for Halloween blocks to build a back. Blend them in with the others of their kind and what is a flaw for what I had planned becomes perfect for their new purposes.

Those spectacular quilters I read about have learned something I have yet to grasp. Many of them have been quilting for decades, so we don't see their practice quilts. My practice quilts are the ones I freely give away to family and friends (letting them know its a practice piece). Maybe Spectacular Quilters have been taking more lessons, maybe they belong to teaching circles or guilds.

Lately, the big lessons is that not all patterns are written the same, and that its really going to be important for me in this stage of quilt-making to read what is written, think about it and see the logic in it. One big thing that seems to shift between patterns is how to set the seam line. It is an illusion to think that everyone who writes a pattern will have it pieced at 1/4" seams, but not the specifics. When the machine shifts one thread over the line either left or right, it will drastically change the seam line and alter the way the block comes together. I think this was the issue on today's blocks. I set it for a scant 1/4" and the outer pieces wouldn't line up.

Also, some patterns will not say how much fabric is required nor say what level of quilting expertise is required. I have to start looking for this information.

Sometimes in relationships, I can see when a person is operating a little off center and that they don't fit in particular ways, yet, with a little creative interaction, they suddenly do have a purpose and contribute quite nicely in ways that work best for their choices. It's about accepting people where they are and for who they are in the greater scheme of the world.

What I do know is that we all might need practice, and need to keep going with what we do. It seems to me that any quilting is spectacular if the quilt-makers see their work in this way and that may start by internally accepting one's own work. Good mental health is living in the moment, so looking back on ill-informed choices we made in the past really doesn't serve us so much in the present. I plan to start with a different block tomorrow for this swap using this same fabric. This next block pattern will work for me.