Tuesday, July 12, 2011

I just don't understand

I learned to piece a quilt not too long after my youngest son was born. I learned all by myself, in the living room with a Georgia Bonesteel book in my lap. I picked the fabrics by looking at her pictures. The fabrics were ugly, although at the time I didn't think so, and they were not very good quality (read cheese cloth). 
I'm am a visual learner. I don't do written instructions well, but I really wanted to know how to make a quilt so I stuck with it. I would call Granny on the phone and ask her questions. I asked Ray to read the instructions and see if I was doing it right. I made twelve 12" blocks, hand pieced. Then because not all of the blocks came out exactly 12" I had to put a small sash around each one to make them all the same size.
After about a month of seeing me struggle and fret, then smile and giggle over my accomplishments my husband asked if there was anyone besides his Granny who lived 8 hours away who could teach me. Now mind you, I had a very premature baby on my hands who needed 24 hour a day meds and oxygen and 3 doctor's appointments a week an hour from our house and two older children ages 5 and 8. Saying all of that to say, money was TIGHT.
I told him that one day while driving home from a doctor's appointment I noticed a sign advertising quilt classes. So after discussing it and assuring me we could afford it I signed up. I remember thinking $60 was OUTRAGEOUS! It was either 8 or 10 weeks of classes two hours a week. We learned block reading, template making, hand piecing, applique, basting, quilting and binding. The whole shebang. Beside all of that we learned about tools, fabric, color choices and anything else you could think of. I also learned "quilt shop etiquette", as in how to not put my foot in my mouth about buying fabric at another place and talking about it in the shop. Needless to say the quilt shop owner was very patient and kind.
Once we finished the class we knew everything we needed to know to make a quilt. We were not experts in anything, but we would get better.

Time travel twenty years later and I am sitting here confused. As a lot of quilters, I am on a few "lists" that talk about quilting. Some of these lists are about particular types of quilting and some are about hand work, some are about particular books or patterns. This week one of the lists I am on is all in a dither about the book not having instructions about block construction. Really? Didn't they open the book and look through it before they purchased it? Why are you fussing and whining because you purchased a book that you don't know how to use?  If you want to make this quilt, figure it out. Don't wait to be spoon fed.
I guess what I am saying is what I told my children when they would ask me how to do something they were too lazy to troubleshoot. Engage your own brain, instead of mine. Look at it, think about it, try something, if it doesn't work try something else.

I guess I should step down from my soap box. I have more to say, but it comes out mean so I keep deleting it.
If you don't hate me by now maybe I will see you next time.



Peggy said...

I have to say....My favorite books are the ones with diagrams of quilt blocks with no instructions. I own three of them. Love them! Love to figure out how "the block ticks".

I have been quilting for quite a few years now. Have learned a couple different methods. I even own EQ7. I can always find a way to make the block.

Thank you for your wonderful blog!!!

Lynley said...

I always ignore the instructions - often at my peril - and make it up as a go along. I think sometimes people forget that quilting is a very very forgiving craft and fabric is a very easy medium to work in. It's hard to make a mistake that completely ruins a quilt!

Anonymous said...

I think the word you're looking for to describe these people is "responsible"...being responsible for yourself and not having everybody out there looking after you and telling you what to do. People have to take responsiblity for themselves and the choices they make.
Linda G