August 5, 2006

Quilt guilt swap

Alexandra at Artisokka wrote a great how-to on string quilting, one that looks easy enough for even me.

I have a confession to make: I’m a little freaked out by sewing machines. If it’s at all possible to stitch something by hand, I’ll do it. This may speak to my Type A nature, I don’t know… it certainly makes working on the sewing-related book Xan and I are writing interesting!

(The key is to divide responsibilities based on each other’s strong suits — she sews much, much better than I do. So I’m the designated writer / photographer / organizer / maker of things involving knits or fiber arts, with both of us designing the majority of the actual garments via sketching things out together. It works for us).

A small story to illustrate my point: last summer, when we were taping Uncommon Threads, a problem developed with one of my step-outs. You make multiples of each step in a project so that you can swap them out while the episode is being taped, it’s the crafty equivalent of the already-roasted turkey in the oven. It required restitching, and there wasn’t enough time to do it by hand. Xan stepped in to help. Someone walked by and made a funny comment about her doing my work for me, to which Xan responded “Hey, you keep coming up with the ideas and I’ll stitch ’em.”

(Have I told you how much I love her? And by the way, here’s a sneak peek top-secret preview photo from part of our book which ties into the topic of this post…)

Now, this is not to say I do not want to conquer my (fear? loathing?) of the sewing machine. I have a very nice one sitting sweetly in my studio, whispering “I’m not so bad, come play with me!”

Quilt guilt? Huh?

What I’m getting at here is that I need a reason to force myself to overcome this distaste for machine sewing, and that Alexandra’s quilt tutorial would be a good starting point. Straight lines, not a lot of thread- and bobbin-switching, lots of ironing and trimming and all the other things I like to do… Further inspiration struck when I saw these extremely cool quilting templates that will make rotary-cutting everything a snap, and the quilt square swap was born!

Here’s the concept: make your squares (we’ll decide on a common size) and send them in to me. If you sent in 5, I’ll send those 5 out to 5 different people. If you’re crazy ambitious and send in 10, they’ll go out to 10 different people, etc etc. Since you can set the number you want to make, no one should get too overwhelmed. Also, if you send them in untrimmed, I could trim them all to a standard size so they match up nicely for stitching together.

(I’ll probably end up quilting mine by hand, though. No machine’s ever going to take that fun away from me).

Secondly, what would you think about doing some sort of fundraising event attached to it? Here are my two ideas:

  • I’ll post photos of all the squares and we can bid on the ones we really, really want, with the proceeds going to charity… sort of a cheat for getting exactly the squares you want in the swap, or
  • Everyone will make one already-backed and quilted square, which I’ll sew together into a full quilt, and we’ll auction it off on eBay for charity.

The charity would either be breast cancer (via Team Knitty‘s Run for the Cure) or Heifer.

You all know my crazy schedule, what with deadlines and the upcoming book tour and such, so I’m thinking they won’t be due until later in the year. So, whaddaya say? You in? Leave a comment if you’re interested and I’ll start assembling the list. Feel free to cross-post a link to this entry on your websites, other crafty sites, etc. Thanks!

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