Saturday, August 29, 2015

Hand Quilting

Having no knitting on the go, but wanting something that was "easy on the brain" after a long, intense day at work, I have pulled out the Kentucky quilt I was hand quilting. (But you know, hadn't work on in so long it was more like I was not hand quilting it.)

I got stuck when I timed it and realized it takes me two hours to do one flower. That means it's unlikely I could ever do more than one in an evening. That is a lot of time before this is done. But not wanting to just chuck it, I kept it around. And now I am working on it again. Everything has a season.

Because even if something takes a long time to finish, if you keep at it you at least have a chance of finishing it. If you never work on it, you're right--it's never going to get finished.

I had been trying to get away without pinning the layers because they are already basted by the buttons I had applied to the quilt in its previous life as a duvet cover. But I was starting to run into problems with the backing shifting around. So now I pin around each flower as I get to it. Safety pins so I won't stab myself repeatedly.
I put a pin in around each outside edge and then pin inside each petal of the flower from the backside so my thread won't got caught on the pins all the time. Seems to be working.

Another thing I've learned is to start the block next to an unquilted block so I don't have to cut my thread in between and can quilt continuously from one to the next.
You can start at any point where the two blocks touch; in the case above, I've started where the arrow is pointing. It only works for two blocks in a row, but that is still more than just doing one block at a time.

In previous stints of working on this quilt, I have avoided the blocks that needed to be repaired. A couple of the fabrics are quite thin and didn't stand up to the use. In this block you can see that I stitched up both horizontal seams in the pictures:
They were fraying horribly, but I just resewed the seam overlapping one fabric with the other. It's not exactly an invisible repair, but I think as you get a little further away, you will agree that it's not noticeable:
As soon as I repaired it, I quilted the block so that the fabric would have the support that it needs. I hope it will last for a while now.

There are still other blocks that I think I will have to replace the fabric. This one is frayed so badly in so many spots that I don't think I can save it:
I added the pins for support while I'm working on the rest of the quilt. But whole seams have frayed away:
and I don't think there's enough left for me to put it back together. I have some fabric someone gave me that they had had for years and I'm thinking some of that might match the "vintage" of these fabrics.

But there are others like this one:
that just need a little TLC and then I think they'll be fine.

I've been working from one corner of the quilt. I didn't want to jump around the quilt, and this helps me stay focused. (And prevents missing a block, which would be easy to do!) I'm in the middle of block #14. My recollection says there are 64 flowers. I don't want to recount now because whatever the exact number is, I still have a long way to go. But 14 is a lot better than the 5(?) or so that I had before I started stitching again. And don't remind me that once the flowers are done, I'll have to stitch all the connecting triangles and then the border blocks. I'll face that when I get there!

I've been enjoying the stitching. I enjoy many of the fabrics in the flowers so that makes it a pleasure to work on them. Many of them are not so lovely (and some are thick and hard to stitch through on top of that) but I am motivated to get those done too so I can move on to one I like more. It's all good.

And with this snap of cooler weather that's come upon us, I'm happy to have a quilt over my lap as I work!

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