Sunday, August 21, 2011

A Tale of Three Quilts, Part One: The Original Project

Once upon a time, when I was in high school, I decided that I wanted to make my first quilt. I poured over my mom's quilting books until I decided on a Railroad pattern from this book. My color scheme is relatively similar to the one shown in the book, and buying only the fabric for the large blocks, setting triangles, and first border with the rest coming from my mom's stash and scrap bin, I embarked on my first quilt.

Obviously this doesn't show the entire pieced outer border, but you get the picture. My quilt picture taking abilities are severely limited by the fact that I stood on my bed to take the picture. And because this quilt is rather large.

Now, the directions would have you strip piece all the four inch shashings. And a normal person would do that, have a very easy time putting this together and likely get through this portion of the pattern relatively quickly.

However, I am not a normal person, and feel the need to make it harder than it has to be in the name of "randomness." So, being the genius that I am, I cut my scrap sashing fabric into four inch strips and then into a million individual pieces and then sewed them into the sashing pieces, so each one was different. Looking back, I am not sure that I would do this again, but I am pretty satisfied with the way things turned out.

Cutting is, by far, one of my favorite parts of the process. The zip of the rotary blade is so satisfying, you know? So, obviously, I proceeded to cut way too many 4 inch pieces. And then when I went to cut the pieces for the 5 inch outer border, I also overdid it.

If I remember correctly, I had the entire top completed within two weeks. The hand quilting, however, is still not done. It's shameful, I know. The center portion is more than half done, and then the borders would need to be done.

Originally, the excuse was "it's too hard". In undergrad, the excuse was "I'm to busy! I'm not home enough". This wasn't entirely valid because I had three months every summer to work on it. Then I moved to Pennsylvania, and the excuse was "I don't want to spend my time at home working on it! I came to spend time with my family!"

Then my mom finally took it out of the quilt frame and brought it to me. For a while it sat in the bag she brought it in, in the closet. Now it sits in my reading chair. Staring at me. Saying, "Finish me." And on a few occasions I have taken it up on its offer. Partially, this occured because I wanted to sit in the chair because it is ridiculously comfortable. But the summer heat makes me say "It's too hot! I don't want a blanket all over me when its 100 degrees in my apartment." So it continues to beckon and I continue to ignore it.

Currently, the goal is to get it done by the end of the year. Based on sporadic recent progress (partially due to instant Netflix), this is entirely possible. Maybe if I bought my queen sized bed (one of my many pipe dreams, along with a long-arm quilter) I would be more inclined to finish it and use it.

Would I hand quilt again? Oh, absolutely. Just not anytime soon.

But as I mentioned, this is only Part One because my fervor for cutting vastly exceeded the capacity of one quilt. Actually, it exceeded two quilts and it has yet to be seen if it can be contained in three. Needless to say that I have been a little more cautious in my cutting, even as much as I love it. And I am never going to use this color scheme again.

Parts Two and Three coming soon!

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