All art is derivative

I can't remember who said that to me early in my quilting.  I'm pretty sure it was to stop me crowing about something I'd done and thought was the most original thing ever.  But, I have learned that it's true.  And, I've learned to take advantage of it by relying on other quilters for inspiration. 

I'm not sure if you're familiar with Rebecca at The Cheeky Cognoscenti, but this week, she was my inspiration.  When I was trying to figure out how to quilt the border of the little card trick quilt, she had the idea...invisible monofilament thread. 

Monofilament was something I used a lot when I was a new quilter because it hides a multitude of mistakes.  But, as my skills have improved, I've used it less.  Like everything else, it has a purpose.  But, it is shiny, even the stuff that isn't supposed to be shiny has some shine to it, so  I've tried to avoid that and use cotton or silk thread. 

In this quilt, I used the matching green thread on the top.  But, to avoid white thread popping up on the front, I used monofilament in the bobbin.  Yes, winding a bobbin of monofilament is extra work.  Do NOT DROP IT!  Ask me how I know. 

And, from the back, you can see the feathers, even though the thread is invisible.  And, it doesn't look that much different from the parts of the quilt I quilted with white thread. 

The thread and fabric on the front of the border are such a close match and so dark that I was having trouble bringing the second side of the feather into the spine and making it match the first side.  I'm not one that has to be perfect with those matches.  I'm cool if some are off; it proves it's handmade.  But, I know it looks better if I at least make an effort.  So, I used a white chalk pencil to make tiny marks at my match points.  That made it much easier to bring that second line closer to where I wanted it to be. 

I wanted to brag for a second about the machine I use to quilt.  I own a lot of machines and I try to keep one set up for piecing and this machine for quilting all the time.  And, generally, there is some quilting project on this machine that is partially finished and waiting for the next bit of inspiration.

She is not young.  But, she is a most trustworthy friend who has quilted almost every piece I've ever made.  And, the quilting feet I use make more noise than she does...I watch a lot of TV while I quilt and I do like a silent machine.  She used to skip stitches when I would quilt in the direction of 10:30 on the clock (45* off vertical to the left).  So, I bought some Schmetz quilting needles.  I took a class a few years ago where the teacher said never to use those, so I never had.  But I was working on something and was having a lot of skipped stitches, so I went to JoAnns and bought about $25 worth of needles and tried one out of each pack.  The quilting needles have stopped my skipped stitches.  I don't know what it is about them.  I didn't need to understand it to enjoy the results.  I'm going to try those needles on other machines and see if I can cure some other quilting woes.  The National Two-Spool does the same thing and if these needles will fix it, I'm going to try some maching quilting using that treadle machine. 

Speaking of classes, I've signed up for two classes.  One is Tree Farm with Edyta Sitar in April.  But, in a couple weeks, I'm taking the hooked on feathers class with Sally Terry.  I have two of Sally's books and they are a wonder for machine quilting inspiration.  And, when I saw the notice of the class I was like, feathers...meh.  I can do feathers.  But, remember I said a while back that maybe it was time to accept feathers as my middle C?  Well, then why not get some new inspiration, especially for feathers that aren't the same size, regimented along a spine; feathers that are more relaxed.  And, I think Sally might be the perfect person to help with that.  And, I'm looking forward to the fellowship with other quilters in a classroom setting again.  I haven't done that in a while. 

I picked up new glasses yesterday.  Hopefully they'll make that dark green on dark green quilting easier to see.  I have a new eye doctor.  My last one closed his practice.  I saw him for 25 years and we never had trouble, but he must have been a butt to work for because he couldn't keep staff.  The last few years, he didn't have anybody that could take a pair of new glasses and fit them to my face (my eyes, eyebrows and ears are not level and off level in different ways, so it's a delicate balancing act to keep me from looking goofy).  Anyway, I had learned to adjust my own.  But, apparently not very well.  Yesterday, I picked up the new pair and had them professionally adjusted.  The prescription was just a little different, but after they were fitted, it was significant enough difference that I wore my old pair to drive to work.  When I got settled into my desk and had started a project, I pulled out the new glasses and put them on.  And, the monitor moved about 5" closer to me, even though the glasses sit further down my nose.  I had been wearing my glasses so close to my face that my eyelashes sometimes brushed against the lens.  Guess they're not supposed to fit that way, huh?

I talked the other day about Syd's maturity and imitating the best of me.  But, there's another story Id like to tell.  She made a friend at work and that friend was da' bomb as far as she was concerned.  The girl was a year older than Syd, but a LOT less mature.  Her family was more "bohemian" than us and Syd loved the lack of rules.  She spent so much time there, I started calling them "the family you'd rather be with".  Welllllll, lately we've noticed that she's spending more time at home.  And, when she talks about this friend and her family, she talks about how they're just people that live together.  Nobody watches out for anybody.  Nobody watches anybody else's back.  Nobody cooks, nobody cleans.  Nobody is there to help.

Here, we share all responsibilities.  Here, we all do chores.  Here, we pay attention to what is going on with one another.  Here, there's someone to bail you out whenever you get in over your head.  She's not saying that stuff out loud.  But, the fact that she's talking about the unvarnished reality of her friend's home tells me that she appreciates what she has here. 

I think a lot of that started when she got a holiday job at a local retail store.  She got to meet a different group of people and I think it made her appreciate us more.  Everybody said this would happen as she got older.  But, when she was 15, it was hard to believe. 

Okay, that's enough for me.  Get up, go sew!  Enjoy your day!  I have to go to work, so enjoy the day enough for both of us!

I've got 20 minutes to put in some background work on that card trick quilt.



Dot Wankat said...

Your quilting is such a pleasure. Your feathers are always a treat. You've added a row of small circles that look to be 13 stitches each (wow) and enhanced your feather border with outlining. Finally, your backing fabric is delightful. Nice way to start the day.

You are also a good listener to pick up what Sydney isn't saying directly.

Mari said...

I think it's impossible for your feathers to be better! They're pretty perfect now, but a class does sound like fun. Have a great time! (I just got a new vision prescription too. Makes a huge difference!)

Rebecca Grace said...

I'm so glad the monofilament did the trick for you! You're so sweet to give me a shout-out. I've learned a great deal from you over the years I've been following your blog, so it's nice that I was able to help you out for a change! :-)