1.07.2011

A-frayed

I find quilting unlike most art forms.  That is to say it is very basic in the "necessities" needed to quilt. Quilting in it's most basic form requires fabric, thread and a needle.  You don't have to have a fancy sewing machine to crank out beautiful quilts.  For years and years all quilting was done by hand, a simple running stitch used to hold scraps of material together.

The more I quilt for others the more I am aware of this one fact even idiots can quilt.  Somehow quilting is seen as an "easy" project.  I can't tell you the number of people I have run into over the years who tell me things like, "I want to make a king size quilt for my bed.  I have never quilted before but I don't think it will be that difficult."  What a great idea!  While you are at it why don't you lay an egg.  Chickens do it and it doesn't look that difficult.

The fact is that it isn't "that" difficult but it does require basic knowledge of fabrics and what you can and cannot use.  And that is what I thought when I picked up a client's quilt top in late December.

The top I picked up was beautifully done in Oriental Silks and Drapery Fabric.  I was so awed by the design that it didn't dawn on me until I got home that I might not be able to quilt it.  A thousand doubts rushed through my mind. Could I quilt it without running the silk or poking large holes in the quilt top?  What if the loose threads get pulled down into my long-arm machine and create a hole in the backing?  Will my machine even quilt though all of those thick layers of drapery fabric?   And how in the world do you keep this drapery fabric from fraying?! Basically I was afraid to start this project.  OK, not afraid but Terrified.  I was so worried that I became doubtful of all that I know about quilting.

"Quilt" is defined by the American Heritage Dictionary as A coverlet or blanket made of two layers of fabric with a layer of cotton, wool, feathers, or down in between, all stitched firmly together, usually in a decorative crisscross design.


A quilt for many is just that, a bed covering.  For others it is for babies and small children to be carried in, covered with and play on.  Still for others quilting is not just a blanket it is ART.  That's when it dawned on me, quilting is much more than the definition leads us to believe.  Quilting is experimenting, learning, researching, exploring and challenging what we thought was the right way to do things.  Did you know that the word quilt is thought to have derived from the Middle English word quilte which means mattress.  So how did we get from mattress to bed covering?  I believe by trying, creating, and doing. 


 Sometimes our new and brilliant plan doesn't work out.  Yet, once in a while it does, and quite happily it did in this case.  Instead of worrying and fretting over the "what ifs" I experimented, changed needles,  changed threads, slowed down and clipped a ton of frayed edges and it worked. Was I still afraid?  YOU BET!  But, I didn't let it stop me.  How apropos that my New Year should start out with a challenge that forces me to grow, develop and learn.  



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