I Only Make It Look Easy, Part One

Tracy wrote:

Okay, my last post mentioned the estimated number of hours I've spent at my sewing machine, just quilting and not sewing.

I am constantly amazed by the amount of time it takes me to quilt (actually, I'm amazed at the time it takes me to do pretty much anything at the sewing machine). I mean, it's sit down, sew one or maybe two squiggly lines and move on, right? Why, then, does it take me at least 45 minutes and usually over an hour to do one single block?

In an effort to document the how/what/when/where/why... well, that might be too ambitious, but let's try this, step by step.

First off, not even included in the at the sewing machine time, there's the three D's: determine-design-duplicate.

I start by looking for and assessing potential quilting motifs. This involves looking through my library at home - both in books and on my computer, checking out the city libraries, surfing the  web, and sitting down with pencil and paper (and a mega-eraser).

Once I find something that looks possible, I then have to figure out if it's quilt-able. Well, I guess everything's quiltable, but I'm hoping for the thing that will give the biggest bang for the buck (and create the fewest gray hairs while doing so).

F'r instance, this motif is quite cool, but it would drive me to drink. So many stops and starts and backtracks!

This one is also cool, and I can "walk the maze" in a continuous line. If you trace the motif with your fingertip on the screen, you'll find that this one will is made up of two continuous lines.

I've already accepted the sad fact that whatever I will be quilting will have crossed lines - the over/under weaving knot stuff (which I absolutely love) is not realistic for any more than a one-time thing*.

*Refer back to the gray hair and drinking comments*

Once I've got some 'possibles', then it's time to do some graphic manipulation. In the event that I've gotten a motif from an online source or from my computer, it just begins with opening the file. If it's from a book or a drawing, there will be scanning involved.

Once I open the file in my graphics program, I can then clean it up by removing stuff I don't want to use, or combining two different designs into one. After that, it's mucking around to make the motif into the correct size (1/2 inch smaller than the block size) and then printing. (that's 3 minutes, 3 seconds just to open and resize an existing, already-cleaned-up motif)

step 2

That's it for TWO of the D's: Determine and Design. Next up is Duplicate. And I'm still not at the sewing machine.

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