Friday, April 3, 2009

I Do Everything Wrong

Kind of a weird title for a post, but I've been thinking lately about how I quilt as I read all of you guys' amazing quilt blogs. I am almost wholly self taught, so I don't do most things the way you're "supposed" to. But I still get the job done! Here is a partial list of things I don't do that most quilters do tend to do:

1) First and foremost, I don't use a machine! So that means I can't chain piece, or stipple or paper piece or strip piece, or really do anything where I have to cut in the middle of the quilting line because it cuts off my knots.

2) I don't prewash

3) I don't iron - and I mean really, I don't iron. I'm more likely to cut off a rogue piece of fabric that won't lay flat than to go get the iron. Is that wrong? Not a big piece, mind you, i'm not crazy. The only time I do "iron as I go" is when I'm doing improv piecing with no measurements and i'm using my little cutting/ironing board on the couch.

4) When I do iron my blocks before I piece the whole top together, I don't press my seams in any particular direction - ever. I just smash them down however I feel like. Oh, and I move my iron around if I feel like it, instead of pressing straight down. And I don't wait for the iron to heat up either.

5) I have absolutely no respect for cutting with the grain, against the grain or on the bias. I don't "straighten" my grain before I cut. I just buy fabric, come home, make one of the edges line up and cut. Even when I make double fold French binding, I have no thought for which way the grain is going.

6) I use a high thread count orphan sheet for backing if I feel like it even though I've read over and over that it's bad. I like the 'sheety' feel.

SO - What do YOU do wrong?


sunshine said...

Haha, I LOVE the tone of this blog entry, so refreshingly rebellious. I learned quilt basics from an evening course I took. I've since learned lots of new or alternative methods through blogs. I've had teachers tell me NOT to cut material parallel to the selvage (is that on the bias? I can never remember... it doesn't matter, either) because of stretching. Well, I did, because I didn't want a hundred seams, and it worked out fine. I've also had people tell me about high and low quality materials and how bad crap materials are. Hmm, I like using cheap stuff, because it means I can get more quilts done on the same budget, and as I'm not a millionaire, I can't afford 14$/m fabric. I haven't washed any of my quilts yet because I do prewash (I just want to get rid of the chemicals the fabrics are treated with before I work with them, and I love having things clean, and smooth, so yes, I iron as well - it's one of the most relaxing parts of quilting for me). So maybe once I actually keep a quilt and see what it looks like after 3 washes, I'll change my mind on the fabric quality, but so far, nope. I also mix materials with coarse and fine grain, if the colours match, I don't see a problem. In general I think, if what you do works for you, keep on doing it. It sounds like you're saving a lot of time and energy (literally, i.e. electricity) by not pre-washing and ironing, and your quilts still come out beautiful!


PS: I'm really really impressed that you don't use a machine! I don't have enough patience for that... but it's so wonderful to really work with a quilt, not just pull it along under a machine.

jacquie said...

well, aren't you a maverick! i'm a self taught quilter too, but i learned to sew in 4-h and from my mom so it was beaten into me to press and i'll admit i love that lovely pressed i'm a pressing fool. i used to hand sew arthritis prevents that much longer...i can't even hand quilt for very long. what do i do wrong...probably a lot, but it works for me. i do care about craftmanship so i'm pretty picky (i'm trying to break my perfectionist tendencies...but it's a struggle).

The Quilt Buddy said...

Hmmmmm...let's see....I never read all of the pattern directions before I begin. This always leads to problems in the long run, but I never learn from my mistakes because I keep doing it!

Sometimes my blocks aren't the correct size and I hate pressing my blocks!

Nice to meet you and I look forward to seeing more from you!

Tonya's Sewing Room said...

Just found your blog. I love that your self taught, as am myself. However, I use a machine. I envy you for not using a machine. Love your blog. Check out mine sometime.

Molly said...

Yes! I love the seam smashing method of ironing. Why does it matter if your quilt ends up flat?

mkissa said...

I don't prewash anything. Thats about it though. Everything else I do is pretty traditional.

Bee Square Fabrics said...

Fantastic post! I hate to iron, so I tend to only do it when needed. I don't press my seams before I add another row to the quilt, I press them all at the end - it's lazy, I know!

I don't pre-wash unless I'm working with 2 entirely different fabrics - like minkee and cotton or flannel and cotton. I had a bad experience with organic cotton and now I always wash that first - who knew it would shrink so much?

I don't follow patterns but I will often calculate how to piece a quilt top by how few seams I can make.

:) Diane

belinda said...

..*LOL* this post. I don't usually 'go with the flow' much either. Sometimes I iron...sometimes I don't. Sometimes I cut with the grain...sometimes I don't...Yesterday was the VERY first time I EVER 'squared up a block'....???? I've not had any problems because I haven't!!!...I hope no one 'sicks' the quilt police on you...*LOL*

Sue said...

There is no wrongs in quilting. I am self taught, I don't pre-wash, I don't pin half of the time and I'm sure there are heaps more things that I do "wrong" as well. I teach patchwork and have for a few years and as I tell my students, if you are happy with it and can live with it then that's all that matters.
Be free, do what makes you happy and stuff the rules.