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Showing posts with label quilts. Show all posts
Showing posts with label quilts. Show all posts

Friday, June 13, 2014

Pre cut fabric is not for me

purple quilt blocks
Layer cakes, charm packs, jelly rolls, honey buns, ... With the exception of a fat quarter here or there, I have never used pre-cut fabrics. I probably never will.

While pre-cuts offer fabric designers to mix and match their lines of fabric, guaranteeing a great look to a finished quilt, I really don't care to make a 'designer' quilt. I make quilts out of fabric I like in colors that I want. When the designer fabric goes on sale, that is when I will buy it, but only if I like it. I really pay little attention to who designs what, although I am particularly fond of Michael Miller fabrics. I generally will look for them when they go on sale. So much of my taste is reflected in them.

Although I have never done the math, I can only assume the cost of buying pre-cut fabric has to be much higher than buying fabric by the yard. It would have to be more costly when someone else does the work for us. 

The work is one of the the most important parts; it is what draws me to quilting. The notion that someone else may pick out the fabric, match the colors and patterns, and cut it all into precisely cut squares or strips leaves me cold. I love those things. 

The first thrill in a quilting project is to determine the fabric to use. Colors and their value are so important; I want control of that decision. I continue to learn about colors and their relationships, as well as what values of color to use, and what pattern provides the look I want in the finished piece. I admit, I am often surprised, but I chalk that up to my relative inexperience. I love the learning process. 

It took me a long time to perfect my cutting ability. I don't want to give that up now that I've gotten pretty good at it. One of the most important parts of piecing a quilt is the precision. Just like the sewing a uniform 1/4-inch seam, the cutting is so important. Besides, I love the feel of fabric yardage. There is always a feeling of dread at cutting a new piece, but that is outweighed by the desire to create something new out of it. 

There is no better feeling that filling the cutting board with stacks of squares, triangles, strips, or whatever is needed, all cut and ready to sew into a new quilting project. 
 
I still consider myself a novice, but I'm trying, and always, still learning. I cannot imagine going for a shortcut on the cutting or the fabric selection for a new quilt. 

Along that same line, I cannot imagine shipping a quilt top off to a quilter to be completed by someone else. Granted, some of the professional long arm quilters do beautiful work, but I love the quilting process--whether it be by hand or machine--there is  no way I would give that up. How could I be a quilter and not do the quilting? 

I guess the bottom line for me is that I love every aspect of the quilting process, from the decision-making to all the 'work' that goes into a finished quilting project. Quilting is a total fit for my personality. I love a good challenge, and I can even be a little compulsive when it comes to matching points and seams or ripping out something that just isn't quite good enough for my standards.

Friday, May 23, 2014

Cats and quilts just seem to go together

CHQuilts: Cats and quilts
Not only am I enamored with quilting, but so are two of my four cats, Ryan and Kasey. 

For me, sewing is rarely a solo act. 

I call these two the twins, the first and fourth born of a stray cat that came to visit one day about eight years ago. Timi picked us to be her forever family. The rest is history. 

CHQuilts:Cats and quilts 2Ryan and Kasey's siblings, Kenni and Junior haven't caught the quilting bug. They prefer their quilts to be completed and on the bed before they wrap up in them.

I quilt in front of a picture window that overlooks the backyard. These two simply love birdwatching out that window. 

Even when I am sewing, Ryan isn't afraid to walk behind my machine or on top of anything nearby, the higher the better; Kasey likes anything cushy where she can stretch out and make herself at home. The pile she seems to be holding onto at left, is a stack of ready-to-quilt blocks for two different projects. The quilt sandwiches are already layered, so this is probably as soft as a feather bed. 

I've even had times where Ryan, the most gutsy cat I've ever known, will sit on top of a quilt while I'm stitching it. The machine noise doesn't even deter her. 

That isn't true of Kasey, a.k.a. scaredy cat. She is probably the most nervous cat I've ever known. That doesn't seem possible in her stress-free pose, but if she heard a noise, she would be out of there in a flash.
 
The cats absolutely love my quilts, at all of their stages. In fact, most of the time, if I take a picture of a quilt, whether it is complete or in progress, Ryan is there. Here she is pictured on the quilt top of my now-completed yellow quilt.