Friday, January 18, 2019

the stuff you are making...

"the stuff you are making is also making you"

i read those words the other day, over on sarah swett's blog


i've already paraphrased it down to "what we make makes us"

for simplicity's sake

but regardless of how you say it, the outcome is the same

it's pretty hard to become fully engaged in the process of making without some kind of change happening, in both how how you perceive yourself, and your relationship to the world around you

the more i work with teeny tiny bits of fabric, the less i want to waste - of anything, not just fabric or thread

the more i make use of what i have, the less i want to buy

the more potential i see in the things that surround me, the more things i notice

the more things from the natural environment i incorporate into my work, the more open i become to the creative possibilities of that which lays at my feet

the more i do handwork, the more handwork i want to do

it's like this great big burgeoning ideal, that just keeps growing and growing

i want to make fewer things, but i don't want to spend less time at it

i want to take the time to do it by hand, add in all the detail a piece needs, enjoy the process every step of the way...
 not racing to the finish, just to tick something off the list and add something new to it

the last time i did machine quilting i cursed and carried on  the whole time - how i despise machine quilting - and then I wondered why, if i disliked it so much, why did i persist in doing it?

why not go back to hand-quilting?

and so i am...


and just for fun, i decided to add it to my teaching roster for this spring

a hand-quilting class

to see if there any others like me

this is one of my samples for the class - using a commercial stencil, tiny stitches, the usual puckered up result that begs to be touched

my stitching is not perfect, by any stretch, but I'm ok with that


light grey thread on a cream chambray fabric


below is a small doll's quilt i made a few years back, machine pieced, hand-quilted


little hearts and criss-crossing the blocks


below is the wrong side of another quilt i made many years ago - about twenty-eight, give or take... 

i actually made it twice



the first time i made it i took the quilt top to the evening quilting group i belonged to

it was the first piecework i'd done and i was proud to take it and show our group

six basket quilt blocks, set on point with two plain setting squares - perfect for an intricate hand-quilted design
{back then hand-quilting was pretty much it... our group's introduction to machine quilting came about a year or two after this}

everyone commented on how lovely it was, pretty fabric, nicely done - all those wonderful encouraging words a beginner needs

i took it home and put it away - piecing was still the name of the game for me and i didn't want to tackle quilting just then

six months later, ready and raring to go, i took it from the cupboard, unfolded it and felt sick to my stomach... almost every single point of all the triangles that formed the baskets were cut-off

not one was pointy, as any good triangle should be

how did that happen?

how did i not notice it before?

why did no one say anything?

the answers were pretty simple:

because i wasn't careful about squaring up my blocks

because i didn't know i should be paying attention to such things

because they didn't want to discourage me

after stewing on it for a few days i decided the only way I would learn to pay attention was to take ownership of the mistakes so i took the entire quilt apart, pressed and straightened all the edges, re-sewed the blocks, squared them up and then put it all back together

lesson learned

making this quilt and then making it again made me more engaged in what i do than any words of advice ever could have

everything I've ever created has changed me 

the trick is to understand how...

10 comments:

Shortbread and Ginger said...

What a great post. You are so right about the more handcrafting we do, the more we want to do. I picked up my knitting again a few weeks ago and now can't stop. Can't imagine what I did with my time before. Your hand quilting looks lovely. Thanks for an insightful post.

Rachel said...

Yes, the more I stitch thoughtfully, the more I want to!

FlowerLady Lorraine said...

Wow, great post!! Oh to do everything in my life with more thoughtfulness and joy.

Any time I see hand quilting, I think it is oh so lovely.

Happy 2019 dear Jillayne ~ FlowerLady

Magpie's Mumblings said...

I simply cannot imagine taking a quilt apart and redoing it - you're definitely a stronger woman than I could ever hope to be! I might have cut it up and used it for something else (but then again, I wouldn't have been able to bring myself to do that prior to taking Karen's Wrapping Cloth class!), but most likely it would have gone in a yard sale or to the thrift store (or even....horrors.....in the trash). I like your statement that the more you do handwork, the more you want to do. That's so true. I feel as though a little part of me dies if I can't spend time every day in some sort of creative pursuit.

gracie said...

Good post...none of us is perfect.... our creative pieces should be just what they are.. creative.

Elizabeth said...

Great post which gives more than enough to ponder over ... Thanks Jillayne and enjoy your weekend!

Christine B said...

Your sheer perseverance in everything you do never fails to astound me.... re the pointy quilt! As for the rest of your words... well there is wisdom there. As usual your post feeds me with thoughts and ideas to ponder.

Marj Talbot said...

Very nice - If I could, i'd attend your hand quilting class. Lovely.

Janie said...

I think your work is fabulous, past and present.
Past projects are like milestones, reminding of where we started and how far we've come.
A thing to celebrate actually.

Karen Ruane said...

a very lovely, thought provoking post Jillayne.
I know you aren't home right now but I wanted to say.....
kidnap is illegal. You can't steal him. :) xxxxx