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Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Guest Post by Sheila Painter

Today’s guest is Sheila Painter, who belongs to one of my quilt guilds.  Sheila does a good job of introducing herself 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)

Kelly's Comments:
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 :)



  1. What a lovely post, thank you for sharing.
    Kelly your pattern and sticker is in the mail.
    Thank you again :)

  2. I SO agree! I love it when I can slow down and enjoy every single little stitch.

  3. I will have to admit that I am with Sheila on the fmq and binding portions of the quilting process. I do love picking out fabrics, cutting and piecing and those can take a long time like my "Farmer's Wife" quilt. I just don't feel confident with the fmq part even though I do it myself.

  4. Great post Sheila. Definitely thought provoking. I agree 100% that we need to slow down and enjoy the process, but I also realize not every quilter enjoys every step of quilting. Many enjoy the creation process and once the top is put together their mind is spinning on to the next project, so trying to sandwich, quilt, and bind simply takes them away from that creation feeling. Yet others enjoy celebrating the finish of a quilt by hand binding and reaching the goal. To me, there is no right or wrong but trying to find a way to keep the interest and excitement strong and finding help (e.g. longarmers, group charity quilters, etc) to do the parts one may not like doing.

    And, fortunately there is a new trend to "mount" quilt tops on frames, just like one might do with canvas oil paintings. They may not be quilted, but can still look great displayed on a wall even though some might think they are not finished.

    Again, fun post Sheila (and Kelly).


  5. I'll take any part but the sandwiching and pin-basting. That's the part that makes me go UGH. Get me going on my hippy zippy machine and I'm a happy woman!

    I have one quilt that I'm doing slowly. Doing some of the Farmer's Wife blocks by hand.

  6. It is interesting that I am doing just what Sheila has suggested. In the free motion quilting class I am taking, I have slowed down and I am really enjoying the free motion quilting work. what is truly surprising is that i have NOT been sewing scraps of fabric together to make quilts but I have been LOVING the quilting process (something that was previously just a necessity.)
    Thanks Sheila, and thanks Kelly for introducing us to Sheila.

  7. You are right, sometimes I get to going to fast just to get it done that I don't enjoy the process, I have to tell myself to slow down and enjoy it. I love the quilting and creating not the that bad?

    Hope all is well Kelly!

  8. I am often amazed at the number of quilts others create and finish. It is like they are on a run-away train. I have felt the "guilt" of not being able to keep up in a class and certainly in the "race of quilting." When I broke a couple of fingers this fall, I came to a "complete stop" and have yet to do anything but PINTEREST, BLOG, READ, and look at quilt magazines and books. I have definitely SLOWED down. I am in the "process."

  9. Oh dear, I'm afraid if I slowed down any more, I might NEVER finish a quilt! I've made exactly TWO quilts, in the ummmm(ashamed to admit) three years I've been "quilting." I have made a few wall hangings & table toppers, but quilts? Yeah, stuck on 2. One for me, one for my friend. Oh, I don't really count the orphan BOM's, give-aways & baby blankets, they're more just practice pieces. Maybe I'm enjoying the process too much as it is? hehe...Driver was looking at new embroidery machines on ebay today..had to talk him out of an Elissimo! :)

  10. Having sat next to Sheila at a retreat, I cannot imagine her slowing down. She only has two speeds - pedal to the metal or stopped. LOL Hopefully, Sheila, you will find that happy sweet spot in the middle so you really can enjoy the process. By the way, hand sewing the binding is one of my favorite parts of making a quilt. It's the excitement of almost being finished combined with not wanting to let go of something I've worked on with love for a long time.


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More Later-Beth


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