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28 April 2010 @ 10:05 am
Full Contact Quilting: It's not just for grandmas, anymore.  
So. I'm a seamstress. I sew. Before you pass judgment and go, "LAME!" let me explain. I only sew really, really cool stuff. Or stuff that can be used in cool ways. Stuff that I like.

Yeah, maybe it is lame. Read on if you aren't convinced I'm destined for "dorkiest" at my 20 year (gag) high school reunion. Oooh. I hope they don't give out that award. That would SUCK.

Again, I digress. I'm here to tell you a story. And let me preface with this: if I had actually leaned the fundamentals of sewing from my mother, I wouldn't be in this mess. My mother has always sewed. She made me a lot of cute clothes when I was little, along with some unfortunate culottes, but, hey. It was the eighties. What could she do?

I didn't learn to sew from mom. And even if she'd tried to teach me, I wouldn't have let myself BE taught from her. It's like cooking. Our personalities don't mesh well in academia. In other ways, we get on great, just not when she's trying to tell me what to do. Because I automatically want to do it MY WAY; and MY WAY, though well intended, never works as well as Her Way. Probably 'cause she's the mom and has 24 years on me.

Dang it, I digressed again.

So I sew. but I don't quilt. I do LOVE quilts. As I look around my living room, I see 15 quilts that are either used for throws or as decoration. Adore them. Don't want to MAKE them. The attention to detail is too much for someone who was taught how to sew in the airless, windowless basement costume shop in the Fine Arts building at the University of Texas at Arlington. Their motto is: If it looks good from twenty feet away, it looks good. That's an actual theatrical rule. The Twenty Foot Rule. Look it up.

No, don't. I don't know if it's real or not, but it's used, nonetheless. Anyway, when the fantastic woman who's in charge of designing the sets at the theatre called and asked me if I wanted a project, I said yes. She wanted me to make a quilt for the actors in Grease; 2 quilts to be exact. A 5 x 5 and an 8 x 8, in a simple patchwork pattern. She even gave me the fabric to use, in fun, bubblegum colors.

I thought: A quilt project where attention to detail isn't mandatory and I still get to make one? Score!

Oh, Carrie Leigh. How naive you were a week ago.

Let me just tell you, after crawling around on my hands and knees for a week, trying to piece this bad boy together, sew the topper, make the bloody thing smooth, adding batting and backing and wrestling it through my machine to quilt it? I'm a mess. My hands are so swollen so that I can't get my rings off, my knees are cracking (even more than they usually do) and protesting most all movement, and my arms ache from LIFTING the blasted thing as it goes through the machine. How the HELL did my grandmother do this? How does my mother? I can't see either one of them looking like I do at present; battle weary with a machine that's spitting curse words at me.

So all those sweet grandmotherly types posing by their darling quilts at state fairs and quilt shows? Know that that's all a scam. Those women are fierce. A force to be reckoned with. They have slogged through the muck and the mire to make something incredible, and it's worth every PENNY of the god-awful, astronomically high price that they want to charge you to buy one. Pay it. Don't bitch. It's worth it.

As for me? I'm obviously not tough enough to hack it. Once these projects are done, I'm hanging it up. I'm going back to making safe things like turn of the century bodices and fancy tote bags.

And I'm leaving the quilting to the professionals. Like mom.
I feel:: soresore
I hear:: The WIND. Wow. Hello, West Texas.
Ayla: Probie skillsabitofayla on April 28th, 2010 03:25 pm (UTC)
*huggles you* I can't quilt either. And I worked in a quilting shop too. That's some sad news there.

I too like making things sewing wise, and hand stitching/sewing. I actually just got done talking about sewing who had no interest whatsoever. Hm. Great minds...

I feel your pain. I attempted a quilt once. Epic failure.

Those grandma's are tough people. I wouldn't want to get on their bad side.
Carrie Leigh: I talk to myselfcarrie_leigh on April 28th, 2010 04:48 pm (UTC)
I'd like to work in a quilting shop. I LIKE quilters, by and large. I just have no desire to do it, myself.
Elle Blessingwayelle_blessing on April 28th, 2010 03:56 pm (UTC)

A full contact sport, huh? XD

I learned to sew from a quilter and my grandma. I love quilting. In fact, when we finally get our house together, I'm turning my part of the office into a place I can quilt (and will finally invest in a sewing machine; I've always done everything by hand. It's relaxing. Like writing HTML & CSS code. I know, I know. No room to judge, woman! :P)
Carrie Leigh: Clinically Insanecarrie_leigh on April 28th, 2010 04:50 pm (UTC)
You should see my office. It's a sewing room, painting studio, computer lab and library all in a 12 x12 foot room. What a MESS.

And, no. I have NO room to judge anyone.
O Demanding One: Urs: Blessedheyurs on April 28th, 2010 04:09 pm (UTC)

Oooohh! Quilts and quilting! Wondafee stuff. I learned from my Granny and many aunts. We were taught by hand. No machines until MUCH later. I still have several quilts that they made, too. Priceless! :D

Hang in there! I know you'll make them beautiful. :)

Carrie Leigh: Heavily Medicatedcarrie_leigh on April 28th, 2010 04:51 pm (UTC)
We shall see.

I know they'll be beautiful from 20 feet away!
Lyndsie Fenelelyndsiefenele on April 28th, 2010 07:53 pm (UTC)
This is probably why my mom, the quilting addict, used to always take over the entire dining room table. But, now she has a fancy quilt frame and sewing table, so I assume there must be some advantage to that.
Carrie Leigh: bitter lemonadecarrie_leigh on April 28th, 2010 10:21 pm (UTC)
So does my mom. Her sewing table is a thing of amazement.
seegrimseegrim on April 28th, 2010 11:44 pm (UTC)
We're spoiled here at your LJ, because my first thought was where are the pictures??
Carrie Leigh: Bunny winkcarrie_leigh on April 30th, 2010 01:42 am (UTC)
I can't find the USB cable. Or I would've. :)
rupert_talley: Danny from Greaserupert_talley on April 29th, 2010 03:15 am (UTC)
Who knew quilting could be so strenuous? I can't even sew a button on anything. lol

And yes that wind. Saturday was one of the worse though.
Carrie Leigh: Always forgivecarrie_leigh on April 30th, 2010 01:43 am (UTC)
Saturday was AWFUL. Sunday was gorgeous, though.
Carrie Leigh: applausecarrie_leigh on April 30th, 2010 01:44 am (UTC)
And a Grease icon! Hee!
(Anonymous) on April 29th, 2010 01:05 pm (UTC)
I agree with other commenter i want a picture. (and I can't believe you didn't call for helpful suggestions :)) ANON?
Carrie Leigh: baseball hatcarrie_leigh on April 30th, 2010 01:38 am (UTC)
Re: picture
Sorry, Mom. Next time.

I planted lotsa flowers Sunday. Can't wait for you to see.