Sunday, January 13, 2008

Quilting Calisthenics

So many people think of quilting as something wimpy old ladies do. Well, let's dispel that myth right now!

Sure older ladies can quilt, but they are far from wimpy. One has to be in pretty good shape to maneuver a quilt from the first block to the bed covering it will finally become.

Let's just take a little peek at a few of the muscles needed to "sandwich" a quilt. Sandwiching is the process of putting the backing fabric, the center batting, and top together so that it can be quilted. I use safety pins for this.

Most of us are not lucky enough to have a huge quilting studio with enough space to wreste around with the 10-foot piece of fabric required by a king-sized quilt. For me to get a quilt sandwiched, I must crawl around the kitchen floor for over two hours.

Here are a few of the positions I was in and just a few of the muscles I used this morning:

quadriceps, Rectus Femoris
Vastus Lateralis (Externus)
Vastus Intermedius
Vastus Medialis (Internus)

raising arm to sew batting together:
deltoids, Flexors

Pushing body back to expose more batting surface:
deltoids, biceps, triceps, brachioradialis muscle, upper and lower leg muscles

Smoothing wrinkles from batting:triceps, biceps, thigh muscles

standing, bending to rearrange top: glutes, abdominal and thigh muscles
standing, bending, walking in same position to cut excess batting:

Reaching/Stretching to smooth corner:
glutes, abdominal and thigh muscles

So if your new year's resolution is to have stronger muscles, you might want to consider taking up quilting!

This is what I ended up with after two hours of work.

A quilt top with 260 pins holding all 3 layers in place so that I can begin quilting it.

I feel so good now that this is done (it's my least favorite part of the quilting process). Now I will have plenty to keep busy until I get my machine back.


  1. Wow! What a workout (and in a skirt too)! Watch out, these photos may be nabbed by some quilting site they are so good. I can just hear you calling DH-ok I'm doing this now, get the camera. I would have trouble with the cat food and hair in the kitchen to use that particular floor.

  2. Ok now I am tired ..and have no quilt to show for it!
    Great muscle workout Zoey...who needs the gym??
    And what a pretty quilt it is!

  3. You find fun in the oddest things, Zoey - like this post proving you're not wimpy.

    I guess it's a good thing I don't quilt -Even if vacuumed and washed, the kitchen wouldn't work - our floor area is way too small.

    At least those quilting calasthenics can keep you warm!

    Annie at the Transplantable Rose

  4. Did your husband take the pictures? B/c if you were doing it yourself with the auto-delay mode, I'm even more impressed! :)

  5. LOL, everyone. I was just working on this quilt when I started thinking about all the different body contortions I was in while crawling around the floor. I thought, "Gee, I wonder if anyone has considered just how many muscle groups are required to baste a quilt..."

    And a post was born. :)

    Dianne and chopsticks--I took the pics myself--auto delay mode just like you thought, chopsticks.. DH was in bed as it was only 6am when I was doing it. Besides he thinks I am a little nutty taking pics of everything I do!

  6. My neighbor ( who is in her 70s, pays my daughter and her friend to baste her quilt layers together. One young woman sits on the floor, under the quilting frame, and the other young woman gets the needle from above. But these are pictorial (art) quilts, not bed-size quilts, and she wins prizes on a national level, so I guess that pays for the labor. She is not in good enough shape to do what you do Zoey.

  7. Kathy,
    What beautiful work Mrs. Bedford does!

  8. LOL! I have done this and can vouch for the fact that it is indeed a workout! My back and knees can no longer handle it, so I purchased some large tables I can push together to do my basting on.

  9. OMG How funny! I will be the first in line to buy this Quilt/Exercise video. Please keep me posted on the release date.


  10. Hi Kathie LOVE the pictures of you pinning the quilt especially the one of you lying lying on top of it! That's how I always feel when I have finished the pinning! Someday when I am rich I will send out my quilts to be quilted by someone else. What a luxury that would be! I love the colors you've used!


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