Saturday, June 11, 2011

To Quilt or Not to Quilt

God in His infinite wisdom 

Did not make me very wise- 

So when my actions are stupid 

They hardly take God by surprise
Langston Hughes, Acceptance

I’ve been trying to quilt a lovely quilt using my lovely pre-owned sewing/embroidery machine. It’s king-sized, so it’s humungous and thus heavy. I’m trying to use a pre-programmed quilting pattern of lovely swirls and circles. I am experience a performance level somewhere between that of beginning second-grader and a coma patient. I’m about ready to tie the quilt to a sledge, lug it up to the top of the highest mountain I can see, (not counting the mountains to the south which are actually in Mexico - because my quilt doesn’t have a passport), tie the quilt to an altar and burn the fucking thing as an offer to the quilting gods whom I have apparently, unintentionally, and thoroughly offended.

To be fair, I’m using 2-ply embroidery thread to do this instead of heavier 3-ply quilting thread made for the express purpose of sewing quilting blocks. Also, I’m not attempting to quilt tiny blocks which I would then assemble into a big quilt. Instead, I’ve sewn the blocks into a single quilt and pinned the lining and back into a largish quilt sandwich. This means I’m trying to place the quilt into an embroidery frame, hook the frame to the embroidery arm, and then lift and move the gobs of awkward quilt sandwich in sync with the moving frame so that the motor won’t overheat trying to move frame in tiny circles and swirls as it follows the quilting pattern.

Also, I’ve refused to attend any of the instructional classes offered by local fabric and/or sewing machine vendors because the people who attend them wear clothing covered in cat hair and loose threads, and talk about their grandchildren and what they are going to eat next, and I have not quite sunk to that level. So the learning curve on my actual use of the machine to sew quilt patterns is steeper than the broad side of a barn. M’kay?

Still, why should my ability to quilt be based on such objective facts as my ignorance and use of the wrong thread? My quilting ability should not be subject to such banal reality, any more than it should be subject to the vagaries of fortune, the whims of fate, or the ply of my thread. Based on my extremely high degree of natural beauty, my expectation of exceptional levels of accomplishment consistent with my desires and presumed intelligence, my natural entitlement to the best the universe has to offer, my subtle but innovative sense of personal style, and my compliance with most of the provisions of the Patriot Act, I should possess mad quilting skilz by now.

Instead, I find the present state of affairs quiltingwise to be unacceptable. This too should hardly take the quilting gods by surprise.

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