Thursday, November 14, 2013

The Galloping Horse Method

We can complain because rose bushes have thorns, or rejoice because thorn bushes have roses. –Abraham Lincoln

I am slightly OCD. Obsessive Creative. Obsessive Compulsive. Potato, potahto, right? I tend to get wrapped up in the details and rather than seeing the big picture, I focus on all the tiny imperfections. I guess you could say I'm an imperfectionist. And I let myself be limited by all the things I can't to. I've been thinking about this on and off for a while now. Yesterday, as I was pondering the complexities of stripey binding, my sister reminded me that shifting your perspective opens up a lot of previously unexplored possibilities. She said, I don't know much about binding, but I think I'd take the longer lasting way even if it doesn't lay perfectly straight. Use the galloping horse method to determine how picky you're going to be.

And what is the galloping horse method, you ask? The story goes like this. I took a beginning machine quilting class in February of 2010. The teacher talked about how to determine if you're going to unpick. She said that if you were to pass by the quilt on a galloping horse and you could see the mistake, then unpick.

Several thoughts sprouted from this reminder.
  1. Just do your best and let the stitches fall where they may.
  2. Not every quilt has to be a show quilt.
  3. Focus on what you can do and not on what you can't.
Do your best and let the stitches fall where they may.
I can do bias binding. I know it. I love it. So that's what I did. And I'm pretty darn excited about those formerly diagonal vertical stripeys. It's not perfect. Some of my seams matched up better than others. It might turn out a tiny bit ripply, as my bindings always do. But then again, it might not. In order to get enough binding out of the piece of fabric I had, I made it 2⅛" wide instead of 2¼". Perhaps being a fraction of an inch narrower will give it more fill once it is turned and might, just might, solve the pucker problem.

Not every quilt has to be a show quilt.
As a matter of personal preference, I like quilts that are "custom." I always have. When I piece a quilt, I pick the design because I like it and I want all that work to be shown off to its best advantage by the quilting. I think edge-to-edge tends to mask the piecing. But with no small amount of internal debate, I took this quilt and the one before it to the quilt fairy to be done edge-to-edge. Having them done in time to give as birthday gifts outweighs spending weeks on quilting the perfect design in them. These quilts are meant to be snuggled under and dragged around and picnicked on at washed and used and loved. Masterpiece quilting doesn't quite fit the bill, here.

Focus on what you can do and not on what you can't.
I kind of like having a quilt fairy. It means there are a lot of things I can do instead of making myself crazy trying to cram 40 hours of quilting into an already packed week. While my quilt is being professionally quilted {with a stitch regulator!}, I can spend time helping the Not-So-Little Bugs with homework and projects. I can catch up on the laundry. And the dusting. And the bathrooms. I can cook actual dinners instead of sentencing the family to cold cereal and ramen for a week straight. I can go to bed at a decent time. And I can be completely wowed by an edge-to-edge quilting design. Here's a peek.

You'll be even more wowed when I show you the whole quilt. With stripey binding. And a completely awesome embroidered quilt label. It's one of my best, if I do say so myself.

6 comments:

Christy said...

Love your philosophy!
Christy@ seamsewcountryblogspot.com

Gene Black said...

Your sister was correct - and you were smart to take her advice. The quilting looks like it was made for the quilt anyway. It disappears in the colored sections but shines on the solids. I can hardly wait to see it bound and fully finished.

P. said...

Love the galloping horse analogy. Your binding decision is perfect for this quilt. The quilting is beautiful! I would like that same thing on my Ship Shape quilt. It looks like rolling waves.

Deb@asimplelifequilts said...

I think these are words to quilt by (and live by)! I have no desire to become a master quilter and love working with long armers who have those skills. But I've also come to realize that simple quilting works on lots of quilts and finished is better than perfect!

Shay said...

Loved this post. I think I'm an imperfectionist too!

The thing is we see all of our own mistakes - but others rarely do. Im getting much better at letting little things slide. I think thats been my life lesson for 2013.

Your quilt is AMAZING! Cant wait to see the whole thing.

Angie said...

I had a quilting teacher that said the same thing. I used to much pickier about what was 'good enough', now I accept that if it were perfect, it wouldn't be mine. :)