Home

Monday, May 23, 2011

The Aging Process...

Hi Gang!  Thanks to Madame Samm for allowing me to once again "bend your ear" - I'm Nan from Pots and Pins - and I'm here to discuss the "Aging Process."  Let me begin by saying I'm a HUGE fan of aging...oh, not for me personally, Heaven's no!  I'm going to go down that slippery slope kicking and screaming!  I'm talking about the aging process as it applies to quilting.


I loved this quilt so much I wanted one just like it out of blue and white fabrics - or so I thought!
I know many of you, when it comes to quilting, do not believe in an aging process...you purchase fabric (or shockingly(!) take it from your stash) and after a few moments of deliberation you begin to cut, then sew, and within a couple of hours, okay, maybe a day, you have a finished quilt proudly on display.  This post is NOT for you people.  You people need more help than I could possibly offer!  (Secretly I hope to one day be one of you but that won't happen until my next life, I'm sure!)
These white and blue triangles sat in this basket for more than TWO years...aging to perfection!

The Quilting Aging Process (QAP) is a sloooooooow process.  It knows not the meaning of the words seconds, minutes or hours.  It vaguely recognizes the word days, and only if used in the plural sense, and prefers to deal in weeks, months or, to keep true to itself...years

Some of you have just given me an imaginary high-five!  I'm here for you!!!  I SO believe in a year-long aging process for a quilt - beginning to end.  I have several pieces that are already well into the QAP ... and it's not wise to disrupt any project before it's time (this is a universal principal and applies to many things, like wine and soup..."We will sell no wine before it's time!"  or "Is it soup yet?" and I'm sure there are more examples I could cite but I'm doing my best to keep this short...hahahaha).  At the risk of having a bit of guilt seep into my conscience that will send me reeling towards a finish line, I am going to show you one of my projects that is aging quite nicely.  But first, let me tell you about the QAP:
I began to sew them with one quilt in mind and ended up in a total different direction!

Quilting Aging Process - Step by Step

1.  Collecting/gathering/harvesting of fabrics.  Let's say you want to make a red and white pinwheel quilt, like the one pictured above - it's a beauty, is it not?  Well, the picking of fabric for any quilt takes time - usually several trips to the shops, with several pit stops along the way for beverage and food...one cannot pick fabric properly on an empty stomach...feel free to quote me.  And if you plan to make full use of the QAP then you should plan on 2 to 3 months to pick fabrics.  Months during which you will think about those fabrics, the ones you have on hand, the ones you purchase and the one you still need to get...time to think, lots of time. 

2.  Petting and admiring of fabric.  Once fabric selection is complete, it's time to let the fabrics adjust to their new home...petting, stroking and fondling is advised - ahem, remember we're talking about FABRIC here!  Fabric must be kept in a prominent place so it is seen on a daily basis, so you can think about how you're going to use it...think about that pinwheel quilt you decided was the one.  This step usually takes anywhere from 3 to 4 months, if done properly.  But let's say, after thinking about your red fabrics for 3 or 4 months  you decide you want a blue quilt?  Well, no harm done...those red fabrics can continue to age as you repeat step one, with blue on the brain!  Luckily you have TIME on your side! 

3.  Cutting of the fabric.  Once a final decision has been made (about color) about how this fabric is going to be used, it's time to actually cut the fabric.  You decide on the size of block and the size of the squares for the pinwheels...remember..measure 4 times, cut once...that's my rule.  You cut your fabric into precise little triangles and then it's time to let them steep just a bit on the cutting table...at least a week...and when the time is right, you're about to proceed to step 4 when out of the blue, like a thunderbolt to your bobbin, you decide against a pinwheel quilt!  Sheesh!  Good thing you didn't rush into anything!!  And this my friends, is the reason the QAP is SO important...you have the freedom to change your mind at any time during this process!

Wow - I really should have pressed this!  But then, you know how I feel about ironing!
4.  Sewing of the fabric.  Okay, so the red pinwheel is out, along with the blue pinwheel and now you've decided to use all of those blue and white triangles in another manner...but best to let them sit in a basket for at least 2 YEARS before finalizing that decision!  Think A-G-I-N-G,  like a smelly French cheese!  When it's time, and you'll know when it's time, dust off your machine and put the pedal to the metal! Sew those blue and white triangles together, after 2 1/2 years you've got a clue as to what you're going to make!

