I’m lazy. Well, that’s probably not accurate. I’m not lazy – I’m actually pretty productive and really know how to manage my time. I can go on and on (and on) about my organization methods and how I manage my time. I’ll spare you all of that and just share with you something pretty simple:
Figure out what’s important to you and then spend most of your time and energy on that. Let the rest of it go.
Concerning quilting and my quilt blocks, for me, the process is important. The end result is important. Color and pattern – that’s important. I’ll spend a lot of time of choosing fabric and quilt patterns.
What do I let go? Perfection. My points don’t have to be pointy. My blocks don’t even have to be square. Really, all I’m concerned with is that the thing won’t fall apart in the wash.
The person I’m making the quilt for is important, and I keep them in mind when I’m making a quilt. And that person usually has no idea that my points were cut off or that extra strip of fabric was added to fix a mistake.
My blocks have gotten less and less crappy over the years. And the big reason for that isn’t just experience, though that is part of it, its the tools I’ve accumulated over the years.
1. Starch: I starch the shit out of the fabric before I even cut the pieces. I find stiffer fabric easier to handle and keep together without having to use pins (or glue!).
2. Dry Iron: I recently got a dry iron and have been using that exclusively for quilting. I found that the steam was warping the pieces and seams, so I just eliminated it. I have a spray bottle of water if I need it, but I haven’t used it yet.
3. Better Rulers: I originally used a 3″ ruler for a long long time. It was cheap. It came with a cutting mat and rotary cutter in a very inexpensive kit. I’ve since invested in quality tools, though I waited for a 40% or 50% coupon and then bought rulers bit by bit. I also scored a few things off of Overstock.com that were way cheaper than any local or online quilt store. The little diagonal rulers and the big square rulers came from Overstock, and they made a huge difference. I’m able to quickly mark and quickly cut yet still be accurate.
4. Micron Pen: To go with the rulers, I’ve been using this super fine Micron pen to mark my stitching lines. Using a pencil or tailors chalk produced a line that was thick enough to affect the final block dimensions.
5. 1/4″ piecing foot: I wrote about this foot before, but man, I really like this one. I don’t have to pay attention as much when sewing to keep a consistent 1/4″ seam allowance. Meaning I can still be a speed-piecer and not sacrifice accuracy.
There are still a bunch of areas where I definitely do not care and won’t spend a great deal of time or energy on. For example, the binding. Or what the quilt back looks like. And in some cases, even the quilting. Each project is different and each requires as assessment of where to focus my time and energy. Lately, its been important to just get the quilt finished.