Tuesday, March 13, 2012

No tools

Rick Santorum would like my fabric closet. The material in it seems to reproduce at will.

I start with a bin full of Kona cottons. I cut strips to make a small quilt. Now I have a bin nearly full of Kona cottons, plus a big pile of leftover strips. I know that the total isn't more than what I had when I started, but still it seems that way. (This reminds me of the time I asked my father-in-law, who knows just about everything -- and I mean that sincerely -- whether the earth weighs more than it did a million years ago because we've built so much stuff on it.)

Anway, these are good scraps. Certainly too precious to throw away. Yet the idea of restashing them seems foolish and counter to my plan to sew through it all. So I start another small quilt, one that will use up the strips. Except that it needs more than the strips I've got. So I have to cut more strips. And I will probably have some left over .... Clearly, I'm Sisyphus with a scissors.

Except that I don't use a scissors much anymore. When I first started quilting, the tools of preference were cardboard to make a template, a pencil to trace the template shape onto the fabric, and a scissors to cut out the fabric shape.

Shortly thereafter, though, someone transported the idea of the rotary cutter from industry to the sewing room. Along with the rotary cutting mat and the rotary cutting ruler, this device revolutionized my quilting by allowing me to speed through the formerly tedious cutting process, increasing my productivity.

Now, I'm not going back to the old way of doing things. But I wondered what would happen if I took those strips and trimmed them to different sizes without the aid of the rotary ruler to keep them straight. As I mentioned yesterday, I wanted to replicate a striped rug as a quilt and I thought adding a little organic wonkiness might be a nice touch.

I've found that even without the ruler, I can cut pretty (almost disappointingly) straight. But here's what's happening so far.

Of course, I did straighten the top and bottom of the completed blocks (there are two of them there) using the rotary ruler (old habits die hard). I also decided not to pay too much attention to the order in which I'm sewing on the strips. By being a little less deliberate, I hope to add some variety to my "high fiber" diet.

Speaking of diets and fewer tools, here's Thor. He ate a hole into the bag of cat food, then helped himself. I call this photo, Well, that's one way of doing it.

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