Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Quilting in the ditch

I made a list about three months ago of the quilting projects I hoped to finish this summer. Ha! I finished a small wall hanging. Another wall hanging needs mainly hand work. That is slow. This quilt WILL be done soon. This week I've been quilting the main part, simply, in the ditch. While repetitive sewing straight lines, I can think about what I'm doing. Clearly, taking the easy way out. Making the quilting as unintrusive and unnoticable as possible. The border, which is medium dark green isn't visible in this picture but it will have a quilting pattern, very like a simple egg-and-dart because it's easy and I like it.

I ask myself, am i being lazy? No, it's more mechanical than that. My sewing machine is only good on straight stitching. If I really wanted to do free form quilting, which once in a while I would like to do, then I must get a modern sewing machine. In fact I SHOULD get one, this one is tired and not as dependable as one would wish -- it's 45 years old and has probably sewn a million miles of seams -- reliably! One broken part in all those years, When I think of buying a new machine I think: with that money I could fly to Australia and stay two week. Truly, I'd rather travel than get all steamed up about my quilting surface. So I recognize my priorities. I quilt for the pleasure of watching patterns evolve -- which I wrote several weeks ago when I talked about the joy of putting together these "stack and whack" squares. But after the top is together, every quilt that isn't a wall quilt becomes, in my mind, a utility quilt. I don't care if it has a fancy surface.

Then too -- this could be sour grapes, I realize -- I don't want a busy pattern on top of this. The pattern is super busy. I sometimes like complexly patterned quilt surfaces, especially on arty quilts, but I think they need to serve the concept of the quilter. Not the fashion of using a long arm machine and doing swirls or feathers or whatnot just because, technically, you CAN. I noticed at Quilt National all quilting seemed to be very much planned as part of the quilts [as you would expect in really fine art quilts] and much of it was really simple.

I am not a quick adapter of new technology; often I do not think new gadgets add qualitatively to what one is doing. I've gone over all these thoughts, most especially the thought about a new sewing machine all during the several hours I've spent afternoons this week simply quilting in the ditch on this quilt. By the end of the week, I will have finished the borders, put on the binding, afffixed a label and will be ready to carry on with the "chicken" quilt that was comoing along before my vacatioin but iis qute a way from the top being done, let alone together. And then there will be only a couple of other summer plans hanging over my head ... now that summer is officially over. Sobeit.

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