Friday, March 16, 2012

Always Learning


This is only one shelve of one bookcase I have for my quilt library

I'm always learning.  

Though I've been quilting for years, yonks, eons, I'm always at one time or another in my quilting life - learning.  Nothing brings this realisation home to me as quickly as when I'm challenged to walk on 'the road less travelled' in quilting techniques.

Just recently I've been planning and executing appliqué projects.  Something I wouldn't have considered in my realm of abilities only a few short years ago.  But now having tackled at least the rudimentary aspects of this technique, I feel ok about going further and learning more.  I'm hopeful that one day I'll actually take on the ultimate challenge of a Baltimore Album quilt.  But that's still in the future.

Right now I'm in learning mode once again.  I've volunteered to submit a block to the Desperate Housewives quilt-a-long.  The block has to be an original design with tutorial.  I thought, I can do that.  And I have.  I've created a really cool block using that fantastic quilters tool Electric Quilt.  Though I could have designed the same block, and sort of did initially, on just a piece of draft paper, EQ makes the process soooo much easier and quicker.  So now that I've got the block designed, I'm met with the issue of what technique is best to produce it. 

I've decided that foundation piecing would give me the most accurate point for a star style block.  And as it's a modern interpretation of a star, it's a bit wonky and asymmetrical in it's style.  It could be pieced but foundation piecing will be more accurate and less confusing since the block construction is non-traditional.  So here's the rub.  I'm very inexperienced at foundation piecing.  Years ago I did a small project and it turned out well but since than I've haven't done any others using this technique.  In quilting as in a lot of things in life it's a 'use it or lose it' proposition.  And I think I've lost it.

So what is a quilter to do when faced with this dilemma?  Go to her extensive quilt book library of course.  And when I say extensive, I mean extensive.  When we recently moved to our new house both my husband and step-son were amazed (and frustrated) at the amount of books I had to pack and move - well, they had to move.  And once the boxes got here to my new sewing room I had the problem of finding a place for them as my new sewing space is smaller then my old one and I have less bookshelves to put them on.  So, they've ended up spread around the house a bit.  I'm hopeful that one day I'll get a few more book shelves that I can dedicate exclusively to my quilting library but right now whenever I need a book I have to go on the hunt.

Thank GOODNESS for experts!

I knew I had a few really good reference books on foundation piecing - I just had to find them.  Which I did after about an hour of looking and after consuming much coffee to keep my head from exploding from frustration.  So, after I send off this post to my blog, I'm going to settle down with yet another cup of coffee and troll through these books to refresh my brain on the correct technique for foundation piecing.  That way I'll make the experimental block, take photos in the process and write instructions with more knowledge under my belt.   Perhaps referring to expert advice first instead of just 'winging it' is going to be beneficial to me not only in producing the finished square and putting together instructions, but also to the person who's going to attempt making the block who may be like me - not experienced as a foundation piecer.  

Stay tuned for my block.  I should have it posted within the week.  Wish me luck!



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