Friday, January 27, 2012

Least favorite parts

I'm working on the left front of the Ropes and Picots cardigan (I'm nearly done with it). And I got to thinking about the "least favorite" parts of various hobbies.

For me, with knitting, the least favorite parts are either when you are doing the neck/shoulder shaping on the second (say, the left front) side of a cardigan or something, and the directions contain the ominous instructions: "Shape neck as for right side, reversing shaping." Oh, I can DO it. It's not that difficult for me. But it does interrupt the flow of the process, because you have to stop and think about it. (I often just sit down and write out the reversed shaping, so then I can get back into the flow of knitting).

I also dislike the (necessary in some cases, but hated) "Decrease for neck WHILE AT THE SAME TIME, when armhole reaches 6 1/4" (or whatever), begin wraps and turns for shoulders...." That WHILE AT THE SAME TIME also breaks up the flow of working, because I'm obsessive enough to stop at every right side (or wrong-side, depending on how you are to do the shaping) row and measure to make sure I've not overshot. Also, there's the whole sense of that second direction "hanging over your head" so to speak.

I also find measuring armholes difficult...I can measure it three times and get three slightly different numbers. (The problem comes because you bind it's not a straight edge...and you have to estimate either where to put the end of the tape, or where the end of the tape would be relative to the shoulder).

A little while back, Lynn wrote about the steps she disliked in quilting - mainly, cutting. And yes, I can see that: I dislike cutting too, especially if it's the type where you're having to trace templates and cut with scissors. I do a lot more of my cutting with a rotary cutter now...when I first started quilting I always felt like rotary cutting wasted a lot of fabric (and for some block patterns, it would, so if I want to do those, I use templates and a scissors). Most of the tops I make now are ones that are designed to be rotary cut. (I am a bit of a Luddite in many ways, but I have to admit I love my rotary cutter and rulers). Again, I think part of it is the it-slows-you-down aspect or that it breaks the flow of your work. (Funny...I don't generally feel that way about ironing off fabric, which I know is a step some people dislike. I find ironing rather soothing, especially this time of year when my sewing room tends to be a little chilly).

Another step that I'm not so in love with is binding. This is because the way I do bindings, I first sew the binding on to the front of the quilt with the machine - which is a big effort, you have to wrestle with the quilt to get it to go under the foot of the machine. And then (again, the way I do bindings) you hand-sew the folded edge of the binding down to the back of the quilt (so the binding totally wraps around the raw outer edge of the quilt, and there are no raw edges sticking out). That's a time-consuming process though I dislike it less than the wrestling-the-quilt-under-the-machine. (That said: I have a quilt that I've machine-stitched the binding to, but just can't quite make the time to do the hand-sewing part. Maybe this weekend).

The most exciting parts of quilting for me are (a) planning the quilt (getting a pattern I like, finding the fabric I want to use for it) and (b) when all the blocks or segments are done and I start putting the whole thing together.

Actually, I have little stacks of fabric with folded-open quilting magazines (or with patterns I've bought tucked in the stack of fabric) all over my sewing room; I don't know how many quilts I have planned ahead but it is a lot. (And once I can get a big enough open block of time to lay out and sew together the Sherbet Pips blocks, I will start yet another quilt...just not sure which one yet. Maybe the one using the Jelly Roll of bright, fun zinnia-themed fabrics I bought on my LAST birthday - I finally found a pattern I really like for that one).

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