Ten quilty little secrets

13 Spools

I nodded in agreement through 13 Spools’ quilty little secrets list (does anyone actually press? not me! I iron with steam, brute force and curse words) and chortled through the list by Molli Sparkles as they confessed their quilting ‘crimes’. As a fun exercise, I typed up my own list. I did not plan to share it here, but similar posts by blogging friends encouraged me to join in.

Me, hand-sewing a Whig rose quilt block.

Yep. Floral dress, floral block and floral couch.

  1. I adore floral prints.
    I know that solids are trendy now, but they never lure me to their corner of the quilt shop. I love florals. I would sew floral fabrics while wearing a floral dress and sitting on my floral couch if I could. Solid fabrics are nicest when they have a pattern or texture on them, like a polka dot! I like dots almost as much as I like florals. I do like solid white; it breaks up all my busy florals.
  2. I am a sucker for punishment.
    I seem to like to make my life difficult by choosing complicated projects. For example, I bought some French General fabrics and have so far spent two years making a Dear Jane quilt top. It is still not finished. Two friends bought some French General fabrics and made stunning quilts in a matter of weeks. Sometimes I am not sure if I am brilliant for challenging myself to try different techniques or completely stupid for making everything unnecessarily complicated. I certainly get a lot of value for money out of every little skerrick of fabric.
  3. I have never used starch.
    Never. Not even for ironing my clothes (a job I hate). I bought some, but I have not figured out when or why I might need to use it.
  4. I feel guilty whenever I use glue on a sewing project.
  5. I get very little sewing done when I meet up with my sewing group.
    I eat a lot of cake. I drink tea. I gossip.
  6. A glass of wine helps me relax for free-motion quilting.
    Perhaps the wine helps calm the fear. More than one glass and it is time to say hello to wonky stitches. Keeping the red wine a safe distance from the sewing is a good idea. I learned that lesson the hard way. Do not fret! I do not start drinking early in the day using quilting as an excuse.
  7. I love the patchwork side of making quilts, but I dread the quilting part.
    The joy of finishing a quilt top is short-lived. I start to get nervous when a top is finished and I have to baste and quilt it. I only let out a sigh of relief when I am past that point and up to the binding part. Binding is the easy home stretch. Yay! I am happy again! Quilting anything bigger than a lap quilt is super scary, and I usually need long-arm help.
  8. I rarely read the instructions in quilt patterns.
    I look at the templates, the fabric requirements, the pictures and the finished quilt. I might start to read when I get stuck. Sometimes, not even then.
  9. I passionately hate the term ‘low volume’ when used to describe fabric.
    I like the look of the fabrics the term is used to describe, but my fabric does not make any noise. Ever. I might talk to it, but it never replies. The pale fabrics, the pastel fabrics, the dark fabrics and the brightly coloured fabrics in my stash are as silent as each other. I have my radio on a low volume as I sew.
  10. I do not understand the divide between traditional and modern quilters and quilts.
    A few quilters are super traditional (like Aunt Reen) or super modern (like the talented and stylish Hillary of Entropy Always Wins), but most of us fit somewhere in the middle. Let’s all play together nicely.
    (I am not sure what to make of the contemporary quilters. Paint, vinyl, cat fur and found objects. Really?)

These clever bloggers also share their quilty little secrets. Read them, and you too will find yourself nodding and smiling in agreement!

What are your quilty little secrets?

56 thoughts on “Ten quilty little secrets

  1. My quilts sometimes look like they are made of cat fur so would that make me a contemporary quilter?! 😉

    I bought some glue to try out glue basting but i haven’t yet as it feels not quite right!

    • I don’€™t exactly know the rules, but the local association said that quilts made of non-traditional materials would fit in the contemporary category for judging. I think a small amount of cat fur is part of the traditional crazy cat lady school of quilting.

