Wednesday, April 14, 2010

April Quilt "Day"

It was a close thing, but I did manage to fit in some quilting time on Sunday for my personal monthly quilt day. (Second Sunday of the month.) I had to help my honey put up some siding all afternoon--it was a lovely day so it's not like I really begrudged all the time outside. But it was about 7:00pm before I could get to some quilting!

I knew it would not be the month to do something big, new, or complicated. I didn't feel quite ready to make the final square for the country fair raffle quilt. So I thought I'd pull out this quilt:
I have had this quilt top since about 2004, I'd say. My sister got it from her mother-in-law as she was helping her clean out the farmhouse they had lived in all her married life. She had kept a lot of stuff, including three quilt tops she bought off some ladies at the side of the road in Kentucky during a road trip in the 60s. (This was apparently pretty common then.)

Yes, she had these quilt tops for over 40 years and nothing had been done with them. (Does that make you feel better about your UFOs?) One was a very bright orange. To be honest, you'd have to call it hideous, but in that wow-that's-so-ugly-I-like-it way. My sister claimed that one for the cottage she hopes she might have some day.

I don't even remember the second quilt, but the other one was this hexagon flower quilt. My sister was scared of the uneven edges--it would be a hard one to bind!--so she gave it to me.

Well, what I first did with it was to make some blocks to edge the quilt. They were cut from some sheets I bought and cotton fabric I had lying around. I went with blue and white because of the blue and white polka dot fabric used for the flower centers and the triangles between the hexagons. (The only consistent parts of the whole quilt!)

I then layered it with batting and a white sheet and then used another sheet to make a "pocket" to use it as a duvet cover. What about quilting the layers together, you ask? Well, I opted for tacking it together with buttons.
I tried to use just flower buttons. I don't think I got a more perfect match than this faded pink button on this pink paisley flower. I was really happy with that combo.

But as time went on, I realized that the buttons weren't nearly enough to hold the batting in place. And this very many layered cover was way too warm with a duvet inside. So last year I took it all apart and decided I was going to attempt to quilt this and quilt it old school--by hand!

It's been slow going.

But I'm ok with that.

To give you the stats: it takes two hours to quilt a flower. There are 64 flowers in the quilt. I've currently finished three. Yup, things are looking pretty grim for this sweet little quilt. But I figure it waited 40 years to even see the light of day again, so it's probably learned to be a patient sweet little quilt.

My hand quilting skills are very beginner-ish and by that I mean pretty bad. This is my first flower:
Big uneven stitches and the lines wander from 1/8" to 3/8" from the seams. (I'm aiming for 1/4" in case that's not clear.)

This is my third flower:
Even with the very infrequent repetition, I think my stitches are improving. Not by leaps and bounds, but still...

There are many reasons why this quilt will never be a "show-quality" (or probably even county fair quality) quilt. Besides my amateur stitching, you'll notice in all the pictures that the points were just a very rough guideline of where the seams should be. Seams are uneven, yadda, yadda, yadda. But it's still so charming.

Other problems I will deal with when I get there. For instance, ripped fabrics:
It's just too thin to take the strain. (One of the reasons you shouldn't wait to quilt a top. The quilting really helps to stabilize and support the top fabric.) The really sad part is that this is a really charming fabric. I will repair where I can, but I suspect the fabric in this particular block will have to be replaced. (Right now I'm thinking I'll basically applique a new flower fabric over the damaged fabric.) Hopefully I'll find something I like just as much.

I presume the use of actual scraps determined the combination in this quilt:
From sweet pinks to bright bright yellows to, what's that? yes, camo! And you can never have enough kerchief fabric in a quilt, right? You see why this quilt is so beguiling?

I can't promise it'll be done soon, but when I work on it, I enjoy it. What more can you ask, really?

1 comment:

  1. Christina, thanks for leaving your blog site for us to read, it's a great blog. Check our facebook page on Friday to find out the winner of the Blog-of-the-Week!

    I love, love this quilt! Keep up the beautiful quilting!


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