Monday, August 1, 2011

Finished Doll Quilt, DQS 11, and some more bitty blocks.... and some thoughts on swapping.

I finished it this morning and I'm as pleased as pleased can be! It measures out to be 17.5" x 14", finished.  It's adorable, if I may say so.  I would love to keep it, but I made it for my partner with her in mind the whole time and I just can't bring myself to "stiff" her like that. 

This is the back of just the top, you can see all the seams here- there are a bunch of 'em!

This is the back of the quilt, with the label and my partner's name blocked out.  I made this using a leftover bitty block from the month we did "text", this was one I made and it is perfect, I think, for this label. 


 And a close-up of the quilting.  I can honestly say that I worked harder on this little quilt than I ever thought I would.  And it paid off, I think.  All the cussing and ripping and re-doing was worth it. 

Thanks for looking at all the photos! 

And here are the bitty blocks I made for this month's group- Jars.  I took the liberty of making bottles, actually, but no one in the group seems to mind.  

Ships in Bottles-

 Close-up of ship in bottle-

This is my third attempt at paper-piecing and I'm liking it!

And at the risk of offending some people, I'm going to have a little rant, because this is my blog and I should be able to say whatever I want to here, right?  I don't want to hurt any feelings, but I think someone should be able to say what I think an awful lot of people are thinking. 

Some swaps require you to state a skill level when you sign up, that helps the swap mama to make proper match-ups.  Some swaps don't have that skill level taken into account.  Regardless though, all the skill-matching in the world won't mean a thing if people take the easy way out.  

When I see people making fabulous things for swaps that obviously took hours and hours, even DAYS, I am in awe and so appreciative of them.  Yes, I do it, too, and I know it's voluntary- I spend a lot of time making things for swaps because I am a perfectionist and I only want to send away my best work.  So when I see people showing off what they made and it obviously took them about 10 minutes to make what they are sending out, it pains me.  I have to wonder how in the world they justify that and feel like it's fair?   

As an example, and I'll just make this up- say the swap was "wonky houses".  Most people would piece or applique or embroider several different fabrics to make a wonky house, from scratch, and they would all be different and unique and so clever.  And a couple of people would search out fabrics that had wonky houses on them and cut them out and stitch them down onto another piece of fabric and call it done.  I don't consider that to be very creative.  Using novelty fabrics to consistently do all the work for you instead of creating something from bits of nothing, I disagree with that.  Every now and then, in my opinion, it would be OK, especially if the perfect novelty fabric was framed by pieces of other fabric, but to just use the novelty fabric and maybe add a few beads or something, that seems like taking the easy way out.  It's not very creative and I don't think it's in the spirit of the swap to do that.  Don't get me wrong, I LOVE novelty fabrics and buy them all the time.  But I rarely use them except as background fabrics when I'm creating something, or like the ship in the bottle, I used the ship as a feature in the block.  I realize that time constraints play a part, too, but a person should know their limits and only sign up to do what they think they can really devote themselves properly to.

So I wish swappers everywhere would ask themselves this- "Am I putting enough effort into what I'm making to be fair to the others in the swap, considering the efforts they put into it?"  If your answer is yes, then that's wonderful.  If it's no, then I am sad.  

And that's my rant for the day.  Please play fair.  


Spiced Coffee said...

First, let me say that your little pinwheel quilt is the most exquisite little thing ever. Your partner is very, very lucky!

Second, I couldn't agree with you more regarding the swaps. One of the best thing about swaps is that they give you an opportunity to hone your skills, try new things and, yes, show off the things you really do well! When I see someone doing the very minimum in return for something that took hours to make, it is extremely disappointing. I think before joining a swap, everyone should ask themselves, "Am I ready for this swap, or do I need to do a "Swapalong" on my own to practice, practice, practice until I'm able to get the same results I admire in others. How can someone feel comfortable cutting a cute motif from one piece of fabric, then stitching or fusing it to another and calling it good? That being said, I think the group administrators of a group have the responsibility to provide clear guidelines and then to enforce them.

Your little ship in a bottle is amazing! You are a paper piecing natural!

dolores said...

Heheheh...thanks for the heads up! Too funny that you should write this as I have just finished handquilting my DQS11 and I am totally not happy with it...I shouldn't have ever tried to do it for this swap as I am new to paper piecing and now I feel I need to go back to the drawing board. I am being honest when I say I am an intermediate quilter. I can art quilt with the best of them but this traditional quilting kicks my butt! I have so much to learn!!

Your mini is amazing...that is what I WANTED mine to look like but alas it isn' that waving quilting too...hmm....I think I have seen that somewhere else too!;)

Cindy Sharp said...

Amen to that!

I've had a few similar disappointments, but had to let them go before they drove me nuts. Now, I do my best and assume that my partner has too. I don't mind receiving work that is somehow less than mine (as if) but not when it feels slap dash. Learning curve is okay, laziness is not.

Emma said...

Your doll quilt is gorgeous! I love the photo of all the seams - even that is neat!

