My mother was a quilter and left me quite a few unfinished projects along with her fabric—lots of rust and turquoise==my least favorite colors. I’ve been working on finishing the little pieces as baby quilts for her great-grandchildren–but it has been slow-going.
There were quilt tops for each grandchild to be given on the occasion of their wedding–I have four left–two handed out this year.
And then there was this piece.
She had a class of quilting students–and together they decided they wanted to make a smallish wall quilt commemorating the establishment of Prairie du Chien–I think—I really don’t remember what event they were focused on—but here it is—-
I put it on that UFO list I talked about yesterday—and wouldn’t you know it–but it was number three and the number that was drawn for the month of January.
I had hoped it wouldn’t be the very first month—but here it is—and I’ll have to figure out how I want to finish it—and then take it to the new library in town and see if they have a place to hang it.
I’ve been working hard at converting quilt tops into finished quilts. I am really good at making lists–but somehow the list-making got done but the items on the lists just moved around–and never moved to the ‘done’ section.
Last Year I signed up for the American Patchwork UFO challenge–listing 12 projects and working on them in the random order determined by someone picking a number. I think I finished ten of the 12 projects I listed—plus several others. This one was not on the list, but now it is quilted and ready for binding.
It is easy to find the one block I turned the wrong way in this quilt—but it will have to stay there.
Some people don’t like the binding part—I don’t mind–and it never seems to take long. What I didn’t like was basting the top, batting, and backing. Now with Vivian–my Gammill, that is no longer a procrastination creator.
And yes, I filled out my form for another year.
Sometime earlier this year I made a list.
I’m good at making lists; its a good way to procrastinate. Instead of doing something, I can make a list–or just re-arrange things and then make a list.
However, after making a list this time, I set to work on doing some finishing.
In December, I quilted six tops–six that had been moved from place to place–but now are quilted and waiting for binding.
Some people dislike binding–I really enjoy it–it feels like the last loving touch on a quilt that will comfort and cuddle someone–it may be someone I know–or someone I don’t but it always goes with my love and prayer.
Vivian–named after my grandmother–and I quilted them. I like pantographs–edge to edge quilting patterns–I only have to think about the beginning and ending of each row–just once and then the ending row—otherwise it is mindless following the little red dot across a pattern–and for these two–it was a swirling curlicue with gentle curves.
My list still has quite a few on it–but I made a significant dent—now to the binding.
Sometime a year or maybe it was two or three years ago, I decided to try English Paper Piecing. I wanted something simple, something I could work on while watching/listening to movies on Netflix–or maybe an oldie from our stash of DVD’s.
I found a die cutter and promptly began to cut out dozens of hexagons from advertisements, used envelopes and then hand-basting bits of fabric to them. After I had accumulated a small bagful I put them together in small flowerettes at first and then just randomly. Eventually it became too big to manipulate easily and so it is now quilted in straight lines and ready for binding—and to rejoin me in watching/listening to movie in the evening as my lap quilt in my somewhat drafty and chilly living room.
That washed out look on the top–is from the sun streaming in across my Gammill long arm sewing machine—also known as Vivian.
My mother, like many women of the time, made most of her dresses, blouses, and aprons. Carefully the pattern pieces were laid out, the pieces cut–sometimes with a pinking shears as most of the fabrics were cotton and raveled in the wash. The garment pieces were then placed near the sewing machine–and the leftover fabric was rolled up and fastened with either a piece of selvedge or a straight pin. Mom tossed hers into a large cardboard box at the bottom of her wardrobe—closets being a luxury the farmhouse did not possess.
As the sewer and the daughter, I inherited all these little bundles. The straight pins had rusted and it was a chore to pull them out and iron flat all those scraps.
This is the quilt I made from all of those scraps–I still have some of the fabric left.
It was chosen for a special exhibit at the Quilt Museum in LaGrange Texas and then in the Quilt Festival in Houston. I was surprised and pleased to learn someone bought this quilt.
Now I have the memories and this photo of me standing next to it in Houston.
With a growing pile of quilt-tops and the reports of others leaving behind stacks of completed tops–and trying to complete the partially done projects left by my mother, I have been trying hard to lower that stack of guilt.
Four tops have now been converted to quilts but still need trimming and binding.
I’ve been piecing some backs–so much fabric I have–no need to buy backs–although it is so much easier to use a large single piece of fabric.
Mostly I do pantographs–a pattern I follow–I find it relaxing with the only difficult parts lining up the first row and figuring out how to do the final row.
But then I decided I really did need to try some free-form feathers. I’ve done a few–but it was time to try again.
And then load up the next top.
I’ve been working away on my Gammill (Vivian) longarm quilting machine for some time now. But the stack of tops to be quilted never seems to diminish. Maybe they multiply when I am not looking.
