Mama Deb (mamadeb) wrote,
Mama Deb

I do NOT need another hobby.

The knitting thing is already taking too much time/money and I'm still enjoying it.

And it's not like I've doing the writing thing lately, either.

But I've been watching craft shows a lot lately, and while the scrapbooking holds no interest for me, the quilting shows were...interesting, in that they were having fun with geometry. Not the way they were doing things, which were more about the pretty threads and the "embellishments" (I really am coming to dislike that word) and the fancy machines that do all the work, but the results of pretty placemats and bedcovers (and , yeah, wall hangings). The machine quilting which is all they showed - well, you need shortcut techniques because to do it, you need to sit down at your machine and have your iron all ready (and it seems as much ironing as sewing) and you can't do anything else at all.

I like knitting. You knit a shawl or afghan or sweater on the couch watching television. You take a sock or other small project with you on the bus or subway, or to the doctor,and it's very sensual with the yarn slipping through your fingers and the different feels of knitted work, and how the needles fit your hands - I very much like the change when I go from sock needles to larger ones, or wood to metal, or sock yarn to worsted. I have a feeling I'll enjoy knitting laceweight for the same reason. I'm very much a tactile person, and knitting satisfies this. It even makes listening easier - a couple of weeks ago, I thought I'd listen to my current lecture series (on the life and times of Henry VIII) while getting a manicure and pedicure. Since, you know. You can't read while getting your fingernails done.

And. Seriously. I barely heard the lecture (on the Pilgrimage of Grace - two minor and quickly resolved revolutions after the Reformation), much less understood it. I switched to filk music. I barely got it because my hands were not busy. I normally listen while I'm cooking, and it's wonderful. I've also listened while knitting, and it's made long waits at the dentist or doctor fun, and long bus rides interesting. But if my hands aren't busy, my mind wanders.

But the quilting on craft shows is all consuming and you can't multitask at all. You have to be at your machine and table and that's it - or you let the machine do all the work with a program.

But I know the point of these shows is to sell the machines and the feet and the needles and all the other supplies, and so they're not going to show another way. And they even go so far as to say, "Hand (as in handwork) is a four letter word around here." Of course it is - it takes longer and won't sell stuff.

And then I saw an episode about miniature quilts - tiny replicas of full-sized ones. And while part of the show was about fabric choice - making sure the print is in proportion and works - another part was how to sew tiny, tiny squares and triangles and such *by machine*, and they clearly disdained a technique so obvious I came up with it right then and there (they used the term but I didn't know what it meant) - what turned out to be "paper piecing" - basically sewing the tiny pieces to a backing of cloth or paper. Instead, they sewed larger squares and cut them to size, often losing half the material in the process. And they never talked about another obvious solution, the one I suspect half the miniature quilters used.

So I did a little search and found an entire universe of *handpiecing* - no machines, no elaborate use of special rulers and sewing techniques which, in fact, are to *mimic* the look of handpieces and often seem wasteful of material. And you don't need to block out the time to do it - it's perfect for in front of the tv or for the doctors office - even for commuting if you know you won't drop your needle.

In terms of the miniquilts, I'd think it would take less time to use a needle and thread than all the elaborate arrangements they made to avoild it.

I can so see the attractions of hand piecing. But. Not yet. Not while I'm having so much fun knitting.

(What *do* machine quilters do when they watch tv? Knit?)
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