Tuesday, January 4, 2011

the process

My new found obsession with quilting has found me reading anything I can get my hands on, from tutorials and tips to quilters' reflections on quilting. I've ordered a couple of books and have been reading far too many sewing websites in the evening when I can't make too much noise in my sewing room for fear it will wake the boys (and the downstairs neighbors' kids). This caught my attention today.

I understand exactly what she means about the meditative benefits of the process and the repetition. Sewing reminds me a little bit of my translating work in that you break everything down only to put it back together again, and you leave your mark on it in the process. It has always been the process that I enjoy the most about translating, the step-by-step of it, the little pieces that make up the whole. I might spend an hour on one paragraph and then half an hour on the two pages that follow, and sewing projects are a little bit like that as well.

I'll admit that I also like the solitude of both. There is something so incredibly satisfying about losing yourself in a project completely. So, anyway, I think that this is part of what has drawn me to quilting.

Speaking of which! Although my abilities are nowhere near any of the women's whose blogs I've been reading, I am enjoying lots and lots of highly satisfying progress. The boys played so well this afternoon that I managed to devote a couple hours to my 9 square quilt and it is coming along nicely. I like it more and more as I work on it. I realize most people would consider it a very easy quilt, but it has provided me with exactly the kind of practice I need. It is my first time using a rotary cutter, my first time doing piecework and my first time doing all the measurements on my own rather than from a pattern or making and cutting out a pattern first.

This quilt is nothing like the quilt I planned. It is much bigger, for one thing, since I miscalculated my seam allowance by 2cm! And the fabric is completely different than what I had wanted to use since I was too impatient to wait for it to arrive from the US. I have tons of scraps too, which I will probably use for a scrappy binding since I overestimated the amount of fabric I'd need. But I kind of love it anyway. It has definitely given me more confidence to attempt more complicated projects, and I am much more adept at measuring and cutting and pinning and sewing than I was at the start.

I think I will probably always love this quilt because it will be my first real size quilt, even if there are tons of mistakes and I'm not crazy about some of the fabrics I chose (what was I thinking?). The 9-star block might not be exactly the most elegant composition I could have gone with but there is something homey about it and it makes me smile whenever I go into my sewing room, switch the light on, and see it laid out on the guest bed waiting for me. And I know that when it is finished, I will probably remember the process of it - and my discovery of that process - whenever I look at it.

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