Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Handwork time

It's funny how quilting seems to go in cycles.  I'm not talking about the cycle of quilting for a while, and then getting interrupted for a while by life.  I'm talking about the natural cycle of making work that has very different phases.  First you piece, then you quilt, then you finish.  Each has its own tools -- the piecing foot, the walking foot or darning foot, and finally the hand needle. 

Sometimes you run through the cycle one quilt at a time, starting and finishing before you move on to another project.  But more often I find myself stuck in one part of the cycle for a long time, whether by choice or by necessity.

When I came home from my workshop at the end of May, I had a couple of weeks of piecing, finishing up seven quilt tops that were almost done.  Because they required so little work, it was exhilarating to crank them out -- a new accomplishment every day or two!  The minute I finished one, I moved on to another.

Then I proceeded to layer and quilt all seven pieces.  Again, momentum was on my side -- the tables were cleared off to make room for big stuff, the roll of batting was out of its box and at the ready, the walking foot was on the machine and I had bought a new supply of backing fabric. 

But then I could put it off no longer, and now I'm in the handwork and finishing part of the cycle.  For two weeks I've been sewing down facings and sinking thread ends.  Two Law & Order marathons have come and gone, and I'm still sewing.  And just when I thought maybe I was getting to the beginning of the end, I got a call that a piece I made a year ago has been accepted into a gallery show and needs to be delivered later this week -- and it doesn't have a sleeve yet.

Again, there's a certain bit of momentum in doing a lot of facings and sleeves at once, much of it having to do with clearing off a large workspace.  But it does get tedious.  I'm itching to do some piecing just for a change of pace, but I have a photo date next week and all of the new quilts have to be ready to go on the wall. 

Will I be a good girl and finish all the handwork?  Or will I be a bad girl and have the last couple of facings invisibly fastened with pins for the photo shoot?  Will the quilts never get sleeves until four days before they have to go to the gallery?  I'm pulled in both directions.   


  1. Just get on with it, ride the wave, and finish the handwork. When it's all over and done, you'll be glad you did.

  2. yes, and this wave is sure petering out fast

  3. I've got one getting a sleeve, a second one a binding, and a third one in the midst of quilting.
    Feels productive but this cycle has been going on since April! I'm antsy to start a new project too and will put off the other quilt sandwiches.

  4. I try to do all the hand sewing, including the sleeve, before I start the next quilt. I pass the time by watching my Craftsy videos while I'm hand-sewing - it certainly makes the time pass more pleasantly, if not more quickly.