Your blocks are amazing as always; I love the detail you put into designing them and the touch fo whimsy they have.

I totally agree about the swaps; it's partly why I do so few!

Lily Lemon said...

You tell 'em, Sooz!;)

Kim Carroll said...

I couldn't have said it better myself! I have been very disappointed in some of the bitty's I've received over the past year, but finally had to just "accept" it or I would have given myself a stroke! I'm glad to see someone say it out loud!!

Your DQS mini is the most perfectly awesome thing ever!! I want to favorite it a million times!!

Geta Grama said...

You have a lot of patience to press all those seams open! What can I see about the size of the blocks- insane! Certainly all your effort was worth it! A fabulous quilt for a swap-your partner will be thrilled!

Pattie Crum said...

It's a shame that now the term 'art quilt' means I don't have a clue about squaring up a block or not cutting off points or makeing my seams match. Get some skills people, then you can feel good about your work.

BuggletQuilts said...

I totally agree on the swap thing. It's very upsetting to put so much thought, time and care into your swap then get back something that was so rushed and slapped together that it's unintentionally 'wonky'. I actually ripped the binding off of one I got and put it on properly. It made it somewhat presentable then, but didn't make up for the terrible piecing and cheap JoAnne's fabric that was used.
I also get aggravated that 'art' and 'modern' are used to justify not actually having technical skills.
The spam thing is interesting too. I never got them until a few months ago, and now I get them all on one post, the word verification is not stopping it either. It's weird.
I love your mini's. Both are gorgeous, and the ship in the bottle is especially inspired.

Susie said...

Wow. I have to say that this is why I've never participated and will never participate in a swap. I know that my quilting skills aren't perfect by any means as I'm human and mistakes happen. However, I'm also not one to send out shoddy and haphazard work. (I'm also not a fan of this "modern" thing going on right now either but that's neither here nor there.)

What I find most disheartening are some of the other things being said that are rather mean-spirited and can be seen as downright hurtful to some. "Cheap JoAnn's fabric"? Really? I'm sorry but did you stop and consider that maybe that the person making the mini couldn't afford the high priced fabric-snob boutiques?

I once considered joining in on one of the DQS swaps and read some of the threads and decided against it. I loved so many of the quilts but hearing the "disappointments" of apparently so many, I'm glad I didn't. A swap is supposed to be about the experience, the friendships gained, the skills learned, and the like. They're supposed to FUN right?

Don't get me wrong. There is absolutely NO excuse for laziness. I fully agree with what is said in the OP. A complete lackadaisical attitude has no place in a swap at all. Throwing a border on a novelty fabric and calling it a "modern quilt" isn't quilting and has no place in a swap either. Use some initiative. However, to simply attack a swap partner because they're not rich or a fabric-snob is hitting below the belt and I also think has no place in a swap environment.

stitchinpenny said...

I love your quilt and the ships in a bottle. I agree on the skill and dedication necessary to join a swap. I think there should be some parity, but I have never entered a swap because I am not skilled or artistically imaginative enough to share with most of the excellent artists I have seen.

Michelle @ the quilted tortoise said...

Gorgeous quilt and lucky partner!

I totally agree with your views about putting in effort for your partner. I was desperate to be part of a DQS and was so excited to put my name down for 11. Then I realised it clashed with my holiday and I would only have one weekend to work on it. I felt sick at the thought of not being able to give it my all and I emailed to pull out. I really hope this doesn't ruin my chances to be a part of DQS12! Cos I can't wait already :)

Pattie Crum said...

I don't think anyone is suggesting that your work has to be perfect, I've never made anything perfect and don't remember seeing many pieces that are but, you need to at least try to do your best work. As for fabric, you can get the good stuff for $5 a yard at any good website in the sale sections so why would you buy poor quality fabric for full price? It may not be the newest lines of fabric but why spend your precious time on making something of quality?

BuggletQuilts said...

I second what Pattie said about the effort as opposed to skill.

I would also like to eloborate on the 'cheap joanne's fabric'. As I have worked 2 jobs for years, I know the value of my hard earned money and I only spend it on things that are worth while. Cheap things made at the cost of the lives and health of people half a world away mean something to me, more so then mass quantities of cheap fabric.

Quality fabric can be found at reasonable prices all over the place, in the clearance section of your local 'fabric snob boutique' store, online, and Etsy to name a few.
I get good 'fabric snob boutique' fabric all the time for under $7 a yard, and a lot of time for $5 with no shipping or tax, so please don't use that as a cop out to use unacceptable materials that will deteriorate at the first washing or use. And if we didn't have 'fabric snob boutiques' aka brick and mortar quilt stores, we would all be missing out on a great opportunity to learn, collaborate, be inspired and be able to find fabrics to coordinate that we would otherwise never come up with online.

hediye said...

I had a similar idea in mind and planning to do in this weekend, such a unique idea. Your blocks are amazing as always, I like the detail you put into designing.