Sunday, March 27, 2011

Both Sides Now

I'm not sure I ever got back to it in yesterday's post and made the point, but I'm not a Turning Twenty snob anymore. Heck, I've even made one! Granted, it was one I'd finished on behalf of a friend who had passed away, but still, I made one, and I was kind of surprised that it wasn't quite as simple as I'd supposed. But then nothing ever is, is it? I think you just have to try things out to see what they're really like before deciding whether they're for you or not.

There was a time when I was secretly (or maybe not so secretly) snobbish about the quilting part of making a quilt. I tended to think less of those who sent their quilts out to be quilted by someone else. After all, to me that was part of the whole process, and having someone else finish my project--well, that didn't seem right. I also knew, though, that there were quilters out there who believed a quilt wasn't really of much value if the quilting wasn't done by hand. Eventually, after meeting and talking with more quilters and learning along the way, I came to realize that quilting means something different to each of us. Some people send their quilts out to be "finished" because they just don't enjoy that part of the process or, for whatever reason, they aren't able to quilt their own projects themselves. And I've come to realize it really doesn't matter, does it?

Someone commented yesterday something about knowing their own limitations. Part of me wanted to scream, "No! You HAVE no limitations! Push the boundaries! Try more!" But then the other part of me reasoned that perhaps this person quilts for relaxation and enjoyment, and the idea of working outside the box is stressful. What value then is there in pushing the boundaries? And then again, the use of the work "limitations," may not have even been meant as I interpreted it. But in any event, we all do what it is in our nature to do, eventually.

I read something on one blog this week that encouraged us bloggers to talk more about the PROCESS of quilting and less about the results. Interesting. Hard, but interesting. I was lolling around in the bathtub a short while ago, and when I got tired of picking lint out of my navel, I started thinking about how to blog the PROCESS. It's a little like explaining the PROCESS of deciding what to make for dinner. It's an intricate series of considerations of various elements.

What's in the refrigerator? What can I make with what's in the refrigerator? Would I need to stop at the grocery store? Do I have the energy? Then there are the compromises and calculations to be considered. Elements that need to be factored into the equation are hunger, time, and effort. Should I spend an hour making a really stunning gourmet meal, or should I throw some Kraft mac and cheese on the stove top while I change clothes, tidy up around the house, shovel down dinner, and run into the Sweat Shop?

I think talking about the PROCESS of quilting is a really good idea and I'll try to give it a shot. I'll try to remember to talk about why I make certain design or color choices. I'll tell you what problems I run into along the way and what mistakes I make in my decisions or in the actual construction of blocks. Much of the process, though, is about personal choice, and you might get tired of hearing about what I chose and why, but maybe you'll get something from it. Or maybe I'll get bored. Or maybe by tomorrow I'll have forgotten I was going to try to talk occasionally about the quilt making PROCESS anyway. But know this: my attempts to explain MY process don't mean that I think mine is the only way to do things. There's no wrong in quilting--only what each of us feels isn't right for ourselves.


Synthia said...

Your last sentence really sums it up. What others do and how they do it is very interesting and I love to know about all that. BUT, there are no quilt police, are there?

Donna said...

I enjoy reading your blog. I find your perspective on things refreshing. I'm not into applique (though I am thinking about doing some hexagons!) and large projects. I mainly stick to the small stuff. That's the skill and time level I am at right now. But reading blogs like yours give me the inspiration and dare I say courage to try new things (like the hexagons!) and challenges me to get out there and actually do something. Thanks!

dianne said...

it's quilts' illusions i recall ... i really don't know quilts at all

Kim said...

I have been a quilting snob in that I always felt that a machine stitched quilt wasn't really quilting, although I rarely said that to anyone. I have certainly changed my thinking over the years and almost everything I do is machine quilted. I enjoy your blog and many others whether it's complicated projects or quick and easy. I like the variety. And if there's something I don't like I just move to another page. Thank you for sharing.

debbie said...

I really enjoy reading your blog, and hearing your opinions. I also read your blog for your great sense of humor, the way you use words, and the honesty of your quilting journey. I'll be looking forward to the times you post your processes and thought on how you do what you do.
My Grandma was mostly a topper. When she passed away we found several quilts in her cedar chest. There was one for each of her granddaughters, with a tiny slip of paper attached with a straight pin, with our name on it in her handwriting. I say quilt, but they were actually all tops. Each of her daughters, my mom and her two sisters, hand quilted those tops before giving them to their daughters. That made them all double generation works of love. Unfinished projects are our inheritance to the next generation. The boost for them to start quilting. It worked for my grandmother and is a factor in why I make quilts...mostly I do a little hand quilting (and love it!) but most of my quilts are machine quilted, some by me some sent out to local quilters.

Paula said...

It can be very disheartening to blog about quilting when you compare yourself to everyone out there.

I slowly plod away, and don't turn out any where near the quilts some quilters make. But does that make me less of a quilter? I think not.

Thanks for reminding me that I need to be who I am in the quilting world.

AnnieO said...

I love to see how other people's brains work! With your quilting, I would love to see more of the process of how you DO your free motion quilting, since you seem very fearless about it!