Written by Linda Chaney, Mother
My darling daughter nominated me to post for Around the World Blog hop, which is a challenge because this has been my busiest week of the year; in other words, I've been gone every day of the week and evenings are not necessarily my strong times! So here it goes.
- What am I working on? This week I have been taking classes at our local Bernina store with Harriet Hargrave. One of my goals for the year has been to learn to machine quilt and learn about various threads and batting. I like Harriet’s comment “I don’t machine quilt. I hand quilt with an electric needle.” I can no longer procrastinate. Harriet’s suggestion to place quilt tops into three different categories and using them to develop the set of skills working towards that prize quilt YOU want to quilt is wonderful. Her course on Heirloom Machine Quilting has prompted me to seriously attempt to learn the techniques and quilt my own quilts. Her approach towards teaching and learning definitely coincides with the methods I have used with students in the laboratory – go back to basics and understand why and how you are doing the experiment (or in this case, quilting).
- How does my work differ from others of its genre? Using the basic methods of English paper piecing was the starting point of the book my daughter and I published with the American Quilter’s Society (Contain It! English Paper-Pieced Style Containers). Using non-paper pieces such as Timtex or Peltex for the stabilizers instead of paper and ¼” double fusible tape to baste instead of needle and thread allows greater creativity, function and durability to our 3D containers. I continue to create other shapes of containers not currently found in our book but hopefully to be used in a future publication. As with any long term project, problems arise that must be solved!
- Why do I write/create what I do? I have a craving to learn new techniques and try new ideas. Perhaps it’s the scientist in me that is constantly asking “what would happen if ….?” Or taking something new I've learned and using it in a novel way. Having the basic knowledge will open doors towards new projects. Keeping an open mind and having lots of patience allows the process to happen.
- How does my writing/creating process work? I’m curious – about new techniques and new crafts - and using the new ideas from one craft and applying it to another. Perhaps the ideas are new to me but have been available for some time or perhaps the ideas are quite novel at this moment in time. For example, in April I took a basic needle tatting class and have spent the past several months looking at patterns online, trying to needle tat the patterns, and applying them to our containers. I like to understand how the craft is done and how it might be improved. I constantly find myself modifying quilt patterns to piece and rarely make the pattern as stated. This has, on occasion, also created a few problems. Do I fail? Yes and no. Sometimes those failures answer questions on how to solve the issue!
So, as I stated in the first question, I’m learning to machine quilt my own quilts. This process will take a lot of practice (as my needle tatting experiences have shown), perseverance and patience, but after my classes with Harriet, I have already seen big improvements in my quilting. And each time I practice conscientiously, my skills will only continue to improve. It’s a long term goal but I’m looking forward to that time when I have pieced, quilted, and cherished that special quilt – all done by me. I’ve also been warned that it’s not just the one, but all those afterwards as you continue to strive for that special feeling of achievement.