Friday, 22 May 2009

Awakenings................

Today I sandwiched Sam's quilt ready for quilting. I had had thoughts of trying to machine quilt the centre and then hand quilting select parts. I had it spread on top of the bed as the dogs had been hassling me, just thinking this lovely pinky thing was just right to sit on while Mum's trying to fiddle around on the floor (not to mention all the doggie kisses and cuddles)!
So it was while I was walking around pulling, tugging, touching and generally admiring that I had my 'awakening'. It was more of a light bulb pop moment really, not an idea but a realisation - an awakening!! I suddenly realised that I didn't want to quilt this on the machine, nor did I want to send it of for someone else to stitch it. This was the part that I had been working towards, this was the culmination, this was where it 'came together'. This was the part that I loved the best!!
I had been seduced by the prospect of a quick finish and perfect even stitches. When I first started to quilt, it was the American way. All those books told me that my stitches had to be tiny and even, not to mention straight lines and even spaces!! I suddenly realised that that's why I had stopped quilting, because my expectations for myself were way too high. I couldn't do those tiny even stitches and I couldn't machine quilt. I wasn't very good at this!!
Well actually I can, but I don't want to and I am quite good at this.
I've always loved the soft gentle look of hand quilting. Don't get me wrong, I still look at all you ladies that can machine quilt and I turn a gentle shade of shrek. I love it, it's amazing - when someone else has done it!! So this afternoon, whilst walking around touching Sam's quilt, I realised why I always say I'm a quilter as opposed to saying I do patchwork - it's the gentle rock of the needle, the soft tug of the thread, the sound the thread makes as it pulls through the layers, the snip of the tiny scissors and the thrum of the quilt in a frame. These are the things I love and these are the things that make a quilt for me!

So no longer am I going to yearn for tiny, even stitches. Not for me the precise spaces and lines. I will never be a prize winning quilter, but you know what, I love what I do. I love the finished piece with uneven spacing and little wiggles in my lines. No more will I unpick because one triangle is slightly off. That's what makes my quilts mine!!



I am inordinately pleased with this quilt, the colours were out of my comfort zone and the I thought the squares would be just too plain, but I love it. So to celebrate my new found quilting freedom....................

................ I just had to put the first stitches in and look..................




they're not even.............





8 comments:

Sew Useful Designs said...

Lizzie, I really love that you have embraced your love of quilting again. I must admit, I feel so daunted by the thought of it for exactly the same reasons you mentioned... I knew I wouldn't be perfect. Thanks for giving me the confidence to realise that hey! It doesn't matter!!

Enjoy your sewing! Vikki xx

Khris said...

Lizzie this is really pretty and I love what you have done..those colours are out of my comfort zone too so I can relate to you there...and I too wont do the free motion quilting because I know it wont be perfect and I dont want to mess it up so I keep stitching in the ditch for now..but one day I will on something smaller that I am not giving away....hugs Khris

Angela said...

I 100% agree - it is not the *perfect small stitches* that make hand-quilting special. I love hand-quilting, although my stitches are not small. I try to keep them even, and to me, that is good enough. Sometimes, I even make the stitches extra-large on purpose, for a more primitive stitch. :o)
The quilting you have done so far is pefect! Cant wait to see more!

Kim said...

I see no problems with your stitches. I think the appeal of machine quilting is that it is supposed to speed up the process, now having said that I must ask the question. How is it faster when it takes forever to get on "the list" for a quilter to do it for you and if, in my situation, you buy your own machine and frame to do your own quilts only to discover that it is going to take forever to practice to be proficient at it, you might realize that it isn't faster, is somewhat frustrating and still can not mimic the hand quilting. Big sigh. I am ready to sell my frame to a more talented machine quilter so I can return to my hand quilting frame. For I am a hand quilter in my head and my heart. Machines are so wonderful for piecing quilts together and I would not give up my machine for hand piecing, although I could see doing some hand work just for the fun of it. You know, more quilt makers throw up their hands and proclaim that they absolutely can not hand quilt and wonder at those who can, lol, it's just the way it is. Enjoy making this quilt your own. It is lovely!

Francien said...

Well Lizzy....I just love your stitches...and I think you speak for many woman( I am one of them)who could have wrote the same story...I did not brought my quilts in the early days to the quilters with the long arm machines...because it felt like betrayal to my hand made little patchwork hexies or whatever pattern to let someone else do the finishing touch...it felt like I could not say "I made this by hand"anymore so I stitch my own big uneven stitches too on my creations and could/can proudly say I did it al myself....by hand...
Lovely story and your quilt is going to be stunning!!
greetings Francien.

lesthook said...

I think there are a lot of us out here. I love hand quilting. I also feel that way to a degree about my machine quilting. Mine will never be perfect but then I don't make heirloom quilts or even show quilts. I have fun with them.

Karen said...

Good for you! It doesn't matter how big or uneven the stitches are, it's the pleasure you get from hand quilting. You just can't get that kind of satisfaction from machine quilting.

Bernadette said...

it looks lovely to me! Anyway the handquilting with the perle cotton thread and bigger stitches is very fashionable now.

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