Saturday, March 13, 2010

Lessons learned from making a traditional quilt ....

.... and no, this isn’t a post about how to match your points!


I’ve been making a small quilt as a gift for a friend who likes traditional quilts. I had to find a pattern and follow it, but in doing so I’ve learned something about the way I normally work.


With a pattern to follow I’ve been able to set myself targets e.g.” I’ll make 64 half square triangles” or “I’ll cut the border strips”, depending on where in the process I am. Once I’d reached my target (or caved in out of boredom) and was  ready for a break, I’d know what the next stage would be and got things ready for when I came back to the quilt – more cutting or a change of thread or a set of blocks to piece. Whatever that stage was I set things up so that when I went to back to the quilt everything was ready for me to make great leaps forward. Initially I felt that I had to set things up like this to get through the repetitious nature of making the quilt but it proved to be a great lesson.


Many lifetimes ago when I designed and made knitwear I never left my machine without setting it up for the next stage but I have never transferred this discipline to my sewing.  Once I had moved away from traditional quilt making I always went through the process of thinking/designing the next step then going to the machine to stitch what was needed before stopping to think about the next step. And that thinking (You might call it prevarication!) could take so long that the whole process could stall. So if I turn these two stages round and stitch then plan, before finishing a session in my sewing room, will I work faster? I have no idea what the answer will be but my lack of pace so frustrates me that I’m willing to give it a try.

Interestingly well established quilter Kathleen Loomis, relatively new to blogging,  has recently given the subject of what stops us moving on with our work an airing -




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