Most of my quilting has been a solitary experience. But I certainly felt the draw of joining an old-fashioned quilting bee last Friday when I had a quilt day with my friends Connie and Carmen. Connie and I, mostly Connie, tore paper pieces off the back of Carmen’s newest quilt. Carmen, who loves to sew, but hates to tear off paper, showed us her other projects, and thumbed through books showing us her next projects. It was total mindless enjoyment!Landscape or picture quilts like this one often use the paper piecing technique to get the precision needed. I haven’t ever tried it. At first I had a hard time wrenching the tough freezer paper pattern from the tiny stitches that bound it to the quilt back, but soon I became as merciless to it as Connie.Carmen has a new long-arm sewing machine used to machine the fancy patterns on quilts. I’ve never tried that either, and doubt if I could ever master it. She showed us some goofs she made – fortunately – I would never have seen them if she hadn’t pointed them out. She chose a variegated thread on a black background which she admitted might not have been the wisest beginner’s choice. Yes, you can see every stitch. I can’t picture this happening. The machine is going at break-neck speed, no matter how fast it looks like it’s going. The operator is following a pattern of curves and twists like a drive along the coast highway. I’m afraid I’d be off the cliff at any speed. She just made some slightly pointed turns that you can barely notice if you look carefully. You can also see that she had problems with thread tension. My problems would have looked more like scribbles.
The top of the quilt looked like a masterpiece. See the pile of quilt tops under that one. I’m just going to spread them out for you to admire just as we did. All you miss is the wonderful conversations we had as we browsed through her collection. Enjoy.