Friday, November 2, 2012

Nancy Smith's Block

This month's block was made by Nancy Carlile Smith.  You can get a pattern for this block at Two Bits Patches. Nancy's mother Mary was a sister of Alice Criswell who made the quilt; so Nancy was a cousin of the bride Mary.  Nancy was married to James Smith and had three children when she made her quilt block.  Nancy had two more children and lived to the age of 68.

When I was drafting this block I was conscious of the irregularities in the applique. The ruffles around the outside aren't evenly spaced.  The reverse applique cutouts had a bit of a jag in the middle.  So, I redrew the outside line so the peaks and troughs were evenly spaced.  I considered doing a cut and paste in Photoshop to get the edge perfect.  The inside cutouts would benefit from a drawing compass, I thought, so that each semicircle was equal distance from the centre and from each other ....

And then it struck me that the pattern I was drawing no longer looked like the original block.  It looked quite nice, but I had somehow lost the character that made this block Nancy's.  I went back to my original tracing and kept the pattern as much like the original as possible.

I'm still in two minds as to whether I should have averaged those peaks and troughs.  Would it look better if it wasn't quite so .... undisciplined?

Have no fear of perfection - you'll never reach it.
Salvador Dali

I wish my stitching was perfect, nothing wrong with that.  However, I usually go for speed rather than perfection.  If I finish a seam and think, I should do that again, but don't; that's fine by me.  If I look at a seam three or four times and think it could be better then I do unpick and sew again. 

How do you approach your sewing?  Is it the journey or the destination that gives you pleasure?  I'm certain there aren't wrong and right answers, just different answers. Are you going to even out Nancy's block?


  1. Unfortunately I do go for perfection (not that I get there!)which slows me down. I chose to re-do some of block 2 and I've just pulled apart the prepping on block 3 as I didn't think I had centred it enough so now I'm behind :( Knowing me I might be tempted to 'even out' Nancy's block, I'll have to see what it looks like.

  2. For me I think it was always the journey. I enjoyed the process and didn't mind doing it over until it was the way I wanted it. I have never been in a hurry to finish, but as time passes and I seem to be running out of it I find I am more relaxed and little things don’t bother me as much. Now it has become more of the destination.

  3. Nice block, Sharon. I do like the cut outs - makes me use a bit more skill. Wendy

  4. I love this block! And I love it's wonky unevenness. I'm all about the journey and the design and the fiddling. I left perfection behind years ago and I've never looked back!

    I've been tempted by this quilt for months, and I think it would look fantastic in modern fabrics. Hmmm - more to ponder!

  5. I am the same as Michelle's comment above: I love the wonkiness. It makes it interesting. I saw a quilt some years back which had been reproduced and evened out and it looked dead to me. I will not even it out - that would be like erasing the bumps in life. Definitely about the journey - if the journey is fun, then the destination is enjoyed!
    K :)


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