5.  Assembling the quilt top.   Block by block, row by row, and finally your quilt top is pieced together!  You can now sit back and relax...for at least 3 months...during which time you'll search high and low for the perfect backing (buying backing and binding at the same time as you buy the quilt top fabric is SO cliche!)  Looking for backing fabric can take up to 3 months all by itself...think how many face-lifts Joan Rivers had before she was patched/pieced into her new self!

My flimsy with the backing, folded into a "panini" and ready to age just a bit more!
6.  Making the quilt sandwich.  It's all about the sandwich folks - and I like to think my quilt sandwiches are paninis...after they are made they are stacked up with other quilt paninis and their backing, to rest...so their juices can reabsorb, so to speak.  6 months at least!

The blue and white quit, even though it's been in the works for more than 3 years, is at the bottom of the "to quilt" pile...there are 6 projects in front of it!  Yikes!  I might have to speed things up a bit!
7.  Binding.  The end is in sight...why hurry now?  This quilt is one you have known for three years, you've seen it daily, petted it, talked to it, possibly even sworn at it...so now, now that it's about to leave the nest, just coddle it.  Take each stitch with love - soon you'll take your last stitch (2 weeks, give or take) and it will be time to put a label on and give it away...or fold it up over a chair or the foot of a bed...where it won't be petted, talked to or sworn at only occasionally...empty nest syndrome - it's not for sissies.

8.  Quilt in order.  As in the order the tops were made...if you quilt a quilt out of order, like say you opted to quilt the blue and white quilt before the pink circle quilt, which has been aging for at least 4 years, well, you would only be tempting the Quilting Gods to reign down some plaque upon you...that's what I've heard and really, why risk it?!  So your quilt panini sits in a stack for a few years, who's ever going to know?!?


There's nothing like a perfectly aged quilt!  Unless the quilter herself is perfectly aged as well!!
That's the Quilting Aging Process in a nutshell.  I hope I've swayed a few into trying it...it takes all the stress out of quilting...and since you don't have to rush back to your sewing machine, take a minute or so and come visit me at Pots and Pins - I've always got something good cooked up for you - maybe even a real panini!

Thanks Samm!  xoxo, Your Humble Servant, Nan


33 comments:

  1. What fun, Nan! Thank you for sharing ... now I know there's an actual name for the process happening all over my sewing room :)

    ReplyDelete
  2. Ahhh, you are a quilter after my own heart! I have so many patterns with dedicated fabric in containers that I really don't have much "free fabric" to play around with...I am always afraid to delve into the containers for fear I will find something there that I can use NOW, and not have it when I am ready to sew LATER....
    They are ALL aging, you see.....

    ReplyDelete
  3. Nan, you are the best. I have but a wee 2 flimsy paninis waiting for me, but the guilt has been awful! Now I feel a lot better and know how to do things properly going forward. :)

    ReplyDelete
  4. Well, some tend to think I am the speed 'McQueen' of quilts, but I too confess to the 'aging'. Oh, many go lickity split from start to finish - cuz' it feels right, but there are others waiting on the perfect fabric, perfect thread, perfect pattern, and they do get their turn to be petted as I re-fold fabric to prevent wrinkles and 'fold-lines' - and maybe new inspiration. What a delightful post and thank you for being with us again.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Oh dear, I've just broken rule 8 (I keep all the others even without Nan's instructions) but I just started and finished sister-in-law's quilt without letting it age properly. Particularly worry as it is wine themed, will the fabrics turn to vinegar?

    Thanks for a great post Nan :-)

    ReplyDelete
  6. Exactly! You put my philosophy into words. Except for the part where I acquire a new bit of fabric, come home and immediately cut and sew. I know it's an aberration -- maybe I shouldn't even talk about it.

    ReplyDelete
  7. I was trying to explain the marinating/aging process to a non-quilter the other day. YOU did a great job!

    ReplyDelete
  8. I love panini's - LoL - and now have to spent a lot of money trying to get them quilted this year. Wonderful post and thanks for putting it all in the proper perspective. Judy C

    ReplyDelete
  9. What say you my dearest Nan, gosh another morning of sipping my coffee with a smile. YOU know how to bring them out no doubt about it. Aging process, this post is certainly not for me. YOU try I know you do, but you cannot enable me. I still only do one project at a time, ( gosh I am dull) but I would entertain the thought if I could have your humor albeit I will need an iron...lol. Thanks for the chuckles....xxx ( ps. you are no servant to me....it is I who bows to you)

    ReplyDelete
  10. What a great post! It made me laugh! It's good to know I'm not alone in letting my quilts "rest" for a while in between steps in the process of creating them. :)

    ReplyDelete
  11. Nan, always a pleasure to read your posts, whether here or at your blog. I laughed so much - I am a kindred spirit with you on this aging process. Definitely believe in it! One of mine sat for twenty years before the time was "right"...aged to perfection, as they say! Now my son and his bride cherish it, and I have visiting rights! LOL
    Jacque in SC
    quiltnsrep(at)yahoo(dot)com

    ReplyDelete
  12. You are hilarious! I loved reading this and it made me feel so much better about all my WIP (I think I'll call them WAPs from now on - Works Aging Peacefully!)
    Thank you!

