Friday, March 28, 2014

Tinkering - Off the Wall Friday

This week's version
This week - as I spent many hours pinning  - got me pondering about  how much one should tinker  with a design.   You know what I mean - changing a bit here and there - adding - taking away . . . . tinkering.  Sometimes I think its just another form of procrastination - other times its a part of the design process.  So when is enough  - enough???

I'd love to tell you the answer - but at this point in this project - I have no idea.  This week I spent a ton of hours putting what I thought at the time was the final design touches to the arch - pinning the baby together and finally sewing it down.  Then I got the image for today's blog and thought - hmmmmm - not quite.  Sighhhh as my teen would say #thestruggle.  I did make a promise to myself to get it basted down and started quilting by Sunday so I gotta make some final - final decisions soon!  So I guess I'm still not quite done pinning.

And a word about pinning.  What pins do you use?  Do you think they make a lot of difference what kind  - brand - length etc?  Do you change pins  with what you're doing??

I came to the realization this week that for me they sure do.  I thought I had an extra box of my favorite brand of pins Iris Swiss Superfine pins but of course I didn't.   So I had to use  my glass head pins instead.  OMG what a difference.  I couldn't get most of them to pin nicely through the seams and the foundation - they bent - they broke - they were just a general pain.  Luckily, I used my handy-dandy Amazon prime membership to buy a couple of tins of Iris pins and they were here in two days. (they don't sell them locally).  Once I got them - pinning was a breeze.  I didn't realize they changed the packaging and I love the new tin design.  I told my husband I should just bite the bullet and buy a tin of 5,000 but since I've only gone through about 2,500 in the first 20 years of quilting maybe that expense can wait a bit. 

Still they are amazing.  I remember walking into my first quilt shop and Milly, the owner, telling me that she wouldn't use any other pins except those.  I though $7 for a box of pins??  She told me she would refund my  $$ if I didn't think they were worth it.  And of course, they were.  Since I got them on Amazon (I swear do they sell everything on there????)  for $9.40 a tin they are still a bargain.  And yes, I did buy an extra tin.  Something tells me that with this masterclass, I'm going to need them.

So what have you been up to creatively?


  1. As someone who spends months and years on a piece, I am the last person you would ask about tinkering, but it seems to me that at some point the piece talks to you...and then you know it's done. And I am just thankful I can find any kind of pins at all!
    best, nadia

  2. Don't overdo it, I would say, but I'm a simple person! :-)

  3. Hi Nina,
    Just wanted to say I am really enjoying this piece. I like the design and I love the colours and the textured effect of the hand-dyed fabric.
    Oh - and thanks for hosting the link-up!

  4. I like it as is! I've watched the evolution and like what you've got now.

    Oh yeah, got a "pin wardrobe"-all kinds of pins for different purposes. I love the Iris too! And then I have my rot gut pins from JoAnns to put into my sheetrock "design wall".

  5. Thank you for the reminder about really good pins....I recently purchased some on the fly when I began a monster sized quilt......they are like working with small nails. New pins ordered already this morning...the others will be recycled!

  6. I've heard of those pins but never tried them. On your recommendation I think I will. For 10 bucks if they make my life easier, it's worth it.

    I just spent a week looking and tinkering on a piece. I think there just comes a time when you know or get sick of tinkering with it. Whichever comes first. This my sound wierd but I have a small design wall in my bathroom a good distance from ..... Ummmm.. Where I sit. So every time I sit, I look, have time to ponder and have come to many solutions that way.

    I know, wierd but it works for me:-)

  7. I struggle with this really often (knowing when it's done). And in contrast to some other people, I don't always finally get to a spot where I just "know". A lot of the time I just finally give up- which never feels right at the time. Sometimes with a bit of distance + finishing, I decide it really is right, and sometimes I still wind up wondering if I should have kept tinkering.

  8. Nina, thank you so much for hosting Off the Wall Friday. Love what you are doing here. I feel your pain. Composition is always the hardest part. And yes, there is definitely an art to attaining just the right balance. I'm going through it myself today. Wishing you a very happy and creative design weekend!

  9. Your quilt is looking good, Nina. Too much tinkering mess up a piece. It is like students that change their answers at the end of the test and it turns out their first answer was right. Although I did have a quilt that I changed several years after it was finished and hanging on my wall. I eventually cut off the border and just bound it.

  10. I looked on Amazon, but they all had shipping and at 5+, could not find one shipping with Prime.. maybe looking in the wrong spot.. thanks for sharing.

  11. found! there are two pages for the pins,,, but found the one with Prime, and only a few packages left.
    thanks for sharing!

  12. Great work Nina-Marie! Thanks so much for the Iris pen lead. Pens matter so much!! and I hate fighting with them. Some pens I bought years ago really seem like 'nails' so I use them for tough nailing tasks! Your piece is wonderful and I'm sure you will find the final final enough! best, deborah

  13. Just for the all probably know this...I don't monetize my blog at all. So when I mention a product its just something that I really like or thought was unique (read cool) in some way. I've also been deleting any improper commercial link ups. I love coming home from a long day of work and reading everyone's comments. You all are such a blessing.

  14. I'm all for tinkering. I do know that having a deadline helps me decide when enough is enough! I've liked your piece better each time I've seen it. I like the addition of green to the "wall." I also like it better without the horizontal line. Couldn't decide when I read the comment suggesting it.

    Had a professor once (research methods)who said: You do an exploratory study, then you do the follow up definitive study. But it raises questions so you do another exploratory, then another definitive....then you get tired and you publish. I think design is a little like that.

  15. Nina, I have a collection of pins, each bought for a different purpose. I rarely need small straight pins, because I can count on one hand the number of layered appliqué style pieces I have created. However, this week I needed a few and just used generic ones I have on hand. I keep each set on a different magnetic holder or a box.

    I find your blogs whispering to me as I work. I am learning so much from your learning with Elizabeth Barton. I've been struggling recently in determine the right width of a three strip border. I kept hearing "make visually decisions, visually." I often make them mathematically. Wasn't working this time. Then I looked at the progress on my design wall and had a eureka visual moment. Thank you!


Thank you so much for your comment! Its great to get feedback!!!