Sunday, 20 July 2014

So, How hard can it be - Right??

Have you ever asked yourself that question?  You look at something beautiful and really, really simple.  Well, I say simple, what I mean is it looks simple, and as we all know, simple is easy, right?.  NO, NO, NO! simple is not easy, it is positively, impossibly, ridiculously difficult to produce something perfect when you are going for simple.  And I think perfect is the key word.

Let me explain,  I have just signed up for my first swap, it's a Pin Cushion Swap hosted by Bea, of :-   I've wanted to do some kind of swap for a while, but I'm not nearly experienced enough to get into a block swap, if it was just one block to send off, I'd probably be OK, but to produce 12 perfect blocks and do it every month? nah.  I honestly think that for someone who took up the quilting banner only 2 or 3 months ago, joining a quilt block swap is an impossible dream.  Can you imagine someone like me sending a block to say someone like Bea, or the Sew Mama Sew woman or God Forbid the Nana Company lady?  I'd have to stop sewing in mortification at how amateur my efforts would be.   There's a big wide ocean of difference between the work of a baby quilter and a professional one, and that ocean makes the new and naive look merely sloppy and childish.  But I can sew, so a pin cushion is something I could send to a stranger without dying of shame. 

So, anyway, back to the swap.  If you've taken part in one before, then you'll know the drill, I didn't.  We were each asked a series of questions about ourselves, the answers to which gave all of the swappers some information to go on when it came to making a pin cushion for each other, I just thought Bea was asking me for herself,so duh! my answers are going to be about as much use as a chocolate teapot to the others  My next offering is going to a lady who follows and would love to emulate the work of Jenny of Elephantz,  I had never heard of this lady and for anyone who would like to take a look you'll find her

Grab button for ELEFANTZ
Jenny of Elefantz Sew-a-long
This is another lady who makes the simple look just 
beautiful.  So, here I go flying over to the blog,to take a look at her 'stitchery' as she calls it, and I think to myself, I can do that!. 
Well I'm here to tell you No I can't.  I think I must be using a different thread which accounts for some of the differences, but I've discovered that it is a million miles from the sort of backstitching you do to sew up a split seam, or repair a hem quickly, to the sort of backstitching that requires perfectly regimented stitches in a perfect line all the time with no deviance.  If you are a single thread out, it shows, it is a full blown, mistake riddled, horror infested, NIGHTMARE.

It's a bit like the advice you get from experienced quilters, when you choose the backing for your first quilt don't choose a plain one, it will show every single mistake, where in a pattern you might be able to slip in the slightly off line row of quilting, or hide the fact that you had to go back over that bit,  on a plain background, the go-over is going to scream out of the pattern.`

It's great to see the work of other Quilters and Sewer's, and the different styles can get a bit mind-boggling, but the very diversity of what's on offer means there's got to be  a place for each for us to rest.  What I won't be doing though, is trying to emulate the perfection of a Jenny of Elephantz design any time soon,  as hard as I try, it seems that Simple is too hard for me!




"Keep It Simple S............?"

I hate acronym speak as much as the next person, but this one has been on my mind as I look into the world of patchwork and quilting outside of the half square triangle.  

There are a number of designers who do outstanding work and make it look so simple a 5 year old could do it, huh!  My investigations though have turned up some interesting things, so, whether you're a Keep it Simple Sweetie or a Keep it Simple Stupid person, you might find the following interesting.

Just because it is a very easy design, don't think you can pick up a piece of cotton fabric and start stitching,  you'll end up with a hot mess, ask me how I know?  how do you think!?  Embroidery floss, and I'm talking the 6 stranded floss that is hung up near the Cotton reels and Wool in most shops you'd visit, might be good for a lot of things, but not for all, and if you're a beginner like me, the first hurdle you're going to cross is using the right thread for the job.  The second, is that preparation is a big part of producing a beautiful piece.

You fabric MUST be reinforced, even for hand embroidery, you will get a hugely improved end result if you take the time to apply either stabiliser or interfacing to the cloth.  It becomes clearer why, when you look at the way some of the stitches are worked, you can't keep sticking a needle into the same place on the fabric, and pull thread through it every time without getting holes,  especially if you're using fine fabric, you can get away with it on Aida (Cross stitch fabric) but not on Kona.  Ask me how I know?  I'm too ashamed to show the results of the earlier trials, suffice to say, at least they show me how much I improved,.