Wednesday, 24 September 2014

Therapeutic stitching...

One of the things I love about blogland, is we're not just about pretty fabrics and what we make of them ;-) There have been some excellent, insightful debates doing the rounds lately too, and I've really enjoyed reading people's views, and admiring their willingness to stick their neck out.

For the last year, my day job has been working in an addiction clinic. This certainly means I feel alarmed when people joke about their fabric addiction, and I've been so touched by the bloggers who have detailed the seriousness of this lately.

Other people have raised the (considerable) cost of fabric, and the price of each quilt. I don't know that we will ever win the battle on changing the mindset of the general public, and creating awareness of the financial cost and the workload that goes into handmade items... This quilt probably cost around £60 in materials but, again through working in a therapeutic clinic, I know that is the cost of just one session of therapy, while this has given me a whole week of gentle creative calm...

The debate around Aurifil and the setback to the feminist movement was extremely well covered, I felt, and informative. I didn't leave comments at the time, as I'd never used Aurifil before. If anything, I tend to react against the 'in thing' and so stuck with my usual thread of choice. However, I succumbed, to see what the hype was all about, and the quilting here is my first ever use of Aurifil, in a pale pink shade. 

Well, I do like it, and have no complaints over quality... but I don't get the hype! I did, however, enjoy a different moment of enlightenment over free motion quilting. My previous attempts have been mixed, and not that encouraging. Who knew that setting my stitch length to a precise 1.8 would lead to a complete transformation?!? I'd read before that you should have it on the shortest possible, but somehow 1.8 gave me precision stitching, with very little issues. Even creeping up or down by 0.2 of a stitch lead to problems on my rough piece.

Additionally, I experimented with speed. I'd heard people say set it on the fastest, others on the slowest... Turns out, my machine likes it bang in the middle. These discoveries lead to a whole new level of satisfaction :-)

The central Liberty fabrics came from a bonus ebay voucher I received, and from a seller there. The outer, edge pieces, were a purchase from Ali, and I so recommend her if you are shopping, not least for her great customer service! I was hugely fortunate to win her giveaway some months' ago, and have received a gorgeous package of Liberty charm squares every month, with one more to go. Exercising restraint, I have stored them away until the set is complete, but nearly there, so it was time to get some practice in!

Lastly, a few items for the never ending cycle of birthday gifts for the many parties Rosie goes to :-) I finally tackled the boxy pouch design, and love the end result.


  1. Ooh, lovely liberty - it's so pretty! Your FMQ looks great.

  2. Such a pretty quilt. I'm FMQ. I'm looking forward to some quilt making therapy very soon.

  3. Your quilt is beautiful and I totally agree with you on the whole week of relaxation for £60 line of thought. Quilting is about so much more than the finished item. My favourite has to be that cat print boxy pouch;s gorgeous!!

  4. Fran un quilt muy bonito, muy alegre, me gusta. No entiendo muy bien con el traductor lo que comentas del hilo, aún así el resultado es vistoso. Las bolsas tipo caja quedan geniales.

  5. Thanks for sharing your thoughts. I too have read the posts on real fabric addiction and whilst having signed up to a fabric fast I don't feel like I had a 'real problem' like the author but it certainly made me think about my behaviour. I also think you might be right about the cost of a quilt, it certainly won't stop people making them and I get pleasure from giving them away to charities who can pass them to people who will really feel the benefit, that is possibly priceless (some may disagree!).

  6. First I like your quilt, I like that you chose purple for the background, very girly...:-)
    That been said, I switched to cotton thread a couple years ago and I definitely like it better. Some say it's not as strong than polyester but when you look at older (vintage) quilts, you can see that "in most cases" the fabrics gave up way before the thread.
    I use cotton Gutermann, mostly because it is accessible to me and I can stock up on it when it comes down to half price at my local store. I tried Aurifil thread, I like it just as well. However, I don't see a difference with Gutermann and, Aurifil isn't accessible, I have to buy it online, it's not as convenient.
    Like you, I think Aurifil might be overrated...
    Let's not forget that some bigger blogs makes money advertising products on their blogs and probably get it for free...(Good for them). I think we have to be realistic in our choices and what works for one might not work as well for someone else.

  7. Fran your quilt is lovely, and I heartily agree that crafting has therapeutic benefits - being creative is a skill the majority of adults lose, sadly.
    Your quilting looks really good - regardless of thread used! I like to think of free motion quilting as a slow skill - I always have issues, with fabric tension (bunching on the back or front) and I know it is because I struggle to stretch my layers properly when I'm basting. That's the problem with the room size of the average UK house, and having carpets rather than wooden floors. It's a journey, and surely I'd be bored if it was perfect every time!