Monday, December 13, 2010
The Unorthodox Quilter... or I should come with a WARNING, do not read before you sleep.
Hi! I'm Nan from Pots and Pins - back for another fun-filled romp at Stash Manicure...and I'm tickled to be here and hopefully this won’t be my last post but what I’m about to tell you will fly in the face of any and all Quilting Wisdom you have…so, having said that, I'll head straight down my gang-plank...Today I want to talk to you about being an Unorthodox Quilter. Those words describe me, do they describe you, too? Oh I HOPE so!
FOUR YEARS OLDER from the time I started it until it was finished!
Now tell me, who among you has FOUR YEARS to spend on ONE quilt?!?! There are just too many quilts to make to spend FOUR YEARS on one quilt! So I had to adapt...I had to abandon those time-honored traditions so I could make baby quilts and bed quilts and wedding quilts and "sorry quilts"...oh please, tell me you've made one of those?!?! Nothing smooths over an offended friend faster than a quilt! And once you make and give one “sorry quilt,” all of your friends will be begging you to call them idiots!
Here's why I’m an Unorthodox Quilter - my top five NEW time-honored traditions/time savers are listed below...YOU are not required to do these things, you may continue to squander away precious hours and hours if you chose, all I'm saying is, I STILL have too many quilts to make and to me, the end result, the finished quilt, is the most important thing:
1. I do not pre-wash my fabric. Not even reds. Years ago most fabric had to be washed - even good fabric bled! But now, if you buy good fabric, you won't have a problem and even if you do, the color removers you can purchase at any grocery store will fix it. I live with a caveman and a boy who I swear, their only purpose on Earth is to provide me with dirty laundry so the last thing I want to do is spend more time in the laundry room!
2. I do not pin. There I said it. I feel free. Liberated. Pinless is painless - feel free to quote me. When I piece, I do not pin. When I sew on borders or binding, I do not pin. Oh okay, maybe ONE pin, like in the center of the binding, but that's it! I do have a nice supply of straight pins that I seem to drop on the floor about once a year, and that's about the only time they are used. When I think about the other times where I have used more than one pin at a time I’m either squeezing myself into a shirt that my dryer has shrunk (do you have that problem too?) or when I layer a quilt together I will use safety pins - I'm not totally nuts! But even then I use as few pins as possible.
3. I do not iron/press. Oh yeah...I'm iron-free and loving it! Seriously, I watch my quilting friends sew two-inch squares together, then stop and reach for their irons where they then press the living daylights out of the poor fabric! With each little seam they stop and press...press, press, press...and while they're pressing I'm sewing...sewing, sewing, sewing...and by the time they've sewed and pressed a half-dozen 9-patch blocks I have completed a quilt top! No lie! Okay, maybe that's a little exaggeration but here's my thinking:
a. The back of the quilt does not need to look like the front. Once that quilt is quilted the back will NEVER be seen, so what does it matter if everything is pressed in the right direction?!? I can hear some of you screaming, “If you don’t press and press correctly then you’ll have lumps in your quilt from where the points match!” Who has ever NOT eaten gravy because it had lumps?! It’s the same with a quilt…would you refuse to wrap yourself up in one because of a little lump? I think not. I also think lumps are highly over-rated…and as someone over 50, I say that with pride…show me anyone over the age of 50 without a few lumps and I’ll show you a good plastic surgeon! But I digress…if you’re talking museum-quality quilts then by all means, press and go for lump-free…but I won’t live long enough to ever acquire the skills to put me in that league!
b. Unless you're making a quilt that you have NO intention of washing, drying, and bringing to life, then what's the point of ironing? All that pressing gets washed and dried right out in the end...leaving you with a beautiful, crinkly-soft quilt...just like you would have if you NEVER pressed in the first place! I will put my non-pressed-crinkly-soft quilts up against ones that have been pressed to smithereens any time, anywhere...you will NOT be able to tell the difference! But my quilts will have been made in HALF the time!
4. I do not make labels for my quilts. In the past I did make labels and hand-stitched them onto the backs of my quilts. I spent a lot of time on these labels...time I could have used to shop for more fabric! And then I saw the light. Now I either sign and date my quilts with a permanent-ink pen, on the back of the quilt near the binding or what I really like to do is quilt my "label" into the quilt itself! It's hidden in plain sight! I quilt in messages that only the recipient of the quilt knows about - it's fun for me and fun for them! And really, if Picasso didn't have to paint a separate little painting to attach to the back of his masterpiece, why should I?
5. If I'm going to hang a quilt on a wall, I staple it. You read me right...staple it! A staple is no bigger than a pin - and it goes straight into the wall, it does not bend like it does on paper. Removing the quilt from the wall takes just a gentle pull - no harm done. The quilt will hang flat against the wall, making it less likely to be damaged than those that hang apart from the wall on quilt hangers, especially if in a high-traffic area, like an entry hall. And by stapling my quilts to the wall I do not have to spend time sewing on a sleeve…which I truly believe are meant to only be on shirts, sweaters and coats and worn by women over the age of 50…but that’s just me. Oh, I’m not talking about using a staple-gun, just a regular desk type stapler…trust me, your quilt will look beautiful without any fussy hardware to detract from its beauty!
There you have it, my friends, that is the definition of an unorthodox quilter! I’m not ashamed to admit it and there's not a 12-step program anywhere that can convince me I'm wrong…I’m a quilter who takes short-cuts so I’ll have time to quilt another quilt…how ‘bout you? If YOU have any short-cuts that you think I need to adopt, please let me know...the clock is ticking!
I wish you all a Merry Little Christmas…a Christmas wrapped in a quilt with or without lumps! Come visit me at Pots and Pins, that’s where I hang my thimble and spatula…it keeps me out of trouble... most days! And to Dear Madame Samm, I remain, as always, your humble servant!