Saturday, January 4, 2014

Another old-but-new quilt

I wrote earlier this week about finishing up a quilt top that had been started decades ago, and how good it made me feel to wind up the old year with a double good deed: getting a UFO off my conscience, and helping a good cause.  In fact it felt so good that I decided to do it again, when I realized there was still room in the mailing box.  And sure enough, I had another box of unfinished quilt blocks on the shelf that were almost as old as the log cabins.

This one was maple leaf, a traditional pattern that I have always loved but never made.  (Actually, that describes most traditional blocks; I have always been excited by the geometry but rarely had the patience to make enough for a whole quilt.)

And like the log cabin top, this one was living proof of how much I have learned technically in the last 25 years.  The blocks were pre-rotary-cutter, meaning that I made them with penciled templates.  This is not a good idea when working with white fabric, because the pencil marks can show through.  The major problem, though, was sloppy sewing, a technique that I obviously hadn't yet abandoned.  And it turns out maple leaf is a difficult block to press, because the dark and light patches alternate, so you can't get all the seam allowances to point toward the dark.  I did the best I could to sew the finished blocks together without taking any of them apart, which wasn't very good.

The back of this quilt is nowhere near up to my current standards, but the front doesn't look too awful, despite a lot of points that don't match or had to be cut off.  Oh well, the quilt police have given up on me long ago.

I sewed the blocks together in a strippy set to make the quilt wider.  And it too is off to Bonnie Bucknam for quilting, then on to the Mayan Families in Guatemala.  Reminder: your quilts, or quilt tops, or fabric, would be welcomed by Bonnie.  Start off the new year with a good deed!  And send those UFOs flying off your shelf!  It's addictive!


  1. Kathy- I think this one is great! I've decided that I am going to do fifty by fifty. Which is to say that I am going to finish fifty of this unfinished projects by the time I am 50. I've got two years to do it. I can't believe that I have 50 unfinished projects, heck I might actually have more. Good for you to get closure on these things.

    1. Wathc out, Maria - don't you want to have time for new stuff, too, before you turn fifty? How about spreading it out to fifty-five before fifty-five... ? (There must be five more somewhere in those closets?) But it sounds like a good project - I'm tempted to try something similar, without the numbers as exhibitions are looming and calling for new stuff.... But I'll try some new out of old.

  2. You have inspired - or frightened me. I still have the pieces from a quilt I started in high school. I didn't even understand the concept of blocks. I just thought it was cool that half-square triangles could create zig-zag patterns. I must unearth that, it will be good for a laugh anyway.

    Maria - 50??? I'm sure I don't have over 30... well, maybe 40..... ;)