Thursday, October 24, 2013

Confessions of a Quilter

As I was traveling across the state this week, thinking about a class I'm teaching this week, I had reason to think about why I make some quilt patterns over and over again, and can't wait to finish just one of other patterns (if I finish it at all).  None of chooses all the same patterns as favorites as do other quilters, so it certainly is related to everyone's personalities and preferences.  I can put quilt patterns into four categories.  These are categories that are illustrative of my short attention span and other personality...quirks.   Your categories would likely be different.

1) Can't Make Enough of Them/Have Radar That Sees Perfect Fabric for Them.
I love patterns or techniques that are one block, structurally, but yield a different-looking block each time.  My first experience was Bethany Reynolds' "Stack 'n Whack," and I made plenty of them.  Then I discovered H.D. Design's "Four Patch Stacked Posies" and I like those even better--and made even more of them.   A few years ago I found  Maxine Rosenthal's "One Block Wonders," and I've been making them ever since; here's the most recent:

Crazy quilt blocks are all different, and there is almost unlimited opportunity to make it your own.  Love 'em.

Improvisational piecing is intriguing, because everything is a little different as you're cutting and piecing.

Oddly, though, I don't especially like to make sampler quilts.  No idea why.

2) Wonderments: Techniques/Rulers that Make Difficult Blocks Easy.
Top of my list these days:  Rapid Fire Lemoyne Star Ruler.  If you have followed my Facebook page you know that I can't seem to make enough of these.   And I bought a Christmas panel on a shop hop last weekend that I plan to dress up with Lemoyne Stars. 

Twister quilts are great fun because that twist turns a "fabric" of plain squares into something that looks hard, but it is easy, easy, easy.  (Sorry, Jeanine, I know this one is in the "Never Will Do Again" category for you.)

3) Classics.  They're classics for a reason.   Who doesn't love a Nine Patch?

4) Never Will Make Again.  All right, it was an experience, and I learned something, even if it is that I will never make another one.   I may even LOVE the quilt, but still know it's the only one. These tend to be very complex, and probably a great many small pieces, especially if there are a great many of the same block, with the same fabric.   It's not that I can't make them, it's that my attention span starts getting a little (or a lot) snarky with me.  And short. I make a block, been-there-done-that, let's move onto something else.

5) Stash Squatter.  It's still in pieces, in my UFO stash.  The odds are staggeringly high that I will never finish the darn things.  No disrespect to the patterns or the designers, they just aren't MY thing, but are right up the alley of other (better!) quilters than I.

6) Bore-dered.   Have I mentioned the short attention span thing? (My friend John says it's really just a heavy tendency toward multi-tasking. Thanks, my friend, for 30+ years of putting a positive spin on my quirks.)  I find that I am moving more toward Quilts Without Borders.   I can't tell you many quilt tops are sitting in my studio, waiting for borders.   It seems that when I finish the main part of the top I'm ready to be finished.  Bored.  (Have I mentioned the short attention span?  Oh, I have?)  Sometimes a quilt screams for a border or two, and sometimes it's happier without.  Or, maybe it's me that's happier without it.  I'll own that.

So what, you ask?   Why worry about categorzing? I find that it's easier for me to buy patterns/books/rulers that I will actually use if I'm more aware of my own quirks and limitations.    Goodness knows I have patterns/books/rulers I bought before I had figured out all of this.  Once in awhile I'm seduced by something I'll never make but they end up as just more  "decor" in my studio.

How would you categorize quilt patterns in your mind?  Hey, we might find that we can trade some of those unused patterns and books and rulers, if yours are quite different from mine!

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