Saturday, March 14, 2009

Another Year Older, and some Quilty Thinking

Today I am 28. It's official. My twenties have begun to wane. You can now say, "she is in her late twenties."

I have to say, I'm not who I thought I'd be at 28, but I couldn't be happier. :) I have a wonderful life, the best Husband, beautiful & healthy children, family and friends who care about me and support me. Who could ask for more?

So now that I'm old, lol*, I've decided to make myself a promise. I'm going to put more into my quilts. More time, more planning, more accuracy. I've never been afraid of mistakes, and you could do a timeline of my quilts by placing them side by side and looking at varying degrees of my work! But I've had a lot of fun making really ugly quilts. LOL* I'd like to think I've graduated from being a beginner to that gray middle area where I've still got a lot to learn, but I've enough knowledge to avoid old mistakes. My biggest struggle is patience. I'm a Mother of small children and my sewing time is not easy to come by, and not to be wasted! So I often take results over accuracy. But somewhere in between making that first quilt and stumbling through designing my own, I've inherited that desire that so many passionate quilters have, to somehow get my quilts to look as good as the ones I drool over. And why can't I?

So with that in mind, I pulled out one of the very first books I ever bought on quilting, The Art of Classic Quilt Making, by Harriet Hargrave and Sharyn Craig. It has become my favorite.

I can't count how many tips in this book I have used with great results. One tip shared that I've also heard seconded from many quilters online and off, is to use a fine pin for piecing. I currently use these...

There's nothing wrong with these, and they have been very useful in the time that I've used them. But I'm on the hunt for a good fine pin, that will not mind being shoved into tight seams without shifting my pieces around. Any suggestions? What pins do you use?

I've also been working on my EQ quilt, Autumn Cabins. Did you think I forgot it? I didn't. I was anxious to see it together, and in my haste, did quite a sloppy piecing job on these center stars.

I sewed them together, then ripped them apart. On the suggestion of a well-meaning, experienced quilty friend I squared them up, then re-pieced them together. I have never been a fan of squaring up blocks. I understand why many people do this, but I just can't seem to do it without losing my seam allowance. I think a better approach for myself, is to take time and care in cutting and sewing accurately. But I don't know it all, and so I squared them up. It does look better, but I'm sure you can guess what happened. I lost about 1/4 an inch over all when I put all 16 back together. This has re-affirmed that I am not a squaring up typa gal.

I can tell you what did help though. Many of you already like to do this, but one of the ways I have been experimenting with to reduce bulk, is pressing my seams open. I have found in places where I might have lost the very tip of a point by pressing to one side, has been recovered with an open seam.

I have also fallen in love with Best Press to get seams super duper flat, but I am running low, so today I'm going to experiment with sizing. I will let you know how that goes. :)


Crazy for Primitive Quilts and Gardens said...

I think I am right there with you in that, 'not a beginner' zone. Except I have been quilting for 9 years now... I should be a lot more experienced than I am! My piecing definitely isn't perfect, but I am not a 'do over' kind of girl. I just keep plugging along. I need to develop quilting patience! I think your stars are just lovely :o)

Quilt Hollow said...

28....your a baby! is fun to see a young quilter these days...I turn 50 at the end of the mind thinks young...sometimes my body parts tell me otherwise. LOL

Have a Happy Birthday! Hopefully you got in some quilting time.

Stephanie D. said...

I think it's kinda nice that you're making time to quilt before you hit your 30s! You'll be an expert by the time you hit my age! lol

I have trouble squaring up, also--even when I press seams open, which is most of the time. I know it's because I get in a hurry when I'm cutting. What has helped has been that gripper handle that suctions attaches to the ruler (can't recall the name right now). My ruler is easier to handle now and doesn't slip as it used to, and that has made a big difference in my accuracy.

Happy birthday, btw!

Connie W said...

Here's another birthday wish for you. Regarding pins, the quilt shops have "silk pins" which are fine and that's what I use for piecing. I wish when I was still in my twenties and thirties that I had known more about needle crafts and quilting and that I would have done them. I feel that I wasted my free time back then.

Sheila said...

Happy (belated) Birthday, Valerie!

My favorite pins are the ultra-thin Clover patchwork pins with turquoise and yellow glass heads. Nary a ripple nor a pinhole when pinning stuff together! (You like my Irish brogue? lol) Clover silk pins No. 3 are my second fave.

RachelJane said...

Happy Birthday Valerie! Hope you had a lovely day.
Your star blocks are beautiful. I'm not a square-it-up kinda gal, either. It's never worked for me.

p.s. do us all a favour and don't refer to yourself as "old" at 28. You'll make those of us over 30 cry!

QuiltedSimple said...

Happy Birthday! And if you are old at 28, I'm feeling positively ancient now! I know what you mean about done over perfection.....

Beth said...

If you're old, what the heck does that make me???

By the way, one thing I've learned is to enjoy the age I am. I will be 46 this year, and believe it or not, I'm looking forward to it!

Happy birthday, you silly girl..

And congrats on the treadle! I know you wanted one...that's so cool!

Catherine said...

I've never been able to find a pin fine enough so now I use #12 sharps as pins. They're really fine and don't distort a seam at all -- and that way you always have an extra needle handy when you need it.

Teresa said...

I usually press open my seams whenever it is practical and get much better results that way.

Best press is good stuff, but the fragrance they use gives me a headache if I am doing much pressing. I have sound a spray bottle of water works pretty good too.