    ReplyDelete
  13. Nan- It's always fun to see you over here on Stash Manicure. You sure have explained why I've been letting my fabrics sit for so many years. Who knew they needed aging?!

    ReplyDelete
  14. I'm still laughing! Now my pristine fabric collection has a higher calling. Leave it to you to use a food reference - I'll never look at a panini quite the same way again. Thanks Nan for starting Monday on a high note.

    ReplyDelete
  15. This is just too funny but oh so true! Thanks for educating me on the finer points of the quilting process!!

    PS - all your quilts look great!

    ReplyDelete
  16. What a fun read. I loved this post.

    ReplyDelete
  17. Buy fabric for a specific quilt, take it home and cut it out, NOT me. I have lots of aged fabric, patently waiting for the right project.

    ReplyDelete
  18. Oh you gals are just the best! Benta asking if her "wine quilt," which did not age properly, will turn to vinegar?!? That made my morning mocktail shoot out my nose! And Samm...still one project at a time?!?! I can see here my work is STILL not done...I've got to convince you - one day...one day! xo, Nan

    ReplyDelete
  19. All I've got to say is it's good thing that aged fabric doesn't spoil when stored correctly! Loved your post, Nan!!

    ReplyDelete
  20. So nice to know I'm not alone!

    ReplyDelete
  21. Right now, I have 10 flimsies aging very nicely on top of a trunk in my bedroom. I look at them everyday to see if they are ready yet. So far - no. I don't think anyone should rush into anything to quickly.

    ReplyDelete
  22. I like your thinking and I am sure my mom will too, so I am forwarding this on to her :)

    ReplyDelete
  23. Nan, I adore your humor. Your recipes are wonderful too!! I'm working on pinwheels at the moment and I find the red pinwheel quilt inspiring to look at.

    ReplyDelete
  24. Oh, THANK YOU for such a validating blogpost! I know I am not the only one who works this way, but it is sooo nice to see the process all laid out...

    ReplyDelete
  25. Thank you bunches for an explanation I've been needing for the husband. His woodworking aging is in another room which I rarely walk in, so I never comment on it. He sees my QAP every day and tends to make comments about how much I have to do. Makes me feel guilty. Now I have the answer and will be guilt free forever! I've been QAP all this time!
    mimi

    ReplyDelete
  26. Oh Dear Nan, you certainly know how to put a smile on my face!! You really should take your "show" on the road, so to speak! Your sense of humor is simply off the chart!! AAAHHH, the aging process, now I have a genuine REASON for allowing my Projects to "sit and soak" ...and I thought it was just me all this time. I actually have partners in crime and I"m thrilled to know I can find all of you hanging around Sew We Quilt!!
    Blessings
    Gmama Jane

    ReplyDelete
  27. Gosh, that is how I roll, I did not know it had a name or that others also worked that way!! Thanks Nan!

    ReplyDelete
  28. I absolutely love this! I'm going to be laughing for days!

    ReplyDelete
  29. Nice to see that I am sew not alone. I swear you snuck into my quilting room to create this post. Thanks for taking the guilt out of my quilting process. Please tell me that a baby quilt is allowed to jump to the top of the pile-I have 2 on the go, and they cannot wait.

    ReplyDelete
  30. I just love reading your posts! They always make me laugh and this is one is no exception. It's so nice to know there are others of you out there that believe in the importance of the aging process!

    ReplyDelete
  31. oh my . . . speak to me, dahling! a quilter after my own heart!! i like your terminology much much better than a mere WIP . . . there is PURPOSE in QAP!!!! thanks!
    Cindy in Mississippi

    ReplyDelete
  32. So THAT'S what it's called! Glad to know I'm in good company. :-)

    ReplyDelete

You think they are just words...they are sew much more than that...your wee messages tell me, you are kind, smart and important...