That's how many days until I leave.
I'm off to Pittsburgh a few days before Market to have some fun and do some "visiting". I figure if it isn't done by then, it isn't going to get done by Market anyway. And yes, I've had to accept that a few of the quilts I planned on having ready for Market aren't going to get to make the trip.
A couple of things to clarify from the last post... about those pincushions. While there are just two different designs in the pattern, I wanted to make a couple of each. Partly to show some of the possible color combinations of each but mostly because I love making them. They'll get photographed next week so that cover may actually be ready for Pittsburgh!
As for the bindings, I think you know that I love doing those. I don't much like the "sewing the binding onto the quilt top" part of it but I love the stitching down the binding part. Because of the different battings I'd used in the three different quilts, I had to vary the sizes of the stips I cut. I wound up using strips measuring 1 3/4" wide, 1 7/8" wide and 2".
While I was sewing today ~ on a new Schnibble that will be called "Picnic" ~ I happened to see one of my very first quilts and I thought you'd get a laugh out of seeing some of my "early work".
The first quilt I made was a Sun & Shadow using Blanche and Helen Young's book, and this amazing new tool called a "rotary cutter". They were brand new on the market and I think everyone was a little afraid of them. It didn't help much that the "quilting traditionalists" seemed bent on sharing horror stories of gruesome rotary-cutter injuries in an effort to keep everyone from trying this scandalous new invention.
Now before I show you my quilt, I also want to tell you that the other ladies in my class were making these beautiful shaded floral creations. Pink and green... peach and green... blue and pink... blue and tan... soft, pretty, lovely. I made this...
While sewing strips in class, everyone else was making a lovely quilt. I was making a windsock.
The funny thing about it is that I machine-quilted it myself ~ which was truly scandalous behavior to the quilting traditionalists of Dallas, Texas in 1984. And I quilted it in red thread!
After the smashing success of this first quilt, I figured I could make anything. So what if I stitched this quilt to the living room carpet while basting it for quilting... everything was a learning experience!
My second quilt was one of those Roman Stripes quilts that were all the rage at the time. But instead of using black and traditional Amish colors, I used royal blue and all these sherbert-like pastels. It was really cool ~ and no, I don't have it any more. I gave that one away.
My third quilt his was supposed to be a Double Irish Chain...
Just one problem... I didn't want to have to applique that little square into the corner of the plain square so I figured out I could piece it. But it seems like I compressed it a bit and this is kind of a Triple Chain that the Irish want nothing to do with.
And this quilt has rounded corners because I didn't know how to do a mitered binding and I didn't care much for that log-cabin sort of corner that the lady at the quilt shop recommended. And since the resident shop "expert" did really awful mitered bindings ~ based on what I had seen at the quilt show, I didn't think her bindings were all that "expert" ~ I decided to go for something easier. A curved corner!
Since I had obviously mastered strip piecing, I figured I was ready for a challenge for my fourth quilt. I had the book ~ also by Blanche and Helen Young ~ I had my rotary cutter, and I knew math! What could go wrong?
More than you think... although it looks pretty good now...
This started when I saw an antique quilt in a fancy quilt boutique in Houston. It was priced at $1000.00, and it wasn't even in perfect condition. One side of the quilt was completely faded out ~ probably due to being on a bed next to a sunny window. But since I could sew... I could make that!
I made the top and never got the chance to quilt it. I sort of knew how I wanted it quilted but I will totally own up to not having the skills to execute it. So I put it aside so that I could quilt it when I had the skills... still waiting on that dream...
A few years ago, I had a quilting spot with a super-talented machine quilter, Carol Meka, and I decided to pull this out and let her quilt my "masterpiece". I'm still trying to put together the shattered pieces of my pride...
Carol spread the quilt out on the floor and after some smoothing... lots of smoothing... more smoothing... a couple of "hhhmmmms...", she finally broached the subject. The border didn't really want to lay flat... it appeared that there was more border length than necessary on two sides.
When the corners ~ six borders, all perfectly mitered, thank you very much! ~ were aligned as they should be, one of the sides was perfect. A second side was pretty good ~ good enough that it wouldn't be a problem to quilt. The third side... a bit of a peak... maybe 1" of extra fabric. Problematic... but not truly tragic. The fourth side... huge problem. About 3" of extra fabric. Ooops... I'm guessing this might be an example of why just sewing on borders and whacking them off is a bad idea.
But I can fix this! I know how! I can rebuild this quilt... I have the skills... I have the technology!
If you want a true lesson in humility ~ and an education in just how much you've learned over the years ~ take apart an early quilt and look at some of the things you did. I'm guessing I cut those setting squares and triangles with scissors as some of the edges looked a little... well, choppy.
Y-seams... sch-y seams... thankfully, I've gotten a bit better at doing those.
After taking off the bad borders, I "fixed" a couple of things, re-did the borders and brought my quilt back to Carol. The good news is the borders were really straight and there wasn't any extra fabric! Woohoo! And the pieced star in the center was perfectly flat and straight. You go, girl! :::triple snap:::
As for the setting squares and triangles... you should have seen Carol doing a Twister-thing on my quilt top trying to get all of them flat at the same time.
But here's where a super-talented and awesomely-skilled quilter can make you look really, really good. Carol said she would do what she could which was fine from me because I really just wanted it quilted. When Carol called me a week later to tell me the quilt was done, she said she thought I would be pleased. I didn't believe it until I saw it with my own eyes ~ flat as a pancake. It couldn't have been any more flat if one of those street-paver things had rolled over it.
So there you have it... and I still haven't made a perfect quilt.
Maybe someday... but probably not in the next fifteen days.