Wednesday, November 17, 2010

The Mental Approach to Sewing


A 1949 Singer Sewing Manual gave fairly explicit instructions as to how to be successful with one's sewing endeavors.

"Prepare yourself mentally for sewing. Think about what you are going to do...never approach sewing with a sigh or lackadaisically. Good results are difficult when indifference predominates. Never try to sew with a sink full of dishes or beds unmade. When there are urgent housekeeping chores, do these first so your mind is free to enjoy your sewing. When you sew, make yourself as attractive as possible. Put on a clean dress. Keep a little bag full of French chalk near your sewing machine to dust your fingers at intervals. Have your hair in order, powder and lipstick put on with care ... if you are constantly fearful that a visitor will drop in or your husband will come home and you will not look neatly put together, you will not enjoy your sewing as you should."

Was my mind too pre-occupied and lacking the necessary freedom, when I attempted the original version of this quilt in 2008 and almost ruined it? Did I forget to wash my sink full or dishes, or leave a bed unmade, when I only checked on my quilting stitches at the beginning, the middle, and the end of my machine quilting process?

Did I sigh too much as I spent 6 solid hours ripping out those quilted free motion stitches that had caught all over the back and that's why I'd never noticed any unusual tension or pulling? No, it must have been that I forgot my clean dress AND my French chalk, when I then washed all of that meandering quilt top, batting, and backing to remove all of the tiny threads I did not have the patience to pick off after my already 6 hours of seam ripper use. I'm pretty sure that my attitude was neither lackadaisical, nor indifferent, when I realized when I saw holes that had appeared everywhere in my backing from the ripping and then the washing!

Perhaps, all of this explains why this poor quilt top was placed in my UFO pile in a corner, its batting cut apart and reused for smaller quilts, and most of the ruined backing tossed into a bale sack. And so the quilt top from this disappointing endeavor sat.....for almost two years.... cast off like a punished child in her corner.

It truly wasn't her fault, poor quilt! It wasn't even my choice of fabric's fault. After all, I had made a another version of a similar quilt in 2006. So, I already knew that the shiny almost decor-like polished cotton fabrics might have some sewing issues. But that quilt,, appropriately named "Good Luck Karma" had been nicely quilted and sent off for Hurricane Katrina relief.

Was it all of that intense 'unquilting' that did me in, and made me procrastinate on trying again? Or perhaps my wait to find some appropriate backing fabrics? Nope, I think I just really needed a nudge from Finn's New Year's Eve Challenge to make up my mind to remake and finish it!

But it's 'Finnally' finished and I couldn't be happier! "Irish Eyes are Smiling" is finally out of that 'to do' pile in the corner. And this time, the 68" x 86" string pieced quilt is now completely tied with white cotton crochet thread and not machine quilted ;) And yes, I prayed over every knot just like I did with my Prayer Quilts. After all of that, wouldn't you ...Please let me be done...please let me be done ;)

I must have finally had the right mental approach...without or without the dress, powder, or lipstick! Thanks, Finn...for helping me with my proper mental approach to sewing. Now, I know it's quite simple really...the way to positive quilting is simply to...Giterdone!

I goterdone: "Irish Eyes are Smiling" Quilt #4 for Finn's Challenge. Tally up my list, Finn!

Tips: String Quilting:Tutorial and Free Patterns



Finn's New Year's Eve Small Projects Challenge:
Small Project #14: Mulled Wine Mug Mat

Finn's New Year's Eve Quilt Challenge:
Quilt #11: Twilight Dreams
Quilt #10:Far, Far, Away
Quilt #9:Green and Scrappy Love
Quilt #7 and #8: Follow Your Heart 1 and 2
Quilt #6: Stringing Along
Quilt #5: Within the Depths
Quilt #4: Irish Eyes
Quilt #3: Under the Pines
Quilt #2: Hope and Remembrance
Quilt #1 Hop to It!

Finn's New Year's Eve Small Projects Challenge:
Small Project #14: Mulled Wine Mug Mat
Small Project #11-13: Two pillowcases and a senior bib
Small Project #10:Follow Your Heart Potholder
Small Projects #2-9: sr bib, potholders and a bag
Small Project #1: Get Well Postcard

18 comments:

  1. Cute post....put the lipstick on!! lol!! It was pretty, loved the colors...

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  2. Wow. Those Singer sewing instructions are a trip. Just shows how much our society has truly changed.

    This was a great post to read. Congrats on finally finishing your quilt.

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  3. Congrats on #4. You're motoring right along. I'm so thankful Finn has this challenge. It certainly got my mojo going. Hugs

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  4. That's quite the story! I can't believe it's been waiting for love all this time! =)

    I also enjoyed the reading about when to sew. =) I go to a different room and shut out the rest of what needs to be done. =)

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  5. Great post Michele! The green diamonds really look like emeralds! Bravo!

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  6. Michel, está preciosa!!!, valió la pena recuperar este UFO que tenías guardado en un cajón. Los colores me encantan. Las recomendaciones del manual de Singer son maravillosas. Vamos a tener que seguirlas. Un beso

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  7. Can you honestly see me sitting down at the machine immaculately dressed, with the French chalk and the lippy!

    I'm laughing out loud.

    What a wonderful end for Irish Eyes.

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  8. I love it! And I love that you tied it. In the last year and a hake I've tied a bunch of quilts at our HeatStrings sew-INS and I love finishing them that way.

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  9. It is a beautiful quilt, and it looks wonderful tied. Your prayers have been answered - the quilt did get done.

    Sometimes I wish I did have have the type of energy that Singer calls for - to get all the housework done, look attractive, AND get some sewing done. No wonder they were worried about the husband getting home, by the time they did all that, there was no time left for sewing! At least, when the hubby gets home, she can ask him to make dinner, since she didn't do it first.

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  10. I feel guilty after reading this post as somedays I just stay in my pj's and throw something in the crock pot....hmmm, on those days I think it would be easier to stay that way and get alot done. How much did those women get sewn with everything else they worried about?

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  11. Thanks for your post about the mental approach to sewing. I think you've asked a lot of good questions and your finished quilt looks great!

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  12. Those Irish Eyes are, indeed, smiling with happiness and contentment! You did good! Just keep those stitches and prayers going. Hugs, Finn

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  13. Thankyou for visiting me in my Parallel Universe! I hope we do meet there, one of these days.
    Have enjoyed reading your post and relating to seam ripping and UFO works in my shelves.

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  14. YOu mean you don't have your nose powdered and your lipstick just right, and your hose on, and a dress, and, and, and!! WEll....me neither!! but I remember my mother dressing that way and how lovely she looked...wonder what she thinks about these sweats??

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  15. Look good Michele...green is my favorite color and I love scrapy string quilts. Great job!!!!

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  16. Good heavens! I would never get any sewing done if I had to have my dishes done, the beds made, a clean dress and lipstick on!

    The second time around was worth the wait. What a great quilt!

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  17. Wow! You really are up for a good challenge. Things are looking good here. :-D Love the 1949 Singer Rules!! It would be a very sad story if I had to follow those Singer Sewing Manual instructions on my sewing days. Does this mean that it's not a good thing to answer the door at mid-day while still wearing my pj's - which are usually covered in threads? Huh, who knew? Not so many sewing days here these past months - wish I had more time for breaking those Singer Rules! Heehee.

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  18. Qué entrada tan bonita!!!. felicitaciones por ese millón de visitantes...y que sean muchos más. Un beso

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Michele Bilyeu blogs "With Heart and Hands" as she journeys between Douglas, Alaska and Salem, Oregon.