Monday, April 4, 2011

Speed. I am speed.

I am not good with slow sewing.

I've done one tiny cross stitch, about a decade ago now.

Shown here sitting on a DVD so you can see what a truly epic achievement it's 651 crosses are.

No embroideries.

No, the image hasn't failed to load. There's really nothing to show for this one.

And I machine sew my bindings.

But even that takes too long, because even on the machine, you can't do it quickly. You have to go slowly, and concentrate.

You may be wondering at this point how the hell I manage to quilt at all. Well, I direct you to my Quilts So Far list, and you may note that in the last 10 months, I've made 48 tops. 48 very quick tops. Practically flung through the machine and under the iron.

They're all fairly simple ones too; I'm under no illusions about the lack of complicated, fiddly piecing in my repertoire. That stuff takes too long for my liking. Way too long.

Feel free to say it's a side effect of the "now" mentality of the younger generation. Alternatively, it's quite possible I don't like quilting it all, more that I like having quilted. Either way, anything that takes more than an hour without any visible progress is something I usually can't be bothered with. Usually.

So then why the hell have I spent the last day and a half hand sewing a binding down? Putting it through the machine may take an hour or so, once you've made your binding and pinned it and sewn it and ironed it and sewn it twice more,* but I've watched four movies (The Bounty Hunter, The Proposal, Blade Trinity, RED) in the course of attaching this binding. And an episode of Bones. That's a massive amount of time. And, after all that, I still had to slowly and carefully run it through the machine, because even though I've been careful, and it looks very nice, even nicer than the ones I look at at Stitch and Knit, I worry that it's not secure, and well, if I've invested half a weekend into this binding, I want it to stay down.

I did all this because I am in love with this quilt. A long time ago, before I was a quilter, back when I had a boyfriend, I had a dream of making a black and red chess board quilt. And I was going to make stuffed toy pieces and he was going to teach me how to play. He never taught me, and I didn't start quilting until long after he was gone, and most of my red fabrics I'd bought for it got used for making Mama Jan's Quilt, but I think this, my red and black and white quilt, is the rebirth of that mythical quilt that never was.

The weird thing is, this was never one I was particularly hyped about. I bought the bundle of fabric that I used for the top because it was $20, and I had already bought it in blue, orange and brown, and that bundle had turned into a quilt I love so so much, which now hangs on my wall.

I wasn't even super-psyched about the top - I put it away and left it for over 3 months.

But then I worked myself out a back, and it all came together. Just from looking at the photos, the back totally wins. But in real life, away from the flash of a late night camera, the greyer front is utterly snuggleworthy too. Normally, I have no trouble choosing a favourite, and therefore I have no trouble machine sewing the binding on (by that I mean I have no qualms about it, it's still a hassle) but for this one, having used wavy stitch for the quilting and not wanting to either mess up the back with a badly done standard machine binding, or mess up the front with a straight stitched double machine binding* I went for hand sewing it.

I'm glad, since it looks bloody gorgeous all round now.

I don't like having to choose sides. I also don't like hand sewing, but the latter you have to live with for a day. The former you have to live with forever.

*Tomorrow I'm gunna post photos of the Hawks Quilt and tell you all how I do my double wide binding. If you straight line machine quilt, it could be the thing for you.


  1. Completely and utterly gorgeous. The whole thing just sings! No wonder you're so proud. The universe decided this quilt couldnt be made until ABF(after boyfriend) so you can love it forever.

    LOVE that binding Sara.

    I find that while I hate hand binding I'll do it on quilts I completely love and honestly it does look better...

  2. Sara you know I do the whole quilt by hand, I even have one on a recliner chair, it has been on there for over ten years and not one of those millions of tiny hand stitches is even showing the tiniest bit of wear. I think your being very over cautious but I guess thats us all over isnt it.
    Oh and is this quilt one that your going to say "you like the back better!" Welcome to my world

  3. ditto what shay said. gorgeous. I love both sides and the binding too.