Tuesday, September 02, 2014

Sew, is this a problem. . . ?

The other day I happened onto the blog 13 Spools, where the very clever blogger had posted her "10 Quilty Little Secrets" which were all the ways she defies the informal "rules" for quilt making. It was well done, witty and I identified with her spirit. Then readers started leaving their "secrets" in the comments and it got pretty hilarious! It's a good read if you want to be entertained.

I had to laugh when I got to one comment that said "Stop using the word sew in place of so". You mean like, "and sew it goes" ? Yeah, I have to agree. Pretty corny. I really regret that silly name for this blog. It was a late night, spur of the moment decision, made when I couldn't come up with a name that hadn't already been taken. Who knew I would still be doing this 9 years on? Sew, I guess I am stuck with it.

Most of those commenting were quilters who seem to be of the Modern Quilt aesthetic and it was interesting to read what they like and don't. It made me feel not so out of it to read that many are not especially enthralled with a lot of the current designer fabrics. I had to Google Cotton+Steel, which several mentioned. It is that design style that leaves me baffled. Looks old and tired to me. Like my grandmother's aprons.

So, to my art quilter friends—what are your "quilty secrets"? Here are a few of mine.

1. I don't bury thread ends. I tack them down good and snip them off.

2. As you know, I mostly shun fancy, expensive thread and use and love Connecting Threads brand. (Several commenters on the 13 spools blog said the same)

3. I am tired of seeing mottled hand-dyed fabrics, and tired of batiks as well.

4. I am tired of seeing pixilated and posterized portrait quilts. (Except for Kristin La Flamme's, which is fabulous!)

5. I use Rit Dye when I do dye fabrics.

6. I am really hard on irons and tend to regularly ruin them, by gunking them up with glue and fusibles and paint. As a result I don't like to spend a lot for an iron and get most of mine from yard sales.

7. I often use recycled plastic bottle felt as batting.

That's a start. I am not much of a trend follower, so I am sure I could come up with a longer list, but I have probably offended enough people for one day!



  1. With my pixelated portrait and your use of sew for so, we'll go far! My secret is that even though I might say I'll never do this, or I don't like that, I often find myself needing to break my own self-imposed rules.

  2. Refreshingly honest! Thanks.

  3. What?!? Tired of batiks and mottled hand dyes?? You can give me all yours. :)

    My Quilty Secrets -

    I'd never heard of this Cotton + Steel, but nope. Can't stand 'em. Thank goodness there's fabric I DONT want to buy!

    I just mostly don't use patterns, and if I do I always change it up making the whole thing much harder than it needed to be. It may be why I haven't been making clothes. You have to use a pattern plus it has to fit.

    I don't even use pins, so no sewing over them for me. Kindof like organic gardening. There's no pesticide because I'm too lazy to buy it, read directions, put on a haz mat suit and use it. On a really long seem I might use three.

    If it is a 'real' quilt with a pattern and structure, then the corners better match and the blocks should be square. None of this "sloppy piecing call it modern" business. That's not modern. It's just a hot mess.

    Sometimes I use colored Sharpies to fix problems.

    Can't think of anything else. Until I click "Publish".

    1. Ditto on the colored sharpies!

  4. Not so much a secret because I think I've been pretty vocal about it to my quilting friends - I HATE MistyFuse. Cannot figure out why everyone raves about it.

    And I do not find free-motion machine quilting fun and relaxing as some insist it is. So relieved when I can do straight lines with a walking foot!

    Thanks for the link - it was really fun reading. I had quite a bit in common with those gals...

  5. What is recycled plastic bottle felt? I haven't seen this term before. thanks.

  6. http://kuningroup.com/

  7. A great list..thinking on what mine might include...and great intro for me to the plastic bottle felt.

  8. I paint my fabric with cheap acrylic paints. No dye. I don't bury loose ends, I back stitch.
    I use whatever thread is already in the drawer. I hold pins in my mouth. Modern quilting bores me. I never use a pattern. I never follow the rules--in fact, I often ask "was there a rule for this?" I do iron. I love to iron.

  9. Love all these tips. I do like Misti Fuse but I sure have ruined irons using it. I Have used both markers and shiva sticks to "fix" design issues when the art quilt is "done".

  10. Yes, I am "sew" tired of "sew" instead of "so" but the first time I heard it I thought it was really cute. BTW, I actually found your blog googling the name because a LQS here had the same name. That was a few years ago.
    I have my quilty secrets. I don't like hexies or dresden plates. I detest paper piecing - doing it - not the results. I like modern quilts but I don't think it has to be a hot mess; but some of them are. :-) I've used sharpies to correct problems. I love the threads from Connecting Threads. Never heard of the recycled plastic bottle felt, but I almost exclusively use Dream Green batting which is recycled plastic bottles. I'm usually not big on art quilts but I love yours. Guess that's why I keep reading your blog.

  11. Terry- we could happily share a studio (except for the commute!)! I never tie thread ends, I use a 20 year old set of permanent markets to 'modify' areas that aren't right, and for threads, I use whatever I have on hand and really don't notice a difference. Dye is messy, I don't use it. I no longer buy fabric, I have more than enough to last out my days- OK, so it's not all cotton, sue me! Thanks for the post- I'm joining your tribe!