My seams are unseemly!

As someone who started out in quilting as an art quilter sewing squares and triangles never really held much attraction or fascination for me.  That is until recently when my little sister announced to the world that she was having another baby. That is when I decided I would make her a baby quilt.   As much as I love art quilts they really aren't all that practical as baby quilts.  I thought I might go with something a bit more traditional; how hard could it be?  I found a pattern I liked, a simple disappearing nine-patch (how quaint I thought!).  Oh I was naive.

I cut all my squares..easy! I started sewing them together..a breeze I thought, I will be done in no time...then I started sewing rows together.  At this point you could hear the proverbial needle screech across the record.  The blocks didn't line up.  At least some of the didn't anyway.  I reached for my trusty seam ripper and ripped out the thread.  Okay, I thought, let's try this again, slower this time and with a 1/4 inch seam guide.  I stepped on the pedal and once again began to sew my rows of neat little blocks together.  I took it off the machine and...no dice... although little better ... still huge gaps.  Okay, time to dust off those old "traditional" quilting books.  I read and read.  Unfortunately the books weren't much help.  What was the trick?  Thousands of people people do this every day.  Why can't I?  I have created dozens of beautiful art quilts, dyed and painted my own fabric, digitally printed fabric and even sewn clothes.  Why couldn't I sew little blocks together and make them match up?  

After scouring the internet I came across a blog called MicheleMadeMe.com.  On her site she showed some very clear instructions for matching seams.  Following her instructions made things much easier.  Finally, MOST of my seams matched, but not all.  What's the deal?  Were my blocks cut wrong? No Was my ruler off? No.  Was my machine broken? No.  

At this point I decided to contact a Facebook friend and begged her to explain to me this mysterious, magical seam matching process.  She went through, step by tedious step, of my sewing process.  She agreed that I was using the correct techniques, machine and tools.  Then what was keeping my seams and squares from lining up properly?  Could she PLEASE enlighten me?  What do I need to do to make this magical process occur.  Her advice was as simple as it was humbling"

"PRACTICE!"

Ouch.  It appears that sewing little squares together isn't as easy as I had imagined.  And while I never publicly voice my opinions to my "traditional" quilting friends I had always assumed that sewing squares and triangles was not so much an art form as it was a matter of simply following a pattern  It appeared I owed more than a few people an apology, even though they were not aware of my internal thoughts.  I reviewed the images that people had posted to Facebook or pictures of quilts they had sent to me.  Hats off to you my seam-matching friends.  I truly had no idea!  My apologies.

I feel as though my quilting education has begun again.  I also began to think how I could incorporate these perfectly matching seams (which I have yet to perfect) into my artwork.   We shall see. Until then I plan to practice, practice, practice. This is my penance for not realizing sooner that these little squares and triangles are truly an art unto themselves.  

1 comments:

  1. Reading about your experience with the "traditional quilting techniques" reminded me of my Grandmother who passed away last year at the age of 99. She was know around the community as the quilt maker. In fact, she had made so many quilts throughout her lifetime, she was given an soldiers honor gravesite service with the exception of one of her quilts as the flag that is placed over the casket. She was an exceptional women of love and compassion and it was believed she instilled those attributes into every stitch.
    And speaking of every stitch, I can recall the many times grandma had her quilting frame set up in her living room and she was hand stitching every square, and I thought to myself, "wow, what incredible patience it must take to create such an artwork"...

     

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