Monday, August 15, 2016

The last gasp

I hung what I'm calling "Quilt National entry #1" on the wall in my front hallway in mid-April and it does make a dramatic statement.  Actually two dramatic statements: first, "I'm knocking your socks off!!!!" and second, "I sure don't hang straight."

Ever since, I have been hearing both those statements every time I walk by, and avoiding the issue of the second one.  Meanwhile I sewed Quilt National #2 and Quilt National #3.  Then to further postpone the inevitable, I sewed some workshop samples, and dove into my back storage room to go through boxes.  I found at least a cubic yard of stuff to give away or throw away; I unpacked, sorted, catalogued and repacked a half dozen boxes of stuff; I piled stuff all over my worktable for subsequent sorting, cataloguing and repacking.  I watched some Olympics.  I mended some pants.  I read books.

But yesterday I couldn't avoid it any longer.  I scheduled my date with the photographer for next week, took #1 off the wall and tried to figure out how to make it hang straight.

Laying it out flat on my worktable was out of the question; the table isn't really big enough, even if it hadn't by now been piled with stuff two feet thick.  Probably not having a big enough work surface was the reason why the quilt went together poorly the first time.  My living room floor turned out to be an excellent substitute, since its straight boards make a working grid. (No wonder it didn't hang straight -- notice all those ripples on the left-hand white stripe?)

Unfortunately then I had to get down there on the floor to work, which I probably could have done gracefully, easily and painlessly twenty years ago but sure can't any more.  I got a little stool to sit on, in lieu of kneeling or sitting on the floor.  And I got a chair to lean on to help me get onto and off of the stool. I didn't know whether to feel pathetically helpless or extraordinarily comical.  Probably should have had somebody shoot video and go viral on YouTube.

Simply cutting the threads that held the white stripes to the red stripes made a huge difference, and cutting some slits into the white to hike up the right side was even better.  But how to pin them together securely enough to hold up for the sewing machine without crawling all over the quilt?

Aha -- an idea.  I decided to take the quilt to the photographer without totally sewing it back together first along the verticals.  It will hang straight from its rod for the shoot, and then I will leave it up on his wall while I pin the bejesus out of it and take it home for its final stitches.  I'll let you know how it turns out.


  1. Brilliant solution..... I bet it works! Had a similar experience several years ago when quilting a friend's strip quilt on my mid-arm only the problem wasn't discovered until the first half was quilted. Took quilt off the frame; friend & I took apart the lower left 1/4 of the top -- first 3 columns were 1" - 2" inches too long! Lesson learned --- check quilt tops before starting to quilt!

  2. Good plan, that should work.

    But what I noticed is your chair! I have a set of four of that exact cane bottom chair!! They are languishing in my basement, as I have nowhere for them to be. They are too delicate for daily use and rather a lot of modern American humans are too large for them. But they were grandma's, so it's hard to let them go.

    1. mine were grandma's too! my mother asked an uncle if she could pay him to recane the chairs -- he was a fabulous craftsman but had lousy taste. when he brought back the chairs (three of them) Mom was appalled to see that he had used plastic "cane" instead of real cane. she couldn't bear to even look at the chairs, she was so disappointed, so she gave them to me.

      actually I think the plastic cane was probably a better choice. the chairs are sturdy enough that I use them as overflow seating all the time, and for a while I used one as my regular dining room chair. surprisingly comfortable for a relatively small, non-padded little thing!!