Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Three Reasons You Need Quilting Friends

1. They make you think about how to make your quilts the absolute best they can be today, without going crazy. While you all were right that unpicking would be insanity, it made the problem roll around my brain long enough to realize that a little unpicking might do the trick.

And it did.

2. They take you to sweet quilting events, like this quilt give away. All the families in temporary housing were delighted to receive their quilts.

Some couldn't wait until they got home to love on them.

3. They give you funny dreams, like the one I had last night about shop hopping with Amanda Jean and Shelly. Don't ask me why V & I were scheduled to fly home when these two were heading out. I'm sure if I'd slept a bit longer, we would have canceled all plane tickets and gone hog wild! Three days visiting fabric stores with these ladies??? Heaven! I woke up with a smile.

What do you love about your creative friends?

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

To unpick or not to unpick

This weekend, Amanda Jean raised the question of when to just leave imperfections alone and when to go back and rip them out. In the middle of quilting a quilt myself, my first response was, "Every quilt is a learning process. Finish it and move on." Sometimes though, getting it right IS part of the process.

I started thinking more and more about my quilt and wondering if maybe I should kick it up a notch. Here are the questions I'm asking myself to decide whether or not to get out the seam ripper.

1. What is the purpose of this quilt?

It is a gift for a friend who got married recently. However, all of my quilts right now are "quilting practice". I want to push myself beyond my current free-motion quilting abilities, so I take it as a given that the quilting will be less than perfect as I learn. (I take Diane at her word when she says here, "Make the quilt for a baby, friend or an in-law. They will love whatever you do, good or bad, mistakes and all.")

2. What is the problem?

The quilting I'm thinking about changing is actually the part I love best! I wanted free-motion roses in the border and spent a lot of time sketching to find a design that looked like roses and could be done as a continuous line. Figuring it out and being able to do it on the quilt itself feels like a major step, no leap, forward in my quilting. All weekend I wanted to call a quilter to celebrate the milestone. (Ok, I might have sent one little e-mail to shout "Yipppppeeeeee!")

The problem? They don't quite fit the design of the rest of the quilt. They are dense, detailed and semi-realistic roses. The rest of the quilt is open curves...outline quilting, wonky spirals, big cursive words. Those prolific roses up against the spacious words...just not working for me. (We're not even going to discuss thread choice. Learning about that one from observation, not correction, on this quilt.)

3. Do the problems affect this primary purpose?

Not really. I think my friend will still like it and I learned to consider how the different parts of a quilting plan work together as a whole. It gives me a new perspective for future quilts, whether I pick out this one or not.

4. Is there a simpler solution rather than unpicking???

Possibly. Perhaps adding vining leaves or something around my words will make the contrast between words and flowers not so drastic. A bit of time brainstorming ideas on that one may be a life-saver.

5. Can I do better?

On this part, yes. I definitely feel confident that I can figure out roses that fit the open, curvy style of the rest of the quilting.

I am not touching the rest of it since I don't know that I can do better on the center curves or the wonky spirals in the first border. (They weren't supposed to be wonky.) Unpicking either of those parts sounds like torture and may not improve anything. Plus, it is just time to give her this quilt already!

6. Will I (or my friend) get out of it what I put in to it?

Undecided. Unpicking and redoing, probably not.

7. Do I honestly have the time to change it?

Also undecided. As I said before...it's time for this project to be done already and gifted. Maybe not.

8. Will it feed my creativity and sense of satisfaction or deplete it?


Hmmmm...lots of undecideds or maybe nots. Unpicking may not be worth my time. I think I'm going to spend some time sketching some possible fillers for around the words. I'll keep you posted.

When do YOU go back and redo? When do you just let it go?