Thursday, October 22, 2009

Weekly Tip: Channelling Einstein

A few years ago, I had the chance to attend the Einstein exhibit at the American Museum of Natural History.  I already knew Einstein was smart...a genius...but I also have come to believe he would make a helluva quilter.  He had a sense of playfulness and simplicity that would work marvelously in the fiber arts.

One of the things I learned is that Einstein did not use his substantial brainpower on just anything.  For instance, if you see photos of Einstein, you will notice that he is wearing virtually the same outfit.  Apparently, he bought several of the same item...the same jacket, shirt, shoes, socks...and simply rotated them.  He didn't want to have to think about something as ordinary as clothes.  I have to say this works a lot better if you are a man (even if you're not a genius)  in the early 20th century.

I have taken several of my tasks and "Einsteined" them.  In this I rarely have to think about these tasks, and it makes it easier for me to get them done.  Here is one that I use for sleeves. I will post other "Einstein tips" in coming weeks.

I sleeve all of my art quilts, and many of my bed quilts, specifically the ones still in my possession.  This is simply because I don't know which ones will be submitted for an upcoming show.  Yet, this is not the Einstein portion of this task.  Einstein helped with the process of making the sleeves.  What I do is take long lengths (perhaps 5 yards) of muslin, cut them to a 9" width, fold them in half, and sew a seam on the long end.  I then roll them around tubes, pin and rubber band them.  I cut the lengths I need, and I have ready to go sleeves that need only be attached to the top of the quilt, and turn the short edges in 1/4" and hem their short edges.  I then do not have to worry about what fabric I use for the sleeve.  I use the muslin no matter what fabrics are used on the rest of the quilt.  If I'm feeling extra creative, I can stamp or put Paintstik rubbings on the sleeve, but since it's not a part of the quilt that is likely to win or lose points for me during judging, I save my meek brainpower for other aspects of my quilting process.

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