2020 has been a year full of lessons. I’ve learned that I do, in fact, have enough fabric. I’ve also learned that I don’t have enough thread. I’ve learned that I’d much rather listen to YouTube videos about sewing and quilting than listen to the news. I’ve learned how to Zoom! I’ve also learned that my husband DOES know how to cook, a fact that he’s been able to hide from me for over 30 years. The most important lesson I’ve learned though is to do not only what I love, but what my loved ones love as well.
My happy place is my sewing room. When I am in my sewing room, I can spend a few hours forgetting my problems and just create. I feel like I’ve accomplished something when I spend an afternoon sewing. I love being able to point at something at the end of the day and say, “I made this today”. Chain piecing is my form of meditation. The repetitiveness of the motion and the sound of the machine are very soothing to me. Cutting fabric is a great way to work out some aggressions in a constructive way.
Another aspect of quilting that I love is the exchange of ideas. I’m in a couple of quilt guilds and I also belong to several groups on Facebook. I love seeing the projects other quilters are working on. I get so many ideas and so much inspiration from my fellow quilters. It also gives me a lot of comfort knowing that I am not the only one to struggle with fabric selection, curved pieces and a consistent ¼” seam.
I have been quilting long enough to know that there are some aspects of quilting that I just do not enjoy. I’m not a huge fan of applique. I think it’s absolutely beautiful, and it opens up so many more possibilities when making a quilt. I just don’t enjoy doing it, so I don’t. I also don’t like patterns with a long list of fabrics to pick out. If I’ve got to pick out more than 5 fabrics, I’m probably not going to make the quilt. I love quilts made from jelly rolls, layer cakes, and kits because the fabric choosing is done for me.
I love making quilts that look very complicated but are actually relatively easy. For example, I love simple blocks that have amazing secondary patterns when you put them all together. I love quilts that look like I’ve cut a million tiny squares, but I’ve actually done all strip piecing.
Many people don’t like certain steps in the process. Precuts are great for people who don’t like picking fabrics or cutting strips. Acuquilters are amazing for quilters who don’t like rotary cutting. My favorite is when people do their longarm quilting by checkbook or credit card because sometimes I get to do the longarming for them. With the recent purchase of my new Handi-Quilter, I love that step in the process. I’ve had my new longarm a little over a month and have already gone through a roll of batting and finished quilting 30 quilts.
I don’t love the hand sewing of the bindings. I’ve got 7 quilts ready to send to my mom for binding. I’m so thankful that she loves that part of the process.
I’ve been to many retreats over the last few years, and two things that always amazes me is the number of different styles of quilting and the number of different quilting personalities. Some quilters save every tiny bit of fabric and actually use it for projects, some quilters get rid of the scraps as soon as they are done with a project, and there are many other quilters that fall somewhere in between those two types. Some quilters make the most intricate quilts with the tiniest details, others make quick quilts with big blocks and few seams to line up, and again many quilters fall somewhere in between those two styles. No matter where your tolerance for scraps lies or what your piecing preferences are, your quilts are your creation and they are beautiful.
So, if you love quilting, quilt. If there is a part you don’t like, figure out a way around it. Choose patterns that fit your quilting personality. Do what you love and let others do the other parts.
Life is too short to make quilts that you don’t enjoy.
Stay tuned for Part 2 – doing what makes them happy.