Second Note: I thought of renaming this post "You Didn't Know I Was Really a Cranky Bitch Did You?" but thought "Dirty Secrets" sounded more intriguing. But the shoe fits either way.
The actual post, My 7 Dirty Quilting Secrets:
I've been reading more comments on quilting blogs lately that seem to have a "oh I wish my seams could be that straight" or "oh if only I had the time to make that many quilts" or "oh, that will be my next WIP once I finish the 20 others I need to finish." There's also a slight undercurrent of one-upmanship going on between the quilt blogosphere that maybe I'm the only one feeling it, but my sixth sense for these things hasn't failed me before, so I'm pretty sure it's there. If you think about it, it's pretty natural to have happen. People are generally competitive, even amongst friendly people. That's why even the nicest quilters enter contests, shows where their work is judged, etc...and want to win. Even in the modern quilting movement where woefully few of those gorgeous quilts are entered into juried shows, people are stepping up their game to create the next quilt that becomes the "it" topic of the month, or next quilt a-long followed by hundreds.
In any case, those of you who read my blog or listen to my podcast may know I have my own little hang-ups about my quilting and knitting and other stuff I make, but am generally a pretty "yes my shit's all over the place but that's just the way it is in my life right now" kind of quilter/crafter. I make it. I like it. I post it here. I leave it at that.
But here are a few of the things I often leave unsaid about a lot of things to do with quilting:
1. I don't rip out my bad machine quilting. Ever. I read plenty of blogs or see tweets where the quilter talks about spending the last x number of hours ripping out all the bad quilting to start over. I'm here to say that unless there's a bird's nest on the back of my quilt, I'm not ripping ANY of that shit out. So does this mean (gasp!) I have quilts out there where my tension was visibly off in some (read: large) sections? Yep. Does the person I may have gifted a few of those quilts to care? Well, it's been 12 years on several of them, and they haven't been sent back with a nasty note yet. Admittedly since I've been machine quilting for over 15 years, my tension issues have decreased substantially, but I recall even in the last quilt I made I did the "double-back-and-quilt-over-it" method in several spots. No shame in my game here.
2. I've never read a quilting book cover-to-cover. Not one. I am a master at skimming the whole book to get the general idea of the contents, then I look at the patterns more closely, then I go back to the front and pass over all the general quilting information, reading snippets of the author's thoughts on his/her process. I mark the patterns I like and might make one day, then it usually goes on my shelf to sit. If it's an art quilt book, I do the opposite and mark the process sections I want to try vs. the quilts or patterns.
3. I know I will never use up all the fabric in my studio. Ever. But I still buy more. And more. And as long as they produce it, I will continue to buy more. Because you never know....time may stop one day and I will be able to use it all. Every scrap. If time doesn't stop for me, I've told my husband if I die first to line my coffin with the really good stuff. And since he wouldn't know what the "good stuff" is from the old crappy stuff I also keep for God-only-knows what reason, I have labeled a cubby to help him out. Don't believe me?
4. Frankly my dear, I don't give a damn about prewashing fabric. This is mainly because I really hate to iron clothes and large pieces of fabric. The only time I've ever prewashed fabric is when I made my first baby quilt about 15 years ago. It had about 25 different fabrics in it. Lucky for me this was long before I had kids, so the air was blue by the time I finished ironing that 25th fabric. Today, I throw 2 boxes of Color Catchers in with my finished quilt and hope for the best.
5. I've deemed family and friends "unworthy" of making them a quilt when asked. Unworthy is actually a stronger word than I would like to use here, but it's the only one that comes to mind right now. Let me explain. I am often asked by people I know if I would make them a quilt. Usually it's an art quilt because really "I can always get a "regular" quilt at Macy's." Yeah. You go do that. Please. But my quilting time is my "me time", and I have very little of it. I have 2 little kids who both like to join me in every activity I do around the house, including going to the bathroom..."Mommy, are you pooping or peeing?" so I have to be very picky how I spend my "me time." I also have a lot of quilts in my "to make" queue, and to bump one of mine down the list and move someone else's up takes a lot of considering. Most times the answer is a simple, "Oh, I'm swamped with things now, so I'm just making personal stuff now." Sometimes I let a few unselfish quilts through. For example, a baby quilt is a no brainer. These are generally quick and simple to make, and the recipient is a brand new, innocent little person who hasn't pissed me off at one time or another. Their parents on the other hand...well, I usually overlook that and think of the greater good because I want my share of the free fabric in Heaven.
6. I am not consistent with my 1/4" seams in piecing an entire quilt together. And I'm a little too lazy to work out what a scant 1/4" seam is when I have a perfectly good 1/4" foot.... how come there isn't a scant 1/4" foot out there? Anyways, I just do my best to stay relatively consistent most of the way through and if a few blocks are a little "off" that's what squaring up and putting those blocks in a corner are for. If they're all "off" I put them on point and call it a wonky block quilt and keep it moving sister.
7. I don't always enjoy the online quilting experience. I sometimes get cranky when I visit other blogs and they're churning out quilt after quilt after quilt and writing a "secret" book they can't tell you about, and guest posting on 6 different other blogs that week, each with a different project, and they're hosting a new quilt along, and they're getting happy mail from yet another fabric company, and and and.......I haven't done shit in 3 weeks. And I try not to but can't help feeling bad about where I am (or am not) in my own quilting process that week. And I wonder if any of these people do anything other than sew all day long, 24/7 because it sure doesn't seem like it.
Then I read between the lines on a few of their posts back, and I see that they too have actual "life" happening to them and around them, and they too go through slumps, but who wants to read about the "real" shit that goes on in people's lives everyday? We come online to get inspired, see and learn new things, not hear about a family member's cancer or being up all night with a colicky kid, or dealing with severe depression, or not being able to pay the bills, or the myriad of things everyone deals with but chooses not to include with every single post because why make something as fun as quilting a big fat downer every time..."hey look at this new quilt I made, and oh yeah my son got suspended from school again, and the baby has poop explosions up her back what seems like every 20 minutes! It's sunshine and good times around here folks!"
Besides, that's what Twitter is for right?
So there are my "dirty quilting secrets" all laid out to bare. What are yours? Post one in the comments below and I'll enter you in a drawing for this book just for making it all the way through my Cranky-Pants post:
Modern Minimal by Alissa Haight Carlton
GIVEAWAY IS CLOSED
Thanks for sharing!