Recently, as I’ve been working long hours in my business, I’ve been thinking more and more about WHY I like to make my own quilts and do all my own “stunt sewing.” What I mean by that is that I enjoy every part of the quilt making process. From designing the pattern, to finishing the final binding stitches by hand, I really do enjoy taking ownership of the entire process. What you may or may not know is that many designers enlist the help of others to complete their projects, and this is TOTALLY OK!!
In addition to teaching how to quilt, I love talking about the business of quilting, too!
Some enjoy designing, some enjoy piecing, some enjoy quilting or finishing, and some like to do it all. For a prolific designer that has weekly or monthly deadlines, many times there’s simply not enough time to do all of the work themselves, so they enlist the help of “sewing fairies” (sometimes paid, sometimes not, depending on the arrangement). This can be mutually beneficial to both parties, each getting to do what they love best. After all, the worst thing a sewing professional can do is miss his or her deadlines, if they want to stay in business and build relationships with other industry companies.
I’m one of those weirdos that actually loves to hand bind. I love the slow-pace stitching!
I’ve had many offers both to help with my sewing, or to be a stunt sewer or quilter for others. And every time I’ve politely declined. I’ve been pondering why that is. The best I can come up with (other than my type A control freak personality that I try to keep under wraps) is that I’m afraid it would feel more like “work” and less like “fun” if I only did one thing over and over and over.
While machine quilting is certainly my favorite part of the quilt-making process, it’s not the only thing I want to do. I actually tried machine quilting for hire many years ago and it was not the right fit. Quilting for me is very meditative, and each part of the process engages a different area of my brain. I actually get bored if I only do one thing over and over, so by constantly switching back and forth between designing, piecing, quilting, and hand-sewing it allows me to fully enjoy each part of the process. I’ve even come to enjoy basting, once I figured out an efficient method!
Machine quilting is my favorite technique – but I enjoy the entire process.
I realize that in the end, doing all of my own work will mean that I make less quilts. But I’m totally okay with that. I also prefer to make one quilt at a time from start to finish, rather than having a whole bunch of WIP’s (works in progress) going on at the same time. That’s just too much mental chaos for me, LOL!! I enjoy the process of making, but I also love the thrill of getting to the finish and checking it off my list!
Because teaching machine quilting is a big part of my focus right now, I think it helps me relate to my students by piecing my own quilts. Quilting a real quilt is a LOT different than demonstrating a free-motion design on piece of plain fabric. So, by quilting a quilt top I’ve pieced myself, I’ve gained experience on how best to prepare a quilt top FOR machine quilting. I also have lots of time to think about what machine quilting designs will look best on the quilt I’m currently making, while I’m piecing it. I’m of the opinion that “you can’t rush art” so by having this extra thinking time, I’m usually ready to go once it’s time to quilt.
I love a yummy stack of finished quilts!
I hope this helps you understand a little bit more about my process, and why I do things the way I do them. Again, remember, this is is NOT a one size fits all strategy. It’s just what works for me. My biggest goal with quilting is to help encourage you to do what works for best for YOU. 🙂
So what are your thoughts? Do you prefer one part of the process over any other? There are no wrong answers here, I’m just curious. 🙂