Today’s guest is Sheila Painter, who belongs to one of my quilt guilds. Sheila does a good job of introducing herself so....here is Sheila's contribution to keeping the IHAN® blog moving along :
Sheila poses with four charity quilts she made, all strip-pieced.
I’ve been sewing since I was a little girl, but only quilting about nine years now. I absolutely LOVE sewing quilts, and churn them out like crazy. But I admit that, while I say I love quilting, I don’t really love the quilting part of the process. As a matter of fact, there’s quite a bit I don’t enjoy: pin-basting, applique, hand quilting, and hand sewing on binding. But sit me at a sewing machine and let me sew bits of fabric together into quilt tops, and I’m in heaven.
The speedy arrowhead pattern is a quick and easy design for a quilt.
So I was thinking about this recently, and realized that all the things I don’t enjoy about making a quilt are the parts that take a really long time. I want to be quick and efficient. I sew most of my bindings down by machine now, hire longarmers to quilt my quilt whenever I can justify the expense, and enjoy starting a quilt with orphan blocks so it will go together quicker. If there’s a shortcut, I’ll take it. Plenty of quilters like me have discovered wonderful timesaving techniques, like chain-sewing, fast-flying-geese methods, ways to sew blocks or borders with a minimum of pinning, etc. We can buy kits where the pattern and fabric are all pre-chosen for us…. imagine that! Then there’s the whole world of precut fabrics….strips, squares and triangles, and more…. already cut for me!
Sheila's orphan block quilt....I just appliqued them down on background fabric.
But fabric manufacturers didn’t come up with these timesavers just for ME….no, lots of busy, working people of today appreciate the convenience of buying fabric pieces all ready to sew together. Kelly sells lots of time-saving notions on her website I Have A Notion (hint, hint!) to speed up the process, including those nifty machines that even do the cutting for us with dies!
Here's a quilt-as-you-go I made, using my scraps.
What really got me thinking is, if we all love making quilts so much, why don’t we just slow down and enjoy the process? The whole concept of making a quilt is cutting up fabric and sewing it back together into something beautiful, warm and cozy. Why does it have to be fast? Is my life really better because I use the leader/ender method when machine piecing to have my next quilt already begun? Choosing a quilt pattern that sews together really fast might not be my best choice. Was my goal really to finish three quilts last month? Or would TWO have been enough if I didn’t shortcut my way through them??
This one was made with strip-piecing, for my granddaughter on her first birthday. It was the THIRD quilt I have made for the baby: baby quilt, crawling quilt, and first birthday present!
Using notions that save time (which I Have a Notion has lots of) is a wonderful thing, so we should embrace them. But let’s slow down and as they say, smell the roses. I will make a special effort to put my personal touch on my quilts. If it involves threading a needle, so be it. Our quilts will probably outlast us by a hundred years. Long after we’re gone, our ancestors will still enjoy the beauty and love that went into the quilts that were handed down to them. They won’t notice or care if the quilts were made with shortcuts. But they will appreciate that we enjoyed the process of quilting enough to make these lovely heirloom pieces. I pledge to put more time and love into my quilts…..will you?
(Written By Sheila Painter, OH)
Well, knowing Sheila for the past few years, I have to say I was very surprised to read this post she submitted. Sheila routinely brings anywhere from 2-4 and sometimes more quilts to our guild meetings for show and tell. I've always had the idea that quilting should be a process, not necessarily quick....but a process to be enjoyed. I'm not saying Sheils isn't capable of slowing down....LOL....I'm just looking forward to seeing what that means to her....giggles. She may feel empty handed without all those quilts for show and tell.
What ever the time table you have for yourself....I do hope you enjoy the entire process as much as possible :)