Sunday, May 17, 2015

Sewing and Thinking

I was thinking this morning as I was sewing on the itty bitty spool blocks how much my sewing style has changed over the years; in large part to Bonnie Hunter and her organizational suggestions as well as my penchant for not throwing little pieces of fabric away.
In my mind I was comparing sewing to driving.

When I was young I drove my car fast.  I loved the feel of moving through traffic and getting where I was going.  When I started sewing back in the last century I was always hurrying to get the blocks done so I could put the quilt together and move onto the next one.  I hand quilted in those days and I did enjoy the slow process of that.  I made many tops in my first few years and like other hobbies, I was inundated with my productivity.  Purchasing the longarm was a means to an end.  It was a new job to move onto when the weaving job was no longer an option and it kept me from being buried alive under pieced tops.

I liked making quilts with big blocks.  They could be simple or intricate, but big was always my end result.  The bigger the block the less it took to make a quilt.  It didn’t take any less fabric, just less blocks.  It’s a mental thing for me.  It is like the mental thing of getting half done with the pantograph quilting.  After the half way point it seems I zoom along to finish the quilt.  Up to the half way point it is like wading through mud. I feel like I’m never going to get done.

I find I have slowed down while driving. I don’t speed.  I look around at the scenery and enjoy seeing the things out the window.  I even feel sorry for the people who are rushing past me trying to get to work and I’m in their way.

The tops I make now are more intricate.  The pieces I use are small and it takes many to sew together to make a block.  I even like using narrower strips and find using 2” strips and 1 ½”” strips more to my liking.  I would never have thought when I made those big blocks years ago that I would find the same kind of joy piecing blocks from small pieces of fabric and not feeling like I was going too slow getting the process finished.

Now it seems I get to the edges and don’t want to put the borders on.  Quilt tops languish for months while I decide what to do for a border.  I do get them done.  I feel guilty when several are waiting for borders and I will take a weekend to do that tedious job.  I find my fun this day building blocks.  Lots and lots of blocks!
The pattern I’m working on as a main project is called Spoolin’ Around and is one of Bonnie’s patterns from her book More Adventures with Leaders and Enders.  I had printed out the instructions when she had offered it as a challenge on her blog.

The last project sits in a stack of sewn rows and sewn sashes waiting for me to pin them together tonight when I sit and watch tv after my day is done.

The spools are just cute.  I love these, but realize the futility of thinking I am actually using up fabric.  There is no obvious dent in the tub of strips. 

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