Sewing: scenes from a workshop

 I did quite a bit of experimentation on how I was going to assemble my quilt squares, but I wound up settling for making 18 “eye” or “Square” formations out of my striped-two-ways squares, and turned those into the squares on a large throw quilt.  I think I’m going to put a black backing and a blue binding on it, with of course a fair bit of batting in between the layers.  I may also take this one to get professionally quilted; I’ve learned that there’s a place a couple of town over that does things like that.

Overall, I have to say that this was probably not worth the time that it took to make.  I started working on this quilt on Sunday, when it took most of the day.  It also took most of Monday, and about half of today, Tuesday.  I started with pre-cut 2.5″ strips, too, to make the squares, and it took me about a day to make all the panels that then got cut into the squares that got subdivided into the angled squares that now make up this quilt, four to a block.  I also had to cut all the edging for the windowpane effect around the squares. And for all that work and labor, I got a beautiful quilt. But what to charge for it? I know what the market will bear, and what it won’t.

This second photo gives you some idea of the scale of the work of turning all those squares into blocks.  Each square on the table gets sewn to three others to produce a block, and blocks got sewn together into five rows of four, with windowpane edging between and around them.  Around twenty seams sewn with my sewing machine per block, not including cutting and trimming time.  An expensive effort in time.

Yet beautiful.  I think that’s sort of the point, too.  The real elegance of this work, this process of making quilts, comes from the assembly (sewing together), disassembly (cutting apart) and re-assembly (sewing back together under new circumstances) according to a certain level of algorithmic plan and personal artistry. It’s not a perfect object, this quilt.

But why would anyone pay for a machine made quilt that obeyed only an algorithm. This is not the work of a robot, but an artist.

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  1. It’s so pretty!! First time commenter and fellow Druid here. I feel your pain on not being able to take it to market — as a songwriting musician, this has pretty much been my life experience. Nevertheless, it is gorgeous and very special and you brought it into existence.

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