      I’€™ve been using glue this week on a small secret swap project and am tortured by guilt

  2. I love this post! I laughed out loud at the ones I can relate to. I haven’t a clue what else to call low volume prints. Quiet prints? I dread the quilting too. I usually pick out my first attempt of every quilt.

  3. 1) I never, ever, ever prewash anything. 2) I don’t use ‘proper’ quilting thread when I’m machine quilting. What’s wrong with the ordinary stuff…? 3) I hate pieced backings, it’s just hard work for something you don’t look at, and the only reason I ever do it is so I don’t have to buy more fabric. 4) ‘Good enough’ is, well, good enough. Finished is better than perfect. 5) I don’t do FMQ. I just don’t. If I want something that can’t be achieved with a walking foot, I’ll hand quilt it. People bang on about practice, but life is too short. I want a quilt, not lots of samples of bad quilting. 6) I don’t much like traditional quilts, colours and blocks. I do love fabric and I let it tell me what sort of quilt it wants to be. Or I’ll get a picture in my head and have to turn it into a quilt somehow, even if I have no idea how. Occasionally I’ll see something ‘traditonal’ and love it, but not often. 7) I have a lot of fabric in my stash that’s ‘too good’ to cut into. I sometimes wonder what it’s waiting for, but it’ll tell me one day. 8) I don’t baste my EPP hexies ‘properly’ either, I stitch through the card. It’s quicker, the edges are sharper and I can crank them out at speed. 9) I get cranky when I’m in the middle of a tricky bit and I have to stop to do laundry, housework or cooking. I’m a bit ashamed of it, and try not to let the crankiness out. 10) I hate thimbles. I do own and use one when the needle has worn holes in my fingers, but it makes me clumsy and slow. Sorry, this has turned into a much longer reply than I intended!

    • I bet you hate my Dear Jane posts if you are not a traditional fan. Sorry!

      I have worse news for you. According to the local quilt association’€™s competition rules, Amistad and Steampunk would be judged in the traditional category. Breathe! It will be OK! There are worse things to be than a traditional quilter!

      • Dear Jane is going to be a tour de force, and nothing about her is hateful. Amistad and Steampunk for me don’t fall into the same category as slightly sad coloured quilts whose whole point is how many different blocks they can show off. But I do understand that I’m not breaking any new ground here. I’m ok with my level of traditional!

  4. Oh, I don’t use starch either! There was this unfortunate incident when I was younger and my underwear was starched as a prank. Not gonna find it in my house. 🙂 I would love to eat cake and drink tea and join you in your quilting group – it sounds heavenly! So glad you posted your list.

  5. What a great list! I fear my quilty secrets are too terrifying to air out loud so I will stay silent, but I do love reading everyone’s lists! I also love the piecing but nothing else.

    And the art intellect in me cringes when I hear low volume because I suppose technically it should be called low value. Value, as in the amount of lightness or darkness of a colour. But that’s just my type A opinion.

    • Low value could open up a whole other can of worms. People would think the fabric worthless and only to be found in the discount bin of the local quilt shop! Sometimes the English language has gaps.

      I have just looked up Type A personalities. I found this list and initially thought it described me, but things got a bit hit and miss from number 7.

  6. Yay to number 6!! 🙂 And I agree, more than one, the unintended wonky comes out! Totally agree with low volume. . . I have not bought a fabric that is listed ‘low volume’ in protest LOL Great list!

    • I confiscate all scissors, rotary cutters and other sharp objects at the second glass. From then on, it is hand sewing only -€“ or, more likely, sleeping!

      I still have bought fabrics labelled ‘low volume’€™. They are pretty enough that I am prepared to overlook their silly name.

  7. I agree with you on a lot of your points- never saw a floral I didn’t love; never use starch; glue seems like cheating; I don’t belong to a sewing group- I don’t want to waste precious time driving to and fro; low volume is as ridiculous as it ‘sounds’ (oops!)- but what did we used to call these fabric, they aren’t new?!! Fun post! Off to read what the other have to say!

