Tuesday, December 31, 2013
The old-but-new quilt -- finished at last!
Many, many, many years ago I made 35 log cabin blocks for a quilt that never got put together. I'm not sure when this happened but I think it was after the Bicentennial, because there are some red-white-and-blue fabrics in there that look suspiciously commemorative. The blocks have sat in boxes for decades waiting for something to happen, and finally they called my bluff.
I started my first quilt when I was still in high school, a long time ago. It was before anybody else did that sort of thing, and there were no books or workshops to teach the basics. That didn't stop me, since I knew how to sew (garments) and figured how hard could it be to sew a quilt. In fact, much easier than sewing a blouse, because the quilt just had to lie flat rather than fit a body.
The combination of supreme confidence and technical ignorance can turn out good in some ways and bad in others. But if you ever do achieve technical proficiency, it can be really embarrassing to look back at your early efforts and realize how pathetic they were. If a quilt has been sewed together and quilted you at least are spared the knowledge of how the blocks were cut and the seam allowances pressed, but if you return to a work in progress every dumb thing you did is still there on display.
In fact, this quilt could be a how-not-to-do-it tutorial all by itself. I foundation-pieced the blocks instead of just sewing the logs together, and was sloppy about it, so some of the seam allowances were dangerously narrow. But not the ones between blocks, some of which were an inch wide. And not the ones that left visible dark lines because the bottom darker fabric was wider than the light fabric that was supposed to cover it (as in the pink checked log).
If you stand on the other side of the room you can see the dark/light pattern, and it's pleasant, but from up close it becomes a jumble of colors, scales and patterns.
But wonder of wonders, there were exactly enough blocks to make a rectangle, and I have sewed them all together. They are finally a quilt top, even if not the prettiest quilt top in history. What a pleasant way to close out the old year, with a project that long in progress finally complete.
(I have to say that from across the room, the dark/light Straight Furrows design looks pretty good. If I made another one, except this time with better color choices and more contrast, I bet it would be fabulous....)
(Somebody bop me on the head when you hear me talking this way.)
Update: linking to Nina-Marie's blog, where you can check out what other fiber artists have been up to this week. And for those who visit from Nina-Marie, this is only chapter 1 in the story of old-but-new quilts -- keep reading upwards for more!