Monday, June 20, 2011

Depression Era Quilt - going on 10 years in the making

When I was about 16 years old, a friend of mine showed me a quilt she had made, and I was so intrigued I just had to learn to make one, too. I had already gone on a big knitting kick at this point, which inspired someone to give me knitting needles for my 16th birthday (All I knew at that point was the garter stitch!) Needless to say, having limited sewing experience, this was quite the ambitious undertaking for me. The quilt has curved pieces, so it was considered at a "challenging" difficulty. You know, it wasn't that hard- it came so naturally to me, but I concede that I may have also done a much crappier job than someone more experienced may have. The entire structure was composed of squares like this:
For many years, I s-l-o-w-l-y finished squares. There are 49 of these squares in the pattern. In 2007, 6 years after starting these 24 are all I had finished:

The following summer I got another bug to finish this after years of hiatus. I spent the entire summer being obsessed, and I finished the remaining 25 blocks in a matter of weeks. What took me 6 years before took me mere weeks with experience and motivation. It was a tremendous project, but so rewarding! My husband actually helped me arrange the blocks in a complementary pattern:

If that wasn't enough of a task to complete, it's only half the work. I hand-stitched all the pieces up until this point, and then I used my machine to assemble the blocks.

 I didn't take pictures of this part, but I had to use masking tape on the back layer, taping it to the floor, then add the batting and the quilt patchwork, then pin, then baste... it was a huge pain! After that, I was able to start using my hoop and do the actual quilting by hand.

This was a little tricky to get used to- I had to have one hand in front of me while the other was stationed beneath the hoop! I was equipped with a thimble to push the needle in and a thick plastic sticker-thimble on several other fingers to prevent them being shredded by the needle as I eased it in and out of the cloth. It is incredibly tedious. The end result was very satisfying, and let's just hope that the fabrics I picked as a teenager will stand the test of time.

So, here we are, June 2011- I finished quilting my quilt in February. I still have not finished the binding. I now have a 95% complete future heirloom sitting in storage. Now that we have a table with ample room, perhaps I can re-learn to use my machine and actually make it functional, rather than just arbitrary...

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