Thursday, January 14, 2010
Learning From Non-Quilters
The Lasqueti quilt is finished. I prepared a wool batt from genuine Lasqueti sheep (processed off island by a carding mill in Alberta) by sandwiching it between layers of cotton scrim and hand basting it together. The group had originally thought it would be hand-quilted, but when I found I could fit it through my machine they enthusiastically agreed that it should be machine quilted - a simple stitch in the ditch.
The loss of character was unceremoniously traded for convenience and a desire to be done with it. Easily understood since people were suffering from post-Christmas exhausted and recovering by browsing the seed catalogues, and compounded by the fact that few were confident about their hand-quilting skills. But, personally, I think that a more dense hand worked stitch would have given more texture and evened out the puffiness. It is a community quilt however, and the will of the group prevails.
And here is where my inner bossy perfectionist had to just sit down and shut up. With this quilt, participating was more important than technical finesse. And, ultimately, it all worked. Quirky, improvisational and resourceful - a true Lasquetian.
One of my favourite blocks is the classroom scene by Bonnie Olesko. I like the expressive stitching and her use of unconventional materials - the letters on the blackboard are worked with sparkle glue. Don't know about the archival quality there but it's an example of how someone without indoctrination in the "proper" way to do things finds a solution.
One of our island businesses is Wildwood Buttons. Fallen yew branches are collected and sliced into beautifully finished rounds. With great imagination, Kathy and Lawrence Fisher created a tree of life with their distinctive buttons. (As a side note, Lawrence was the only man to contribute to the quilt.) As non-sewers they can be forgiven for not knowing the heaviness of the square would make it difficult to join to the rest. (Hey, I love a challenge!)
Dazy Drake's humorous portrayal of Pat's garden is another standout. Working without a hoop caused a lot of puckering, but what would have caused my inner critic to scream bloody murder turned out to enhance the design.
More squares to follow...