Monday, June 6, 2016

Five Arguments I've Had With Quilts (And Who Won Them)

We quilters are accustomed to quilts talking to us, telling us what to do:  this fabric needs to replace that one, that block needs to go here, etc., etc.   Sometimes I talk back.  Well, I argue.  (When you live alone, I guess you like to argue with someone other than yourself sometimes, especially when you don't always win the arguments with yourself.)

Mind you, most of the time I listen to the quilts because they are usually right, but sometimes I'm a contrarian and I really don't want to do what they tell me.   Here are five of the most vigorous discussions I've had with quilts.   You don't need to keep score; I'll track which of us won the arguments.

1. "The sashing needs to be narrower.  Narrower.  Narrower."

This was simply trying to avoid very narrow sashing, because I know many people don't like to cut and piece narrower strips; they're "fussier" and you have to be careful about accuracy, because 1/16" error across a 1" cut is more noticeable than across, say, 2-1/2"--which is the size of the sashing I started with on Underwater Basketweaving.   Truthfully, I knew that was much too wide but it's a handy, common size in quilting.

So I cut it down to 2", then 1-1/2", and finally, reluctantly, 1" (finishing at 1/2").   Really, it couldn't have been any wider; it just looked too clunky and detracted from the diagonal block design.

Students in the class complained about it and, to to this day, some are still cursing my name.   Sorry, but it had to be!

Quilt:  1
Karen:  0


2. " The quilting needs to be straight lines.  And 1/4" apart."

I have a longarm (Molly) and I love her dearly, but she is hand-guided so straight lines are no picnic.  If a quilt is small enough I will opt to do straight lines on my domestic machine, rather than loading up Molly.  However, I was determined to get better at custom quilting on the longarm and this is a fairly sizeable quilt, so....

I wanted the green shapes to be quilted to look like plowing. The "fields" are quilted with straight lines, 1/4" apart.  I tried 1" apart.  I wasn't having any more luck with that argument here than I did with Underwater Basketweaving and the sashing.  So, 1/2" apart.  Sigh.  All, right; 1/4" apart.

 MOST of the fields are straight lines, 1/4" apart.  (I DID learn a lot while doing it.)  I rebelled and did one of the fields with 1/2" lines, and one even has curved lines, as if it was contour plowed.

So, I'm going to score this one as:

Quilt:  1/2
Karen:  1/2

3.  "This Focus Fabric is Perfect Where It Is.  Keep it."

I love the colors in the floral fabric at the top,  which is why I chose it to be the focus for my color choices for the rest of the quilt.  (This was made in a "Quilter's Playtime" class with Dianne S. Hire.  If you think you might like to try improvisational quilting for a whimsical quilt, this is a terrific resource.  It's out of print, but track down a used copy.  It's tremendous fun.)

I've been putting off quilting this because I just can't make up my mind about that fabric in the quilt.  As inspiration for color it was top-notch but I'm just not sure....The quilt keeps saying, "Keep me, keep me!"  but I'm still arguing this one.  "OK, smarty; what would you put in its place?"  "Well, maybe a solid color, or more black and white."  "Blah, blah, blah...."  

Yep.  This could go on forever.  And it very well might!

How to score this one?   Argument called on account of....wishy-washiness??


4.  "The cords need to extend into the binding."

I didn't argue this one for very long before I succumbed, because I really did agree with it.  But I almost rebelled while I was doing it.  The black was tricky enough--getting it to be in just the right spot, and EXACTLY the same width as the pieced cord was at the edge point where it met the binding.  But he floral?  Ay, yi, yi.  That angle was a hair-tearer.   A mathematician or a finish carpenter would have been able to do it in a flash, I'm sure, but I am neither of those.   There was some colorful language in that argument but the quilt fought back.

BTW, the name of the quilt is "Unplugged."  You don't need to be an electrician to know that ALL of these cords are unplugged.  It's a metaphor.  And the quilt told me that all the plugs wanted prongs. (And grounds, of course.)

Quilt: 1
Karen: 0

5.  "I want pink."

I like pink, I really do.  I can even wear it pretty well.  It just isn't really my thing.   When I first designed 'Boxed In" as a bonus pattern for my Frivolity group it was all black and white and grays, and I liked it that way.  But I wanted a punch of color in there.   I tried purple.  "I want pink."  Nope, not doing pink.  I tried teal.  "I want pink."  Nope, not doing pink.  I tried bright green.  "I want pink."   Sigh.

But I really didn't want to give in on this one so, in the end:

Quilt:  1/2
Karen:  1/2

The scoring (such as it is, incomplete as it is) puts the quilts a bit ahead but, of course, they were all a win for me, too; the quilts are better for it and it didn't hurt me to work through other options.

  I just like to win an argument now and then.