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