Friday, September 15, 2017

How to start a quilt (in the midst of a mess)

There are two kinds of quilters: those who have every tool and scrap of fabric organized and put away, and those who haven't a clue what she has, where it is, or how to find it. 

Can you guess which one I am? If you said clean, organized, and put together, you'd be right. 

Unless you came for a visit right now. Or last month. Or maybe for the next couple of months. There are so many things "stored" in my studio, that I now have to walk through a pathway to get from one door to the other. I was at the point of giving up but, as I am wont to do, I turned my problem into Richard's problem. His promise is as good as done, and I've got his promise to clear out some of my problem. (Did I talk myself into a circle?)

In the meantime, I'm ignoring as much of everyone else's messes and sewing around their piles. How is it possible? Ah, it is. Just clear out a little corner of the worktable, the sewing table, the ironing board and the floor. No kidding! 

I got tee shirts over the weekend and began working on a customer's tee-shirt quilt. I have a small window for getting it completed. But I also got an injection in my right shoulder yesterday. 

Unfortunately, that closed the window quite a bit since today I cannot raise my right arm. I cut most of the shirts Tuesday and Wednesday, and I began organizing and pressing them today.

A few of the shirts could be prepared by hand, so I pulled that off.  Also, I managed to sew a few panels together. When the pain got too serious, I left the machine and made decisions about some of the more puzzling shirts.

One puzzle was this karategi, or karate uniform jacket, which I've decided to treat in a special way on the quilt. I try to do something surprising on each memory quilt I make. I like the idea of giving the customer something extra to show to friends and family--a conversation starter with two conversations to share.

I had hoped to finish my cutting today, but using a rotary cutter is almost impossible with this shoulder. These soccer jerseys will have to wait until I can move again. 

And this football jersey is going to take even more thinking before I make the first cut. Tee shirts, which are worn only a few times or as a common everyday item, do not intimidate me. Oh, but something like this...oh, yes! Imagine the memories that this football jersey holds. 

The recipient is going to look at these shirts and remember his glory days at East Ascension High. If you look closely at the jersey, you can see that it was torn and ragged in a few games. The seams go from neck to hem--battle scars, if you will.

For me, it's not just measure and cut. It's choose carefully the best technique for the item. Cut just as carefully, and sew with a professional look in mind. 

Each shirt gets one chance when the rotary cutter goes to work and no one likes to rip seams. The worst, though, is thinking of a better way to present an important shirt after it's been cut and sewn.

When you need more time or you don't have the space (or body ability) to accomplish what you want, do as I did today. Clean some of your work surface. Put tools and extras away. Sweep the floor. Luckily, those are jobs that I can do without the use of my right arm and will help resolve the storage problem that I've had since the kids moved in. 


Regine Karpel said...


Kaja said...

I work in a mess, even though I have to pack everything away each time I stop. I start tidy but it only takes half an hour to spread my stuff over every surface in sight. I hope your shoulder is better soon.