Tuesday, May 06, 2008

* ^ * the QUILT * ^ *
Can you believe it? Strawberry season is here. But enough about that :-) This posting (finally) is about the QUILT!!! It's been a long story and is still in progress, and I'm enjoying every minute of it.
I bought the fabric a year ago this past January with big plans to make a quilt for our bed. The main fabric is the print which has repeating panels of kitties, hearts, and flowers.
I didn't want it to be too "girlie" so I got a dark purple, dark green, golden yellow,and a very pale purple (almost gray) to work into the quilt top. The yellow will also be used for the backing. The purple may look blue, but I insist that it's purple!
I played around with the fabric trying to figure out how to put it all together. I used graph paper and drew out all kinds of possibilities. Then I'd put it all away for a couple months, drag it out again, and try to come up with a plan I really liked. When Katie was here in September, we put our heads together and came up with some more ideas. I decided that I really liked a pattern called "Flying Squares" but I couldn't quite decide how to make the best use of the printed kittie fabric. We cut out little squares of paper and laid them out in various patterns like a jigsaw puzzle. Here are just 2 of the options we came up with:

In January of this year, I finally started cutting the fabric and tried various layouts on the floor.
Sewing began, but I still had to "make it up" as I went along, adding a strip of fabric here, making a small adjustment there. I amazed myself that the final result was pretty cool. The center part of the quilt is like a giant flying square; in the strips around the outside edges you can see the smaller, true-to-pattern flying squares. This probably doesn't make much sense, but I can't think of any better way to explain it. You can get a better look at the pattern (although I used more colors and a different layout) at the following website: http://www.qorsite.com/styles/classicblocks/flyingsquares/flyingsquares.html
I took the quilt top up to Edith's to put on her quilting frame. Here we are putting the backing on the frame,
followed by the batting and the pieced top.
Weldon's dad made the frame for Edith after they were married.
Pretty neat, huh? After all these years, Edith realizes the frame could have been a few inches shorter; we sit on chairs piled with 4, 5, or 6 pillows!!
The first day that we started quilting, Edith's sister-in-law Polly
came and quilted with us. It was a good old-fashioned quilting bee and I began to see how much we're missing today by not participating this type of interactive, conversational, community work.
Yup, that's my hand, quilting!!

In the past, I have always quilted on a small hoop frame and could always quilt "towards" me, so learning to quilt in different directions has been quite an experience. Edith just sits and quilts but, every now and then, I have to stand up to stretch and bend in weird contortions to get some part quilted. I just say, "Excuse me while I stand on my head."
When we have quilted as far as we can reach, we "roll" the quilt,
turning under the part that is finished.
Here you can see the quilting that we're doing in each of the 12" squares.

Edith quilts whenever she feels like it (which is often!) and I might quilt for an hour and a half, 5 days out of 7. I told her that the next time I make a quilt, we'll have to put the frame up in my living room instead of hers. Maybe I'd get a little more work done on it then ... or not :-/
When the quilt comes off the frame, I'll take it home and bind the edges. So ... more pictures will follow in the (hopefully) not-too-distant future. Now, I'd better get my butt up to Edith's and take needle in hand ....