Sunday, May 6, 2012

When is Enough Enough

I have followed some wonderful blogs of late and I still am inspired by the skills and the knowledge of these bloggers and their craft. I really envy many in the fact that I wish I had half the skills they have. I guess I will admit I have some skills but some days only enough to get me into more trouble. My biggest fear after all the work I put into a quilt will I like it when done.
I try and learn from my mistakes and yet I hear of these fantastic quilters that they have to rip out and say well that didn't work out as well as I had hope. The icing that is on the cake is when your fears are overcome and the outcome is better than you first thought. When is enough enough? Sounds funny, but my thought on the subject is this. Enough is when you are happy with the outcome.
I love to see all the machine and hand quilting that goes into a finished quilt. I admire the hours and hours of work that is accomplished. I am aware of these hours because I am a quilter. A lay person has no idea how long it takes to make a top let alone quilt it. As you well know it takes longer than a couple hours to make a quilt.

One of the things I try and figure out is the type of usage a quilt is going to have. Bed quilt, Wall hanging or a piece of art work that will never get used. Most of my quilts will get used and wear out at some point.

The bed size quilts should have a fair amount of drape. They will have to cover the bed and be a nice soft drape or feel to them. So many times the batting and the amount of quilting play a big role in the overall feel of a quilt. I read were several quilters will use two batts. And the outcome is beautiful, but is this right for your application.

Back to the drape and the batting. Is the closeness off the stitching enough to capture the right amount of quilting needed for the purpose you have intended the quilt for. Stippling and outline stitching can hold a quilt together, but does it give the overall effect you want for your quilts. I love feathers and yet can we over do the amount of feathers that are used on a quilt. I know this is a statement of a quilters taste in the finished product. Glad to say we don't all feel the need to copy each other in the density of the quilting and the type of quilting we do.

Skills are another factor. I use to think only LA quilters had the skills. Well am I so wrong on this front. Hand quilters are far superior of quilters because they have the skills in their little hands and fingers. Rocking the needle in and out of the sandwich quilt is a skill that many of use admire. The other skill they have is patience. The time element is great and yet we complain about it taking so much time to finish a quilt. As my husband says all good things take time.

Machine quilters are the most inventive. They had to learn to wrestle with a quilt even with a treadle machine. They learned it would go faster than a hand quilter, but it wasn't always easier. Then came the skills of making the quilt look like an artist had drawn lines and we followed them. Up and down sideways and back. The skills were life like and pretty, but did it work? Yes it held the quilt together and looked pleasing to look at. It wasn't just straight stitching it was floral and scroll work that only a hand quilter could accomplish. The machine quilted moved on to the next level and made a new and inviting thing to do. With machine quilting we could get more than one quilt done in a year as hand piecing and hand quilting maybe would only allow us to do.

Then the skills of the LA quilter has taken us to the highest level so far. We see quilt shows just for LA quilters. We see two quilters getting awards. The piecer and the LA quilter taking home prizes for the collaboration on a master piece. Is there a height or level we will achieve and have to reinvent our craft? Who knows. We can now print our own fabrics we can fuse out applique shapes, we can envision the quilt on the computer before we tackle the chore of cutting also add the fabrics to make it look like the finished quilt before we start. What happened to the pins and scissors and newspaper templates?

I don't think there is ever enough that a quilter can do to make this industry come to it's end. Is there enough. We still look eagerly to the net to see if there is a new technique and new skills we need to accomplish to make our sewing time less stressful and that way we can produce more innovative skills than ever before. Who would have ever though an embroidery machine could do fancy machine quilting for you. Set it up and walk away until the area is quilted.

Is some of the joy of taking your time and working through the process being taken away because we don't do it all by hand. Or our life styles pushing us to use updated skills to make the pretty things all women and men want in their lives. Is enough enough? I think not. We have only brushed the tip of the iceberg and we will invent and climb the highest mountain to achieve the best skills we can. Is there an end. NO! Because we are redoing things are Mother's and Grandmother's did before us, but in a new method and time. Now off to invent and do your own things. Chris

1 comment:

Katie M. said...

Loved this post, Chris. I am not a hand quilter - piecer or quilter. I hand quilted a placemat once - truly it took me 2 years to complete because I simply didn't have the patience to stick with it. Now I see quilts being hand quilted the "modern way" with 1/4" stitches. I will admit to not liking some things I see, but I do appreciate all the work and creativity that any individual has put into their work.
My late neighbor gave me a beautiful hand quilting frame when she was in her later stages of cancer, I also have my grandmother's treadle machine and my dream is to sew a quilt on the treadle and quilt it on the hand frame.... it may only be a table topper, but.....
Again, I really liked this post this morning.