    • Joining the sewing group was one of my better decisions. Because I work from home, I would go stir-crazy if I didn’€™t regularly leave the house and socialise. They are a fabulous bunch of women. And they make nice cake. 🙂

  8. 7 is so me! I wish there could be some sort of partnership between piecers and long arm quilters where we could pair up. I’d be totally okay with making 2 of every quilt, if someone else could quilt both of them! That way I could have one, and the quilter could have the other! oh…and somehow make that financially stable 😉

  9. One of my quilty pals has the same issue with low volume… she keeps listening, but never hears anything… from any of her fabrics. Must mean they’re all low volume! 🙂 I read the same two posts you did last week… and am working on my list. Isn’t it lovely to share a secret sometimes?
    P.S. Starch isn’t so bad… really useful when you’re using narrow strips or pieces cut on the bias. I’m a recent convert though… you won’t see me running around spraying every last scrap in my stash! 🙂

  10. I”m with you on a couple of those. I get very little done when I go to my sewing group. I just look at what everyone else is doing and enjoy meeting up. I also choose complicated patterns for the challenge. I don’t see the point in choosing something easy and running it up in a weekend. Where’s the fun in that?
    Thanks for posting your list Carla.

    • I often choose a quilt pattern because it is something I have not made before. I like the challenge and novelty of trying something new and a bit tricky. However, I would choose something simple for some projects – like a baby quilt that is going to get spat up on a lot!

    • I wish I was drinking white wine when I spilled a glass of wine all over a redwork block I was hand embroidering. I got most of the wine out, but I ended up resewing the block as I could still see a faint shadow of a stain.

  11. Carla you are super sweet for the shout out and can I tell you I love that pic of you and all your “crimes”. Wish I were closer to share some wine, cake and gossip. Sounds grand. You are uber talented (and fun). Keep it up.


    • You really are one of the most truly modern quilters I know of. I love your work, even though I know I could never emulate its elegant simplicity.
      It was after I typed up number 1 that I realised I had that photo on my about page that proved my point.

  12. Love them all. Number 9 is too funny. I’ve noticed too that I have lots of stash and fabric and no matter what the color or print, they always stay quiet as a churchmouse.

  13. I love number 9!! Laughed hard enough my son had to come see what I was reading. Even he laughed. Love the floral picture too. I can’t bring myself to use glue when I’m sewing yet.

    • Laughter is the best medicine!

      The class I took with Mariya Waters softened my attitudes to glue in sewing (when I want the look of hand appliqué but in less time by machine), and I don’t mind a hot-melt glue gun for some craft projects. Even so, I will avoid gluing something if I can sew it instead.

  14. I love reading these lists. My fabric doesn’t speak to me (or sing to me) either. 🙂 I do like a bit of starch though. Now that I’ve started quilting, I spend a lot of time ironing and pressing fabric. The problem is, now my husband thinks I can iron his shirts, ha!

  15. I completely relate to #5. I hope to not come across any contemporary quilters who use cat hair. I have a serious allergy, so this sounds pretty terrible.

  16. Carla, what a fun read! Thank you! I have just discovered your blog, which I find so interesting, just looking forward to explore it more! Hope you visit mine as well!

  17. I just love your comments. What a breath of fresh air after so many that sounded alike. I will now go check out your blog and see what you make. Thanks! LeeAnna who is very opinionated about following your own esthetic. Not afraid of color at lapaylor.blogspot.com
    come visit!

  18. Hahahaha #2, glutton for punishment! I am sitting here looking at my farmer’s wife quilt going “what was I thinking!”. Also if you find the value of starch let me know, never use it either!

    • I went through the what-was-I-thinking phase too. Now I am near the end of my Dear Jane (well, the blocks), I wonder what challenge project I will set myself next – maybe a Farmer’€™s Wife or a Civil War or a complicated EPP project.

I appreciate your comments and will reply by email.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.