Wednesday, November 30, 2005

God Damn, Completed Projects!

God Damn, Completed Projects!
DATE: 11/30/2005 09:54:43 PM
From the original "Friendster" version of State of the Craft.

I'm pretty good at everything about quilting except the quilting. Quilting, I stink at.

For those who don't know what the hell I'm talking about, making a quilt happens in (basically) two steps. First comes the piecing. That's the part where you make the quilt face, a.k.a. the purty part, by cutting up pieces of fabric (hence the name) and sewing them back together. Quilting as such is where you stitch together the quilt face, the quilt back, and the batting, which is the puffy stuff in between that makes it warm and cozy. This stitching is often in elaborate patterns. The quilting of a master quilter is a work of art in itself, and can beautifully complement, enhance, and magnify the beauty of the quilt face. My own quilting, on the other hand, is more like vandalism.

This being the case, I tend to get really excited about new projects. I love to design quilt faces, get very excited about them, and rush full steam into the cutting and piecing stages of construction. When I get to the actual quilting, of course, my enthusiasm cools way down. I'm in no hurry to deface a quilt face that I feel good about, so I tend to go back and start something else instead. So, over the past few years, I've accumulated a huge pile of half-, quarter-, and eighth-completed projects.

This season I determined to work on my quilting ("quilting qua quilting," as I probably said in graduate school) skillz and get a few of these projects finished. "Finish Before Starting" became my motto for the year, scratched boldly in pen over my notes from the August Guild meeting.

But, as with any heroic quest, there have been travails. My semi-trusty sewing machine, a 1972 Kenmore, was crapped up and I briefly worried that I would have to replace it. You have no idea how expensive that would be. No, really, it's a lot more than you are thinking. Really. Later, a friend died, which really soured the mood. Then, I was fretting about the CD, which I'll talk about sometime if this turns out to be more than a one-post blog.

Slowly, though, things got moving, and with the help of Yahoo's LaunchCast service,, archived episodes of This American Life, and of course a season of Oregon Ducks football, the quilting eventually happened. And perhaps it sucks less than it did in the past. Onward and upward.

The upshot is, I finished two pieces last month. I started one of them in 2000, so it took a year longer than my college education to complete. It's pretty good, and I will have it in at least one show in the spring. Before then, though, I'm looking forward to debuting it in the "show and tell" session at the December guild meeting. I'm hoping it will earn me some cred with the gals. I'm kinda off-demographic for the guild -- well, actually, I'm radically off-demographic for the guild -- so I've got something to prove.

This picture is actually from before it was quilted. It's a little bit crisper and more defined, now. Unfortunately, it's so big I can't get a current picture of it anywhere in my house.

The other one is a much simpler thing, a Christmas present for my inlaws that I put together with the extra blocks -- the "out-takes" -- from my Christmas present to my sister last year. It went relatively quickly, January to November with lots of other stuff going on in between. It ain't bad for what it is, though, and Ma and Pa Collard will like it. I aimed for "down home and wholesome," and I think I got pretty close.

The bad news is, I've betrayed my mandate, and on Sunday I started something new from scratch. It's for a "challenge," which is where someone -- often a savvy fabric company -- challenges everyone to try to make a great quilt using "a recognizable amount" of a distinctive and usually awkward piece of fabric. In this case it's a "guild challenge," which I may explain in the future if, again, this is more than a one-shot blog. Because it's a guild challenge, I'm not supposed to tell anybody what I'm up to. Not even you, gentle reader. But here's what my workspace looks like. Sorry about the sideways image -- I really need to get some image software on this new computer.

That's all for now, and none too soon I suppose. Coming soon, or in a while, or not at all -- who knows? -- I'll do Episode 2: Projects I'm Halfway Through With, Episode 3: Projects That Stretch Out Before Me for Years to Come, and perhaps the dirt on what goes down at the December Guild Meeting. No doubt it will be quite riveting.
DATE: 12/01/2005 11:07:14 AM
welcome to join the cyber journal generation. i'm sure i'll be enjoying finding out what you are up to. i don't have to talk to you ever, i just need to read your blog (i;m kidding) there are actually lots of good sides of having your own blog. i keep finding out. finding lost friends, people know you better, filling up the free time and so on, and so forth.... keep it up. i'll be a big fan of your blog.
AUTHOR: Charlie
DATE: 12/07/2005 05:09:14 PM
I think my favorite of the finished 2 is the second. I like the pattern/non-patternish of it.

I was intrigued by the third, but it makes more sense that it's a QIP (quilt in progress as grandma used to always say).

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