August 29, 2011

Odds And Ends From The Pig Pen!

As I was putting on the border of the quilt I showed last evening, I got to thinking about how my likes and dislikes, as far as quilting goes, have evolved over time!  I used to  hate piecing with a passion! My friend Debbie and I would sit for hours cutting out quilt tops and put them into shoe boxes never for the light to see again, in my case!  I have no idea how many tops I have cut out in my lifetime, only never to sew them up!  I hand quilted and was happiest sitting under the frame working the needle in and out of the fabric and trying to keep my stitches as tiny, uniform and as straight as I could!

I was very proud of  my handquilting talent and was always receiving compliments galore because of it. My friend Jackie told me many times that my stitches were so even and tiny, that it looked almost machine done.  But my fingers knew better!

My Granny Ida taught me all about hand quilting and the importance of doing the best job possible, especially if I were going to quilt for the public!

And that is exactly what I did! I had one customer, Mrs. Johnson, bless her kind soul... she always wanted me to quilt her quilts on both sides of the seam. I would quote her a price and she would have a say about it until I reminded her that I was actually quilting her quilt twice!  Then she would smile and give in to allow me to work my magic on her quilt.

I have only quilted one whole cloth in my time and my Aunt Zula Mae purchased it the day I finished the binding.  I had not intended on selling it but she is special to me so I let her have it. One of these days I will quilt another one but it won't be by hand.
In February 2007 I started experiencing numbness in my right hand and was diagnosed with carpal tunnel syndrome.  In lieu of surgery, I go to my chiropractor for adjustments and so far he has kept me away from the knife. So, I no longer hand quilt.

I now quilt on a Gammill Classic Plus longarm system and have grown to love the work that I put out from it.  At first it was intimidating to say the least but now I just relax and have fun.  I really love teaching others what I know and would be happy if I had a full time job of doing so!

Some days I have a hard time deciding which I had rather be doing... quilting or piecing!  Some days upstairs just calls out to me so strong that I find myself upstairs before I know what hit me!  But I have to spend more days downstairs in the quilting studio than upstairs piecing  because customer work comes first.

I am in the beginning stages of designing a quilt for one of the major quilt shows and I have decided to devote a good bit of time to doing just that!  I will still take in quilts for others but on a very limited scale.... and most of those will only be show quilts.  I do have 4 or 5 customers who are expert piecers and I will quilt for them no question about it!  And that will still leave lots of time open for me and my own show quilts!



This is another area in which I have changed... I don't want to be "everyone's quilter" the rest of my life. I want to quilt for myself and enter shows and get my work out there!  I really want to make my mark in the quilting world somehow before I can no longer quilt!

I have 3 quilt shows brewing in my mind and am in search of a partner at this moment to come on board with me. The 3 venues in my mind would be pretty new to the circuit so I am certain they would be successful!  And hubby and I are still researching bed and breakfasts and retreat centers. This is my dream and I will make it happen or at least die trying!  If I don't at least try, I will never know if I could have!

So, on this beautiful Monday morning why don't you share how your  likes and dislikes have changed in your quilting throughout your life. And share your dreams with us too! We all have dreams!

4 comments:

Kath said...

What an interesting post Thearica, I did enjoy reading this. I too love to quilt by hand although I am just a beginner, I find it very relaxing and satisfying.
I just love to feel that connection between all the women who went before us, who made practical and beautiful quilts, from necessity as well as pleasure.
My ambition it to make some things for my own home, as everything I have ever made has been given to friends and family.

katiemedarlin said...

When I first started quilting, I pieced and quilted it all by hand. As I've gone further, I've started to machine piece and use a long arm. My fabric choices have REALLY changed though. I used to love calico and plaid, but now I'm definitely a batik girl.

I've recently tried to hand quilt and it sure wasn't pretty. So I've gotten out a whole cloth preprinted piece and will be sandwiching that up soon. I really don't want to lose the hand quilting skill I worked so hard to perfect. As the other reader said, there's something to be said for that connection to all those who went before us, my own grandmother and mother included.

debbie said...

hey, girl! saw your post here. yep, we passed many wonderful hours together cuttng, quilting, cross-stitching, talking and dreaming. sure do miss those times, and miss granny ida, too. i was wondering if you were still thinking about that retreat. i know that once you make up your mind to do something, there won't be any holding back. you'll get there when the time is right. love and miss you.

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