Thursday, November 5, 2009

It's About Time! or Thankfully, It's Finally Done!

shirt quiltIt took me two years to make this quilt...not that I worked on it full-time. Quilting has evolved from a "passion" with me to "handwork to pick up now and then".

I pieced this quilt on my trusty Singer 403, circa 1960, about a year and a half ago. In the closet, high on a shelf, sat several batts. One of those was a Hobbs wool batt that I had been yearning for years to try. I'd heard so many comments that for hand quilting it "quilts like butter". I'd previously used Hobb's Heirloom 80/20 as well as Dream Cotton's "Request", both of which hand quilt very nicely. But I had a yen to try the wool. So I purchased the wool batt...about ten years ago and there it sat. On the shelf. Unused for ten years. (call me a procrastinator)

Well! Over a year ago I layered my latest shirt quilt using the wool batt. For a backing I used a name brandshirt quilt a cotton sheet that I found at Younkers for 75 percent off. Ralph Lauren brand??? Can't remember. But it was 100 percent cotton (which I desired) and it was large enough that I would not have to stitch together smaller fabrics to make a piece large enough for a backing. And I began hand quilting using a saucer, a cereal bowl and a cup from my dinnerware for the "templates".

This poor quilt has had numerous hiccups along the way. Last January I was diagnosed with ovarian cancer. Talk about a roller coast of an adventure...not as exciting, of course, but certainly a lot of ups and downs. Needless to say, I had no motivation to quilt. Hah! My preferred activity was lying on the sofa, staring at the ceiling, thinking I really should get up and do SomeThing! Then rolling over to the other end of the sofa, and staring some more. It's easy to look back on it now and think, "It wasn't so bad!" But it was. Not as bad as some have it, but bad. And before I (and you) get maudlin, I want to add that all went well, I finished cheshirt quilt bmo in July, and I feel better now than I did a year ago before my diagnosis. God grant me that this continues.

Another hiccup was that, forgetting that my dishes were my templates, I gave away that particular set of dishes and put my old set back in the cupboard. The next day I went to trace the quilting design on another area of the quilt and remembered that my templates now resided next door! Probably on Joyce's breakfast table. Do you think I went next door and asked for a plate, a soup bowl and a cup? No, I couldn't bear to confess and instead dug around in the cupboard until I found dishes that were "close" in size. Betcha can't tell by looking at the quilt. (big smile)

Aw, got to wandering there. I started to say that during those months of chemo I picked up this quilt a couple times and forced myself to quilt a block or two. But progress was slow. Then in August, after treatment was done, I began quilting in earnest again and I finished the binding just yesterday! It's a largish sofa size nap quilt.

I told a friend yesterday I have no inclination to make another quilt. Instead of quilt pox I now have quilt lethargy (even though I myself am not lethargic). But that's not quite true. I'd love to recreate my Y2K quilt in smaller form. (You can see my Y2K quilt here.) My DD loves that quilt and would like to hang it in her home. But the thing is huge! About 86x96 inches! And she doesn't have a wall large enough for an appropriate display! (Well, she Does have a wall large enough but we haven't figured out how to climb high enough to hang the thing!) So I'd like to recreate it using 2-inch squares instead of 2.5 inch pieces. I have a rubbermaid box full of 2.5 inch fabs, cut from my stash long ago. I'd have to trim them down and I'd like to sew them on my treadle which was fondly named Elizabeth Redeye by its previous owner.

I've had my coffee this morning, but not yet my oatmeal. Coffee makes me jabber. Whether in your ear or on this blog. The oatmeal is in the microwave...time to eat. And if you want to check out my WhiteStone blog (separate from the WWQP-BB, click here. Love to see you there.

P.S. Yes, the wool batt was a pleasure to handquilt. Even though the shirt fabrics have a very high thread count in comparison to shop fabrics, I was still able to needle fairly easily. With Q shop fabric, I know it would have stitched smoother still. Now I need to make a label with care instructions.


Dorothy said...

That's a gorgeous quilt, Whitestone!

Karen said...

I just love the quilt! Reminds me of my late grandmother, who used to sew and quilt all the time. I never learned how to quilt, but one day I'd like to try it. I love the "history" behind them, and especially their uniqueness. In south central PA, where I live, quilting is a part of life here!

Yuki said...

I was thinking about your 2.5 inch blocks. Instead of cutting them down to 2 inches, How about using a larger seam allowance?

I had a quilt lethargy when my x & separated and waited for the divorce to become final. A friend's mom called me out of the blue and had a quilt that needed finishing. It was half hand quilted. She sent it to me and working on that quilt was great therapy.

Good Luck

ttfn :) Yuki

Michelle said...

I love this story...and how special this quilt is. A statement of your perseverance!! I was cracking up about the cups and bowls. I'd have gone next door!!

Debra said...

The quilt is very beautiful...I admire your ability. Sounds like a quilt full of memories too.

Dandy said...

Jabbering, ha! That quilt is amazing, look at all that detail!

Kim said...


Kelly said...

This quilt is beautiful!!! (as is your Y2K quilt) I'm very impressed.

I have several friends who are avid quilters, but I've never really had the desire.

Again... gorgeous!!

Diane said...

The shirting quilt is gorgeous - though you never did say how it felt to HQ the wool batting! I'd like to know - have MQed on it and loved it.

The Y2K is stunning, and a viewer's choice ribbon is such an honor. But my mind boggles at the thought of you recreating it - yikes!

Laurie M. said...


Paul's grandmother gave Paul and I a quilt she made for our wedding gift. It's too beautiful to take out of its container. If we put it on the bed, the pets will destroy it. We could probably hang it but its enormous, and then the cats may decide to climb it. I don't know what to do about it.