So, I’m taking an introductory quilting class at Periwinkle. Kind of a work-perk thing? Anyway, it occurs to me that this is actually the first formal sewing class I’ve ever taken. Bizarre. Well, quilting is bizarre, too, so I guess that works.
The class is designed to take people from little to no sewing experience all the way to making a decent-sized throw quilt, in a sampler style of about a bazillion different blocks, in just seven weeks. Well, seven plus homework. We’re going to practice quilting and binding on a swatch because I don’t think she figures we can finish quilting the whole thing by the end of class. I’m pretty sure she’s right about that, though I really enjoy the intensity of the class.
Things that bug me:
- Cutting perfectly good fabric into teeny pieces just to sew it back together. Yes, I know that’s the whole point of quilting.
- No steam. I’m not sure if this is common among quilters, but the teacher is quite anti-steam, because apparently it makes it too easy to distort the pieces. Meanwhile I don’t think anything I’ve pressed sans steam looks like it got pressed at all…
- Doing math in inches. The entire cult of quilting is framed in inches and fractions thereof, and it makes me want to break things.
- The whole pattern is predicated around working with fat quarters. Obviously none of my fabric was IN fat quarters, so I had to cut quite a bit of it into fat quarters.
Things that have blown my mind:
- A 1/4″ seam allowance isn’t 1/4″. It’s 1/4″ less turn of cloth, with lots of experimentation sewing strips of known width together with different needle positions until the math works out.
- Making half-square triangles in a giant grid and then cutting them out after. That was pretty fun.
- How often Pythagorean theorem comes up, and then the quilters just dodge right around the backside of it.
- How intense the need for accuracy is, especially with the seam allowances.
- How hard it is to visualize what the different colours will look like in the different patterns. I mean, I worked at a fabric store for YEARS. I’ve helped people pick colours and prints for dozens of quilts. But visualizing the specific blocks? Mind melt!
- Oh and I’m pretty happy to have learnt to use my shiny new rotary cutter “properly”.