Wednesday, April 17, 2013

How Do You Eat an Elephant?

One bite at a time

Whenever I have a custom quilt I think of my friend, Shirley Stutz.  She has always done magnificent quilting, even before she acquired a longarm machine.  She did intricately detailed quilting with her domestic sewing machine (DSM). She has a longarm machine now and does fabulous work with that as well.  She has been a source of inspiration and encouragement to me for years.  She is an efficiency expert and thinks up new ways to do old things and goes around teaching others how to benefit from her brain storms.

I never liked paper piecing until I took a class from her.  She made it simple and effortless.  You didn’t even have to tear paper away after you learned how it is folded away from the next piece you were sewing to.  Even though she simplified the whole process, I still don’t care to make a quilt that way; but I’m not afraid to try it now.
Detail from my Elegant Lone Star (This is a Shirley Stutz pattern)
I had a challenge quilt to do one year and I planned my very first whole cloth quilt to try my challenge with.  I liked the resulting idea, but when it came to doing the background fill I felt like I had a monster job ahead of me.  (The quilt only measured 40” x 40”).  I asked Shirley how she approached her queen and king sized quilts when it came time to do the background fill and she looked me in the eye and asked “Do you know how to eat an elephant?” and of course I replied that I did not know and she said to me, very pointedly “One bite at a time.”
Dogwood Quilt challenge
It all makes sense when you approach ANY project with the concept of eating an elephant.  The job cannot be too big if you break it down into little pieces.
Detail from Pattie's rescue
Even the custom quilts that require lots of background fill and many days to finish don’t intimidate me anymore.  I don’t plan on ever eating an elephant, either alone or with friends, but if I ever have to, I am definitely inviting Shirley!
Detail from Karen's quilt

1 comment:

  1. Wouldn't an elephant be a wee bit hard and maybe not tasty but that makes a lot or sense with small steps and one at a time anything is possible.