I don't often join in things like this, but, yes, I will happily share Ten Quilty Little Secrets, and I thank Amy at Thirteen Spools for prompting me to do this! Furthermore, if I had a bit more time, I would have linked this earlier in the week. (However, school's back in session, and every mom and every teacher knows what that means; I did share with some students this week that there's a good possibility I'll be thinking about going to bed for the night by 6:00 this Friday!)
So here are my secrets, although some of them may be rather "guessable."
1. I simply do not understand the fascination with "Civil War Era" fabrics and quilts. I really can't figure out why anyone thinks those dark, dull colors are beautiful, and so far no one has been able to explain it to me. Of course, I'm happy to listen if someone can do so. (Yes, I did make a quilt from reproductions of 1850-75 era fabrics, but I chose my colors carefully, and it was not dull.) Actually, I'll expand upon that and say I don't understand why anyone wants to spend countless hours on a quilt that isn't pretty.
2. I can not understand why anyone wants to spend more money for a plastic sewing machine than I'd be willing to spend on a car when in five years the plastic sewing machine will no longer work or will work only with the investment of another thousand dollars (or several thousand dollars) to replace computer boards (which will be obsolete by then).
3. I have no understanding of why people would prefer a stitch regulator when it doesn't keep stitches all that even and it's fairly easy to learn to make even stitches with just a bit of practice.
4. I do not believe 100% cotton thread is superior to high quality polyester thread. I both piece and quilt with threads from Superior Threads and Fil-Tec, and most of the time they are polyester.
5. While I like the styles of some fabric designers, I simply don't understand why they use only a few colors in fabric line after fabric line. Bought it once, probably am ready to move on to different colors.
6. I started sewing by hand when I was two and using a sewing machine by the time I was seven or eight. I made all my clothing and many of my coats until around 1999. The skills I gained from decades of clothing construction made quiltmaking much easier to acquire.
7. I decided I would someday make a quilt when I was two. It took more than a couple of decades for me to finish school and begin addressing the quiltmaking skills.
8. When I began piecing and quilting (by hand, mostly) back in the 1970s, my only choices for learning were old books (decades old) from the library and information gleaned from aging quiltmakers (most of them Apostolic Christian and Mennonite ladies from Central Illinois).
9. While the products are beautiful, English Paper Piecing and Hexies hold no fascination for me. I've hand-pieced tiny hexagons for flower gardens and machine pieced larger ones. Both are faster and just as lovely as EPP. I think the Hexie thing is just past for me.
10. I'm shocked that there are quilt police still out there--and to this day I've never been able to validate their credentials.
11. Yes, I love my stash. After all, when I started building it, 100% cotton fabrics were really, really hard to find. I have fabrics inside the house and out in my little storage building. It's true that most of the ones in the storage building are from the 80's, and some day I'll either use them or give at least part of them away.
12. The only time my machines are likely to be exposed to expensive Schmetz machine needles is when a very, very special needle is necessary. For years I've used Organ brand needles ordered 100 at a time from California Thread Supply; they are every bit as good as more expensive brands and make me more willing to put in a new needle every few hours.
13. When I find parts of a quilter's stash at a thrift store, there's a good chance they'll come home with me if they are high quality fabrics. (If I decide not to use them, I can donate them to our prayer quilt ministry.)
14. I have absolutely no understanding why anyone anywhere at any time would think it's a good idea to put an unquilted top through the washing machine--and/or ask me to fix it after they've done so.
15. I know some quilters who insist that after they give someone a quilt they've made, they have absolutely no expectations that it will be well-taken care of; a gift is a gift, they say. However, if I spend days, weeks, months (and, occasionally, years) making a quilt, I do expect its new owner to treat it with respect. (I do expect a thank you note too.)
16. I'm starting to think that there are bloggers who claim to be making and finishing lots of things that they might not be making. I count something done only when it has been quilted, and since I'm the one who quilts it, it can take a while. I love the colors and I love the quilting. And I don't stipple or meander.
17. I love, love, love my vintage machines, especially the ones I can treadle. Their displays of temper or dissatisfaction are extremely rare--and, most often, the result of user-error or user-oversight. I love that they are metal throughout and with adequate oil will still be going strong in another hundred years. I have an intense horror of "re-purposed" vintage or antique sewing machines and treadles that are turned into weird yard art or strange furnishings. (Same goes for painting a treadle cabinet pink or something.)
18. I always suspect that the countless rows of straight line stitching on modern quilts are there because the makers haven't yet learned to free motion quilt, and they want those quilts finished!
19. I always have multiple projects in process because I need something to work on whatever my mood or emotions. I do have a certain admiration for people who can work on a single project from start to finish before starting another one.
20. It's really hard for me to justify the time it takes to make small kinds of other projects; I always think, "In that amount of time, I could have made a lot of progress toward a quilt that would last for years." The exceptions are that I'm willing to make small projects to test ideas for larger ones, and sometimes I just enjoy making smaller projects from extra pieces or small blocks left over from other quilts.
Yeah, more than 10 secrets, but that's because I've been quilting for 40 years--and I probably needed some kind of vent!
What's no secret at all: I love the fact that there are so many quiltmakers today, that we have a huge range of talents and skills, that we produce such a huge range of quilts.
I love the fact that once we begin quiltmaking, the ideas come so fast that we will never be able to make all the quilts our brains design.
If you'd like to share your quilty secrets, you can link, as I have, to Amy's post before the end of this week.
Happy quiltmaking, everyone.....,