2010 will be another interesting year for us, a year full of changes on the Richter scale of 10, like a 10. We have a retirement, a move, a survey of all the household we have had in storage for 12 years, and a move from there. We have to buy a new house, and get it ready for our habitation. We have a grandson, and we will be living near family – that hasn’t happened for a long time.

We will no longer be living overseas. I cannot imagine.

So I am trying to finish up projects, eyeing shelves that need to be packed. NO. I am not leaving behind a lot of fabric. I will part with some, but I just did this, this packing out and moving in spring of last year and so no, I am not going to part with so much this time. Well, actually, I am.

I am looking at a quilt I started two years ago, One Fish Two Fish Red Fish Blue Fish. I know who it is for. The quilting went bad and as I fixed it, I just wasn’t happy, so I let it go for a while. Now it doesn’t look so bad, but when I look at the back of the quilt, I can see my tension on my machine was erratic. There is another major flaw that my sharp eyed quilting friends will spot, but this is a quilt meant for use on a boat, so even a major flaw won’t matter:

It always shows. When you do handwork, it always shows. If you cross stitch, the stitches are too tight, and it sort of buckles. If you knit, the scale is off, and it feels too tight when you finish, relaxed knitters knit some air into their works. When you quilt, it shows on the backside, even if it doesn’t show on the front. If you hand quilt, the stitches are too tiny, too tight, too perfect and you come out with a hard piece rather than one of those lovely soft hand quilted pieces. It shows. Your handwork shows your state of mind.

My problem is that often under pressure, I turn to my handwork! So I can look at pieces and know what I was going through. What makes me laugh is the pieces I work the hardest on, nobody cares. Nobody but me. Things that I design and toss off in a heartbeat – people love! Go figure.

Today I am putting the binding on the two little baby girl quilts. They don’t look so bad now that they are quilted, thanks be to God. I keep telling myself “this is a hobby! This is supposed to be fun!”


6 thoughts on “Tension

  1. Emma says:

    I found your blog through a Google search (I’m running out of ideas for the hand quilting on my current quilt) and was totally intrigued. I love your work, and you seem to have so many quilts you finish WAY more quickly than I ever could. How much time do you spend on your quilts per day? I work at least 10 hours a day, as does my husband, so I don’t have nearly enough time to devote to it. I’m currently working on my 4th quilt (started quilting 10 years ago through 4H), but this is the first one that I used a machine to piece (still hand-quilting it though). It’s a queen-sized quilt for my bed, in celebration of my husband and I getting married 7 months ago. I’m still in that beginner phase of quilting as all my learning comes from books (my initial “lesson” was from a quilter, but I haven’t been able to learn from anyone since then), any advice (I’ve got a lot of time to learn, although I keep taking on huge projects)?

    Oh, and what is the flaw in that piece? I don’t see it…

  2. Georgina says:

    What a nice quilt Patricia! I learn a lot from you, that seminole border is perfect for this quilt. How you come up with so good ideas? Georgina

  3. worldquilter says:

    The flaw: the borders are done with a technique called Seminole piecing. The problem is, for one border I used a 45° angle, and for the other, I used a 30° angle!

    For hand quilting, some of my best motifs come from everyday objects. Seashells from a shower curtain. I love children’s coloring books; lots of great motifs, easy to hand quilt or machine quilt. Machine quilting allows you to finish more quilts, but handquilting makes for a softer quilt. It’s a toss up, i love hand quilting, but some things I need to get finished.

    Learn how to machine applique. It helps with all the kids quilts you will have to make. 🙂

    I spend about 8 – 10 hours a week quilting. I don’t work outside the home. My husband works long hours, and he used to travel a lot – quilting kept me busy and occupied, and focused, problems you don’t have with your busy life! 🙂

    Just take it as it comes. Find what you enjoy, and do it because you enjoy it, not for any other reason.

    Those are my hints, and I’m standing by them. 🙂

  4. worldquilter says:

    Georgina, I am already missing you too much! I looked for you yesterday . . . they found new people to do your job, so you can come back now! 😀

    You will laugh – most of the time, the borders are driven by how much fabric I have left. One quilt, the border came first, the whole quilt was built around the border fabric. Not often am I so in love with a fabric that nothing else matters, but when I met this fabric, I dropped every other project until I could do this quilt, an Irish chain, but it was always about the border.

    There is one border (Dancing Lilacs) I just love love love –Liam’s Quilt, it is floating squares, and I love it because it uses up fabric from the quilt . . .

    And I am so honored you would like my borders because your quilts are each so unique and individual and exquisitely planned and executed!

  5. “This is supposed to be fun.” Great observation. Today’s the day I’ve set aside to put borders on the two quilt tops I’ve been working on. I’ve been pressing, pinning and stitching for much of the day and right now it’s beginning to feel a bit like a chore rather than a hobby. Your words are very timely and I thank you for sharing them.

  6. worldquilter says:

    LLOOOLLL – my bete noir is sandwiching! I always do it on the tile floor, and I do three or four at the same time, so it is an entire morning of bending and pinning and oh, aaaarrgh, at the end of the sandwiching, I ache! It is a CHORE!

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