Tag Archives: feedsack

What I was thinking; what was I thinking?

I dip in and out of various media for scattered amounts of time, but I probably think about sewing the most.

I feel like I’ve made hundreds of quilts, but most of those were in my mind – the reality has only been in the double digits.

I still haven’t reconciled the disconnect of quilts falling farther on the craft side of the art scale and my desire to just whip out some for practical reasons, but not fully committing the time to do so because time should be used for art or making money to live. But that doesn’t reconcile the fact that almost all of the knitting I do is practical and most decidedly pure craft since I’m often using other’s patterns. I feel at odds with much of the quilting “community” both on social media and what can be had with guilds and such locally, though I’m not much of a community person to begin with… And I could go on with my discomforts on precision and technique versus visual interest, weird bandwagons and fad fabrics, and the pacing – slow down and make slow shit versus be sure to crank things out to keep up interest…

But I’ll rest here since I don’t have much time to ponder all of this, and frankly I don’t really care – I’ve been making a few quilts that will either be finished or not, be practical or hang on a wall, and I’m sure I’ll start a few more in the meantime…

But there was a time (late 1990s) when I wanted to really study quilts, and I forgot about it until I unpacked some old sketchbooks a few months ago.

thinking-scrapbook

I specifically chose an art program for my undergrad that focused on classical art “training.” We had an obnoxious amount of drawing classes and a somewhat rigorous prescription of moving up and through various media before finally focusing on our chosen one after a couple of years of fundamentals. I roughly still feel a sense of “you have to know the rules to break the rules” about making or doing most things, but my interactions with fiber have shoved most of that in its face. I spin but I don’t know shit all about twist; I knit but still knot when I shouldn’t; I sew but I don’t understand most of what anyone is staying about various seams and stitches and grains and biases.

Okay, I do know a bit, but from trial and error rather than a slow concentrated graduating effort.

thinking-blocks

So I think it was with this in mind that I started really looking at quilts – mostly old ones, especially depression-era, since I was collecting reproduction vintage feedsack fabric at the time. I think I wanted to make a grand all hand-stitched “traditional” quilt. At the time (and still now) I’ve only made pattern-less [I guess the kids are calling them] “improvisational” quilts.

So I printed off pictures of vintage quilts up for sale on ebay and pasted them into a sketchbook.

thinking-redblocks

And checked out lots of books from the library and copied the traditional squares. I’m not sure if I was too cheap to make photocopies or I thought sketching them would help me decide if I liked them or not…

thinking-storm

And I’m pretty sure I came really close to choosing the “storm at sea” as my traditional quilting masterpiece…

But then what?

Grad school intervened? I took up knitting? I didn’t have enough of the right kinds of fabric in my stash? (I still don’t) I didn’t have the focus to start cutting out the same shape over and over and over again? I couldn’t choose the colors?

I still don’t have the focus or proper stash to execute something more traditional, but I’m thinking about it again…

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Quilts in my past, part IV [and an update to part I]

Henry’s baby quilt (toes not included).

Hank's babyquilt1

No, this is not another picture of Yasmina’s quilt, but many of the fabrics are the same, though with hers, the “blocks” were smaller.  This one came a few years before that one, and was my first “crib quilt.”  I remember getting the roll of pre-cut cotton batting and upon opening it, had a WTF moment when I saw how big it was… I was thinking cribs were small and babies were small, and the whole thing would be small and quick, but it was about four times the size I thought it would be.  And aren’t babies not supposed to sleep with blankets anyway?  But regardless, it was still smaller than a twin, so I got some more fabric and soldiered on.  Much of this is from my original stash of reproduction feedsack, and my personal favorites are the blue border with the geese and the yellow pinwheely things.

And an update of Henry’s twin-size quilt with current pictures after a few years of use.

Hank's twin2

Hank's twin1

See, I thought that binding sucked – it was too wide and folded over… ah well, as I mentioned before I hate that part of the quiltmaking process.  Actually, I sorta like hand-sewing the back part on when done in a different way [insert proper term here] but this was an act of speed and I sewed both sides through like a sandwich [insert another appropriate term here].  If you haven’t noticed already, I’m a self-taught quilter, and I am a bad teacher who hasn’t assigned much book learnin’ except for looking at pictures.  Lots and lots of pretty pictures of quilts from way back when…  I hesitate to delve deeper into the actual mechanics of the thing because I tend to either loose interest or become completely obsessed when faced with loads of new knowledge.  Knitting took over my life after I forcibly removed myself from only the garter stitch, and hence a monster was born.  I want to keep quilting a bit more in check I suppose, but I do need some more skills in the binding department – mitered corners perhaps?  But I also do have limitations on what my vintage sewing machines can do – none of that long-arm freestylin,’ freewheeling, happy-go-lucky, devil-may-care quilting for me, though I’d like to….

Thanks to my sister-in-law for sending the pics and Charlie for modeling!

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Quilts in my past – part II

Yasmina’s quilt.

As with my family, my friends didn’t have any children either, but when my best friend from college told me she was pregnant, I happily started quilting away even though she lives in a tiny house on a tropical island and doesn’t need one.  At the very least I thought it might be good for tossing on the tiled floor when the babe crawled around.  The fabrics were partly left over from the first crib quilt I made for my nephew plus a few others – mostly though they came from a stash of reproduction cotton feedsack fabric that I collected in the late 1990s.  I loved the stuff, but a lot of it seemed too “baby” for the quilt I had intended to make for myself.  I still have some of it left, so at the very least it will re-appear in something in the future.  I think I was also thinking of a millennium* postage stamp quilt back in the day, which could still happen, but I’ll take out the millennium part of it.

yasmina's quilt 1

yasmina's quilt 2

I also neglected to photograph much of this one as well, which is also too bad since I can’t remember what I did with the back, and I spent a little more time to finish this one a bit better.  I believe the quilting was a random wavy line pattern.  She too has had another child who I have neglected with craft, but hopefully the quilt was used again, or at the very least was re-gifted to someone in a colder climate.

*My thoughts of a millennium quilt would have been one made of 2,000 unique pieces of fabric, or maybe I’d cheat and just have 1,000 unique used twice only…I have no idea how much fabric I already have though, so certainly I’d need hundreds more scraps…I guess people who made these were either social or rich, I am neither.

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