I did finish an Art quilt—to be used as the under-quilt of two figures. I’ve been experimenting with a different method to allow dense stitching on the figures with simpler stitching on the background. For a piece to hang correctly, it must be evenly stitched throughout—and to add details and shading and coloration with thread instead of patching together shades of fabric means the entire piece must have the same amount of stitching—-or the figures constructed separately and then applied to the piece.
I’ve gotten fond of the matchstick type quilting in vogue with the Modern Quilt Guild movement, it is quite simple, very effective, but does take a bit of time. I added some running stitches by hand to the background of this piece.
After I take a piece off the frame, I load the backing, batting, and the top for the next project in line. Then I have no excuses to not work when I go to spend time with Vivian.
Last night I turned into my driveway….home from a week in Wisconsin.
I drove through rain several times, the worst being in Arkansas with cold rain hitting hot pavement, sending up waves of fog amidst the downpour. No-one was driving very fast, including the semis. I stopped in Pocahontas for the night; I felt quite safe that night as I was surrounded by Sheriff Deputy marked cars—there must have been a convention/meeting/gathering…they were all out chatting and talking–no SWAT rifles or helmets or shields evident–just a lot of laughing and chatting.
Google sent me down 49 in Louisiana and through some really rough two lane roads; not to my liking. The small town of Keach established in 1888 struck my eye but I cannot find anything about it on the internet. Google must have heard me grousing about the quality of the roads and the lack of rest-stops and availability of auto-diesel as it then sent me around Toledo Bend Reservoir.
Rain again in Beaumont with steaming roadways and a deluge. People were driving slowly but fortunately I was heading south and they were mostly heading north.
I managed to catch half hour of no rain to unload the inside contents of my truck—a large box of produce===MacIntosh apples from my Auntie Hazel’s yard, pears from a high school friend’s yard, and tomatoes from our garden on the farm.
Today is a day to catch up with all the things that need doing—retrieving the dogs from the kennel–they had a wonderful time as I signed them up for extra play-time, dealing with email and work issues, reviewing photos and contemplating the events of the week.
I’ll be commenting on them as the next week goes by—but the primary reason for the trip was to attend the wedding of one of my nieces and to deliver the quilt my mother–her grandmother had pieced for her and I had finished.
This was the hardest of all the quilt tops she had left for me to quilt–I finished all those edges with a facing—and Tami–my niece—had a huge smile on her face as she peeked at the edges of her new quilts.
There will be a wedding next Saturday.
I have known about it for at least six months maybe more.
Yesterday, I had no choice but to load up this quilt top and begin. My mother had left a quilt top for each of her grandchildren–sixteen or twenty or maybe a hundred–and I was instructed to get them quilted as a wedding gift. Fortunately most of them were teenagers or even younger at the time and so it didn’t seem like an impossible task. I’ve gotten quite a few done but this one was the fanciest of the group—and one that I wanted to do up right.
Mom and I had very different ideas of what made pretty color combinations–maybe she had early cataracts but I remember her choices as a forty something that just seemed really dull and boring to me. The sage green was not appealing, the only bright spot the orange in the center.
That isn’t a wrinkle—it’s the bobbin thread somehow I have not mastered locking the stitches AND cutting the bobbin thread. I had a lot of these until I figured out a way to bring the thread up and give it a yank.
The first day is always hard–what pattern shall I use–and then you’ve got to line everything up–but I didn’t have a straight line to put at the edge. I had been advised to cut off all those fingers to make it easier to quilt and bind—but I left it as it was and did my best. It is far from perfect and in other hands would /could have been a prize winner. But it is now done, and I have four evenings to sew on its binding.
Here it is all done and hanging off the Gammill front bars. Maybe I will show you those fingers a bit later after I’ve faced them.
And then it will be on to the next one she left behind for me to complete. I found a few tops designated for maybe more grandchildren–or maybe the greats—I’ve done more than a few of those too–but still lacking a few–four more at last count.
Sometime a year or more ago I discovered a challenge issued by Pat Sloan—a hundred block sampler. I had bought the book ‘Dear Jane’ with the intention of working through that book and creating my own sampler but like a lot of good ideas remained as an thought.
This project appealed to me–because it would be one small bite at a time–and surely I could keep up.
Of course I soon fell far behind. I was using shirtings cut-offs my great uncle had bought from some mail order place offering such things—my mother had bought satin pieces. These pieces were relatively small but as the blocks finished 6 inches I figured these would work well.
Sometimes I would take my box of scraps and the patterns and cut out a half dozen or more blocks at a time; I would trace off the embroidered blocks three or four at a time–my evenings are spent with Netflix and a hand project—knitting dishcloths, putting bindings or sleeves on quilts, or English Paper Piecing. Embroidery was easy to add to the list–and now I have a lovely lamp over my shoulder to make things even easier.
After finishing all of these blocks it was time to set them together–with sashing. Here it is–not a particularly good photo but a better photo will be had once it is quilted and bound–it goes to the bottom of the stack to be quilted.