Concentration…..

Now that I have got past my first blog, I should probably explain that the reason that I volunteered to be a blogger for UKQU was for my own benefit! I felt that I was something of a contrast to all the brilliant, experienced quilt bloggers that are on this site by being clear that, as well as being not perfect, however much we want to quilt all of the time, life gets in the way. But I also wanted something that would push me to go and make, because I needed something to be able to blog about!

I am still having trouble finding the time to do the piecing and quilting that I want to do, but I still have things to say – those who know me would not find that a surprise!

Stuff made since my last blog:

This is a cushion cover that I pieced using slightly modified instructions that I was kindly given by my quilting friend Angelika Monks. It became a cushion cover for my daughter, but I forgot to take a picture of the final product! There is another cushion to be completed and some place mats in the pipeline in the same fabric (Stuart Hillard Sewing Bumble Bee by The Craft Cotton Co).

This is a detail of some very simple hand quilting I did. It was my contribution to the #notgoing movement – those of us who didn’t go to FOQ had to do something! It was interesting for a couple of reasons, as it was my first time using a precut kit (which came from Jordan Fabrics in the USA and was delivered by a visiting relative from the USA) and it was my first decent bit of work after having a carpal tunnel operation. The operation has taken rather longer than I expected to heal, but I probably had unrealistic expectations! The hand quilting was very soothing and good therapy, as it was just a little table runner, so easy to handle.

Things I have learned (or remembered) since my last blog:

– My ¼ inch seams are not as ¼ inch as I would like.

OK – I know, people use the term ‘scant’ ¼ inch seam. Sorry, I have trouble getting a consistent ¼ inch seam without this ‘scant’ malarkey! I have to say though, it did help when I found my ¼ inch foot, but even with this I tend to do slightly over large seams. So everything has a tendency to come up a bit small. Must try harder.

– Finger pressing is not good enough – at least for me.

I see people on videos doing their piecing and, so they don’t need to interrupt their sewing, they ‘finger press’ their seams as a temporary measure ie use their thumbs and finger to press their just sewn seams to one side. They then tell you how wonderful it is when they have finished the block and it is sitting beautifully flat and neat prior to ironing. Well, I’m sorry, but either I am doing this wrong or I am not clever enough for this, but I cannot get my pieces finger pressed adequately, so back to the iron it is!

– Don’t be afraid to (or forget to) square up your blocks.

After completing my blocks, I need to remember to square them up as best I can ie make sure the blocks are the shape they are supposed to be and as near to the expected size as possible. Even the expert piecers and quilters that we know need this occasionally, and it makes it so much easier to piece the blocks together. Guess how I remembered this?

– Find a way to make, even if it is only for half an hour.

I need to make regularly – even if it is only for a short while. That concentration on something entirely different is a complete stress buster. A distraction is important under normal circumstances, but when you are stressed it is even more so. By hand or machine, just make time for sewing if you can!

– Pre-cut kits are useful when you just want or need to get down to some sewing.

This fits in with the ‘find a way to do it’ item above. Pre-cut kits are useful. The fact that the fabric is pre-cut is not necessarily ideal, as I know that some people would say that this takes the fun out of the process because you cannot choose your own fabric. However, it is very useful when you just need to sew but you are limited for time, or if you have some dexterity problems which can make it difficult to cut out accurately. Also, a pre-cut kit can push you to work with colour combinations that you might not have tried before. So don’t dismiss them.

– Christmas is not in my creative vocabulary in September (and even October)!

Sorry – I had trouble dealing with Christmas in September! It seems that people have been mentioning the C word since before September, and it is filling me with dread! I must say, though, that I have been thinking about it, as I need to get the Beast completed and I need a tree skirt this year. I WILL get on with this.

– Don’t be so po faced! (Me, not you!)

I have tested a pattern and reviewed a product this month. Both were really interesting and thoroughly enjoyable to do, as I have never done anything like this before. Also, as a relatively inexperienced quilter, I hoped that I could give a slightly different view on each of these. However, I must remember that I am not doing this for work, therefore the reports don’t need to be so formal (see – I even called them reports!). I need to take it seriously, as I always would, to provide the feedback that I have been asked for, but really – do I need to be so po- faced about it? No I don’t. Far too serious!

And finally – Something for you to think about:

We are engineers, because we use tools to create things. Just because the things we create are soft and ‘cwtchy’, does not make the idea of a fabric engineer any less valid.

NB Cwtchy – Welsh, from the word cwtch (or cwtsh), which means a Welsh hug.

Responses

  1. Karen Wallis

    Great blog Cheryl! You go girl! I look forward to following your progress.

    Also, thanks for mentioning the #notgoing campaign which was fun for us, but unfortunately lost in the aftermath of FOQ pictures. Perhaps the UKQU website will search #notgoing on FB page and compile a picture gallery, as we all did extreamly well for the duration of the FOQ, one #notgoing piece even made the pages banner for the page!