A bit ago I wrote my blog post about a UFO project I was working on. I showed this picture.
I didn’t think anything of it at all. It’s a quilt block finishing at 6″. If you work with men’s shirts for fabric you know that some are a little more stretchy (even though they are cotton) than others and if you know me and my sewing habits, you’ll know that in my world, this block looks just perfect!
I had a good chuckle when a blog reader left this comment, ” I can see I am not the only one the needs to square up blocks when working with small pieces :)” It was reminder that all quilters practice the craft differently.
Kelli and I have had this conversation about “how we both quilt” a million times. She “hates the way I pin”. Really how does one “pin wrong”. She hates the way I make ten blocks and then four blocks and then six blocks. She wants to make all sixty blocks a quilt needs all at the same time so that every block gets finished in the last sewing pass. There is whole list of other things that I do that I’m sure many would consider wrong.
The comment that the reader wrote had Kelli and I discussing all of the “wrong” things I do again so I jokingly took the Meatloaf song “I will do anything for love…but I won’t to that” and switched it up.
On a side note…This a picture that has Meatloaf’s signature on it. We saw him in concert at UNI a few years ago. It was so fun!
Here’s my list of things “I will do to quilt but I won’t do that”:
1-I will not trim blocks…Never ever.
I never trim blocks unless the block is a string blocks and HAVE to be trimmed. My philosophy: Why trim? Any excess will be hidden in the seam…any shortfall will too. For me, trimming is a waste of time. Besides, when it comes to quilting, fudge is my middle name. I ALWAYS fudge seams.
2-I rarely pin. Most of my seams nest so there isn’t a need as far as I’m concerned. Even when attaching a border, I put about 6 pins in the entire seam. Seams slightly off don’t really bother me either. I don’t love them but I don’t make huge efforts to perfect them. Most of them time they aren’t even noticed after the quilting is done.
3-I don’t lay quilt blocks out on the floor or a design wall to made sure they look good and the color is distributed…..EVER-EVER. However the blocks land is perfectly fine with me. If two pink blocks touch….so be it.
4-I don’t EVER work on one project at a time. The more the merrier. For me and my style of sewing this works best. If I am SQUEEZING out quilting time, I almost have to have projects in various states to make sure I have a project I can always work on. For example last night I needed to bind a MONSTER quilt….problem, I only had 20 minutes to sew. I grabbed a piecing project instead….for that, my UFO got 20 minutes closer to being finished.
5-I don’t ever limit or feel guilty for the number of UFOs I have. I love each and every one of my UFOs (unfinished projects). I want to make and finish each of them and know I will someday, if I don’t die first. This is my method of completing as much as I do.
6-I don’t get up and iron all the time. I usually make an entire block before I get up and press it (unless the block includes a triangle-those I iron). You can bet ladies that quilted before electricity and had to heat irons on the stove weren’t running back and forth from the machine to the ironing board all the time. I iron finished block and iron again after the center of a quilt is finished…besides that, I rarely touch an iron. With string blocks, I typically only finger press. (This drives Kelli nuts)
7-I will not sew methodically. As I said Kelli sews every quilt block at the same time. I sew three blocks…then 10 blocks…then 7 blocks…whatever the mood and time calls for. A couple weeks ago she was here and I was sewing string blocks. She said how can you do that…I said do what? She told me if she had a pattern that called for 50 string blocks, she would feed all fifty through the machine before she added another strip. Then iron every block. NOT ME!! PLEASE not ever, ever, ever. I would hate sewing like that.
8-I will always grab the 15 minutes and sew. I will never say, “I only have 15 minutes to sew so why bother with sewing.
9-I will always sew with fabric and patterns that speak to me for whatever reason. Yes I will make quilts with recycled men’s shirt. I will back a quilt with a sheet. I will sew patterns by whatever designers I want…If only one or two designers call to me…that’s all okay!
10-I will never have a a clean organized sewing room that is photo worthy. I like scrappy..I like strings…I like to sew. I hate to clean. That equals a sewing room that isn’t photo worthy.
11-I will buy some but not every sewing gadget. I have a rotary cutter and mat along with a couple specialty rulers but that’s about all I need.
12-I will not hand bind. I will not pin down my binding as I flip it to the back and I will not iron my binding in half. (I know a bunch of you just cringed)
That’s it….”I will do anything to sew..but I won’t do that (the things listed above)!!”
I’m sure each and every one of you have your own list. Many of yours would have a list that reads completely opposite of mine. That’s entirely okay. Happily there are many ways for a quilt to get made…MANY.
This is all one of the reasons that at times, I feel uncomfortable being a teacher of quilting. I am not a perfectionist. I don’t know how to make the perfect quilt. I have no desire to make a perfect quilt. WOW, that would be stressful if my standard was perfection. One time Kelli and I attended a class and there was a lady in the class who was very upset. She stopped an monopolized the teacher’s time telling that she had tried and tried and remeasured her block but she was sure her block was 1/8″ off. Kelli and I looked at each other and smiled. We each had a few blocks were that were too….we didn’t care. We fudge everything!!! We hide all of that in the seam. We wouldn’t dream of being concerned about 1/8″.
So if you ever come to a class with Kelli and I as teachers. We won’t be teaching the art of perfection…we teach the art of fudge. We each have things that fall in the “I will do anything to sew..but I won’t do that!!” category and happily through our sewing time together we realize that each and every one of us has our own lists and methods. All of that is okay. We know that with quilting there is not a one “right path” method. What’s not okay is making quilting a chore…holding your work to such a high standard that you don’t enjoy the process or demanding others to be your standard. On the opposite, you can’t be so lax that your block is not “fudge-able”.
Here’s Meatloaf singing his “Anything for Love” song….
So what won’t you do? I’d love to hear your responses!
P.S. Yep..I am and always have been a Meatloaf fan!..and please forgive my silliness of this post.