Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Learning

I'm bit of a late-bloomer, me.... Somehow, as an Aussie kid, I missed out on learning to do a basic Aussie crawl. I had no confidence in my ability in the water, and with good reason.

At 26 years of age, I booked myself into weekly swimming lessons and practised every day until I was a competent, confident, daily lap swimmer. People commented on my perfect swimming stroke.

Throughout 5 years of living in Ireland, I dreamed of Fitzroy Pool under a clear blue sky.

These days I swim when I can, and it feels like... home. I struggle to remember what it was like to NOT be able to swim.

Photo of Fitzroy Pool by Laura Naomi

Similarly, I learned to drive late (and despite having a natural inability to coordinate the whole driving thing...). I practised.

I was even a late-comer to computers.

And so.....


Lately, I've been playing around with the BSR (Bernina Stitch Regulator) gizmo on the fancy-schmantzy sewing machine - trying to teach myself to freehand quilt with nice even stippling.

I have no probem with artsy-fartsy free-motion machine embroidery, but I've never learned to do that controlled squiggly stuff. It's a strange experience to feel out of my depth in front of a sewing machine. It's usually my comfort zone.

There has been much making-of-pot-holders and table-mats at my house lately ....to the point where comments were made about the possibility of a badly-quilted cover for every appliance in the kitchen.

So I made a bathmat (out of a home-deco panel from Spotlight and a towel backing .... which will probably shrink horribly out of shape at the first whiff of water). It felt more useful than practising larger-scale stippling on calico.

If you squint and turn off the lights, you won't see too many jagged or crossed-over lines in my stippling, and I can begin to see improvements on the early potholders. I hope to - one day - look back at this bathmat and scoff at its amateurish mistakes.

***
The BSR kept up its end of the deal - the stitches are nice and even!

19 comments:

A Peppermint Penguin said...

ooh that is pretty fabric.

I was going to say it was nice to know there was something crafty you aren't good at. But you are rapidly disproving the point! Yer, just a genius (who works hard).

quilted 'fabric' can be made into bags you know. (FMQ a large piece of lining fabric and use it inside a laptop bag, furinstance.)

Cheers,
AJ
who can't swim
can't drive
is a bit out of date with computer stuff
and can't FMQ either.

Fiona said...

Looks pretty much perfect to my untrained eye - and I love the fabric!

Fiona

Who can't do lots of stuff really ... but I'm not gonna list it all or I'll lose sleep and that would be tragic!!

Belinda said...

Oh, I am at the point of quilting a quilt for my son..... and of course I was pointed in the direction of free-motion quilting. Scares the heck out me though....

Bethany said...

I hope my free motion quilting adventures turn out as "bad" as yours. Potholders are one of the quicky projects I have lined up--we'll see if I'm forced to resort to staight lines.

Tania said...

No? The Fitzroy pool/living abroad/dream thing... Really? Mine was the East Boundary Road pool. Vivid dreams I can remember stroke by stroke, breath by breath a decade later.

sooz said...

Well if you want to feel incredibly competent you can teach me because I have NO idea and would love it. I think I have a similar stitch regulator thingy on my machine and must learn how to use it...

Bellgirl said...

Good idea with the bathmat- I've been thinking of trying FMQ and had resigned myself to an overflow of potholders!

rachelmp said...

Quilting neat squiggles is my craft-envy. The bathmat is a great idea, and one I might borrow!

Fer said...

Now that's the sweetest bath mat I've ever seen! And your quilting looks fine.

I grew up only ten minutes' drive from Torquay, so I've been a water baby for as long as I can remember. I love that you tackled swimming at a later age, and that photo of the pool makes me wish for summer RIGHT NOW!! :D

willywagtail said...

I have that same panel waiting to be turned into a nappy bag. The only time I tried stippling I also had very sharp curves. What I want to know is how large an area do you work in so that it looks like you are meandering everywhere and not concentrating on one spot. I need things to be mathematically correct but my brain just won't work for some things and I am too formal to be relaxed about it. (The rest of my life is totally informal though - see I can't even think of the right words!) Cherrie

TheAccidentalCrafter said...

I saw a FMQ demonstration on a Bernina at the Quilt show recently, she made it look so easy that it made me want to learn and buy a Bernina. I think you've done a good job on the bath mat. Now off to Spotlight to find this gorgeous panel.

Handmade said...

I'm a mean ass swimmer myself!!! I really am - love it love it love it..... driving- well, I was a bit of a late bloomer - quilting - well, if I had a BSR I'd be rockin like you!!! I have several Bernina's but none have the BSR - maybe one day!!! You're bath mat is superb!!!

MareeAlison said...

Nikki - growing up in Far North Queensland meant swimming was a necessity - as was dodging stingers!!

I love your bathmat and you have inspired me to try the same. I don't have the bernina with the BSA, but the pre-runner to it. I can still do the squiggly stuff but it's harder. I'm off to my local bernina club meeting tomorrow night so I'm going to ask them to remind me what the settings need to be and Spotlight here I come. That bathmat is hard to resist. Thank you.

Ooty said...

seems perfect to me! I am so scared to just even give it a try =D

our shabby cottage said...

Well done Nikki, I love the stippling, and isn't it easy once you get the hang of it! I Love the panel...

Katherine said...

Brilliant! So excited to see you quilting, Nikki. The more you stipple the easier it gets and pretty soon you'll be stipple quilting everything in sight. ;O)

Craftiness NOW said...

what a beautiful piece! i love the colors and images :-)

meli B said...

Seriously Nikki, that is some pretty keen work you are showing and I think you should keep on going. What a great idea - covering appliances, tissue boxes, toilet rolls, maybe even a dust cover for the TV! That should keep the unappreciative at home quiet!

M.Kate said...

Absolutely amazingly beautiful :)