It never occurred to me that quilting wasn’t an activity to familiarize yourself with a sewing machine, but an actual art, until I was sewing squares together. Chris donated some old shirts for my project, and I cut them up, and decided they coordinated, and that was all that was needed. Oh, not so. I started to suspect that I was in well over my head at some point, but half way through it was apparent I had drowned at step one.
The fabric patterns I was working with were a bit adventurous. Stripes (bold stripes!), checkers, plaid, and smaller stripes, are not a beginner quilter’s best friend, nor are they a beginner sewer’s best friend. When I laid out my squares the pattern actually hurt my eyes. I had to squint at it to see what I had done so wrong, and even then I wanted to back away in horror. All those stripes were pointing in different directions, I had no idea how to arrange the triangles to make it look good, and I had thought of none of this before I had joined them all. What came about was all that I could salvage. Hoping that I would at least have a functioning blanket, if not something that was pleasant to look at, I carried on.
It turned out less ugly than I had comes to terms with (although when previewing this post, my eyes again began to search for a place to rest and came up short), but more of a hack job than I wanted too. It’s actually not a rectangle, but a trapezoid. Chris likened it to having a friend install your new bathroom, rather than paying for a plumber. It’s definitely one of those, and I wondered if people who learn by hacking ever learn how to do things correctly. Or if they do, how long does that take?
At the same time I was sewing this together I was reading the Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin. It’s a good book that got me thinking about how I cultivate my own happiness, and what I could do better. I do believe that happiness is a conscious choice, and I really liked the science she brought to her daily resolutions. I was at the part in the book that mentioned “True Rules”, which are the rules we come to live by through our own experience. They may not be really true, but they are true to ourselves. I had been reflecting on some of the things I tell myself, and others, and I started to notice how much I approach these kind of tasks like my Grandmother would. She would say things something like this: “Everything is learnable. Just find someone who can help you, but if they’re unavailable you’ll probably be able to figure it out on your own.” “It’s easy, just nail it together.” “We don’t need to wait around for someone else to tell us what to do.” I half applaud myself for diving in, and also realize that patience really is a virtue, and one that would save me some time in the long run. I think a simple striped, or colour blocked blanket might be a better jumping off point. I’ll be watching many more YouTube videos about how to sew before I try this again, but thank you Gramma, I still like doing it your way most of the time.
I am a little less afraid of the sewing machine, and next time I’ll work with a pattern too. I still have the quilting part to do, which I’ll keep simple and use some purple embroidery thread to pin the flannel down with.
Pros: Knitting a baby blanket would take a few weeks working within my spare time, but sewing a blanket came together in a few hours of dedicated machine work. I can see how becoming a better sewer might allow for quicker crafting satisfaction.
Cons: A noisy machine with women-like qualities to appease, along with the entire entourage of sewing equipment seemed so high maintenance. I can knit with two sticks but this project occupied my whole desk, and a good part of our living room with it’s fabric, cutting, stashes of thread, and large work surface area. I was glad to put all that mess away.
My Mad Men labels are turning out to be a crazy amount of fun. I’ve been using Paper, an app for drawing on my iPad, and I just purchased Photoshop Touch for iPad yesterday. I really love drawing, so I’m also going to get myself a fancy stylus as well. If you have a recommendation I’d love to hear about it. I haven’t been doing much drawing since I stopped going to Life Drawing at Basic Inquiry in Vancouver. I pulled out some of my sketches and Chris and I ended up framing one for our bedroom. I’ll have to find a life drawing group here in Montreal.
I hope your eyes survived the pictures. Thank you for coming back to see what I am up to!