Friday, February 06, 2009
Words of wisdom from the mother of machine quilting
Harriet Hargrave spoke to the first meeting of the new guild here in the Triad, the Gate City Guild Guild, last night. Even though her luggage (and consequently, her quilts) didn't arrive with her, she had some really smart things to say. Trained as a consumer scientist in textiles, she is incredibly knowledgeable about the technical side of quilting. She talked about irons and pressing, sewing machines, needles, attachment feet, thread, batting, and marking tools. She discussed the myth of the quarter inch seam. (Did you ever think about the fact that we aren't accounting for the width of the thread? That ends up making the finished blocks just a little short.) For a store owner, she also made some rather revolutionary suggestions--stop buying things, create from your stash, and finish the things you've already started. She rightly pointed out that many of us are toppers not quilters. Many people send their tops off to be quilted and bound by other people, losing the satisfaction of having made a quilt all by themselves. Most importantly, she invoked Malcolm Gladwell's theme in his book, Outliers, that 10,000 hours of practice make the difference between a genius and a mediocrity. She cited the example of people who take her machine quilting classes and want to learn, but are not willing to put in the hours of practice that are required to get really good at it. All around good advice: use the right tools for the job, be a quilter rather than a topper, use what you already own, and practice, practice, practice. It was an auspicious beginning for the new guild.
Photo credit http://www.ctpub.com/client/client_images/authors/Hargrave_Harriet.jpg