When the means justify the end...

I had some sewing time this past weekend, and rather than diving into my house quilt, I decided to wrap up some UFOs that had been lingering in my sewing room for months. Two baby quilt tops needed finishing and I enjoyed piecing together fabrics I had lying around to create ample-sized backs. (I'm waiting for a shipment of 505 Spray to sandwich them together. I'll share them once they're quilted.)

The other unfinished project I had was a table runner from a class sponsored by my local guild. In November I took part in a day-long workshop from Ilene Bartos, a teacher from Des Moines.

Now, I admit that I was not all that excited about this class. The finished project didn't really excite me, but I know how hard the program committee members work to bring in a range of speakers and teachers, and how important it is that members attend. So in the name of supporting the guild and spending the day with some very nice women, I signed on.

The class was a reminder of something I touched on in my post on Mary Lou Weidman's class. I'm a product-oriented person and at the end of my efforts I like to have a "thing" I can hold in my hand. 

I'm not good at leaving things unfinished: a realtor once told me, when I insisted on seeing every last house in my price range on the market, that I had the strongest "drive to completion" she'd ever seen. (I took it as a compliment, but in retrospect I think she was saying "Enough, already!")

In that drive to completion, it's easy for me to lose sight of the process. And I think that leads me to shy away from classes that features an "end product" I'm not in love with or that I think I might not be good at. 

This would be true with Mary Lou's class: I think I can't draw, so I wouldn't be good at figurative quilts. But in that class I realized (duh!) that half the reason to take the class is to learn something new, to try a technique or color combination that takes me out of my comfort zone.

In the case of Ilene's class, I wasn't wild about the project and ultimately was not happy with my fabric choices (too many mid-range fabrics, with tiny patterns, that didn't stand out from the overly busy background). But boy did I learn! 

The maple leaves in the runner were made using nine different techniques for creating half-square triangles. Now this may sound dull to some—and you know who you are, Anne K.—but I loved re-learning that there's no one right way to do anything in quilting—there are myriad choices and it's perfectly fine to do what suits you best. And I surprised myself by liking the bias method of making half-square triangles. My bias against bias comes from my early days of sewing, when I had to straighten my fabric by pulling a thread all the way across the weft—bias was just one of those scary things I didn't really understand. How I hated all that fussiness. But this bias wasn't at all tedious.

So, I'm not proud of the product I share with you...but I'm proud of the process. I also learned to couch a metallic thread, and while I'm not sure that I'll be doing it again anytime soon, it's taken the fear factor out of yet another term for me to have done it once.

Pearl wondered what the heck I was doing dragging quilt-y things out into the snow and refusing to let her play with them. So she watched from a safe place.
LinzeeQuilt, classes, fabric, winter