One Lucky Lady!
Not everyone is as lucky as I am. This summer I have been given the wonderful opportunity to quilt a variety of beautiful projects. Entrusted to my care were a surprise birthday gift, a wall hanging, a bed size quilt as well as a gift for a young man. The surprise birthday gift I can’t share until later this summer. Revealing it now might ruin the surprise. The wall hanging is three-quarters finished and will be featured in another post. The young man’s quilt is next in line to be loaded on my machine so it’s too early to share progress on that one.
Bow Ties Galore
The one and only masterpiece ready for the spotlight is the Bow Tie quilt I declared as my July A Lovely Year of Finishes challenge. Details of my original post can be found here.
This quilt came to me from one of my son-in-laws. It was created by his grandmother many, many years ago. The details of its beginnings and journey are a bit sketchy as his grandmother is no longer living. As I worked with the quilt I tried imagining what its history might be. I wondered
- How was the pattern chosen?
- We’re the fabrics extracted from her inventory?
- We’re they scraps left over from other projects?
- Was one perhaps a shirt, a skirt, or maybe even an apron?
- How long did it take her to finish it?
As I pondered these thoughts I realized I have more unanswered questions than answered. Sine the lady that lovingly applied each stitch is no longer on this earth I cannot ask her. Whether the answers might be found with other relatives is not known. Since the quilt does not belong to me I may never know the answers.
Quilting an item on my long arm quilter affords me the opportunity to spend quality time with the project; time that nobody else can claim. During our encounter the quilt reveals details that only I might notice. I pay close attention to those small nuances making certain they receive my attention.
Attention to Detail
To honor the memory of this quilt’s creator, I took extra care in its handling. The quilt had been in storage for some time. Having been folded for years unknown, creases had taken up residence. Each one of those stubborn wrinkles received my attention. One by one I addressed their existence and did my best to eliminate their presence. Seams were meticulously examined for their sturdiness. A seam that was weak would most certainly meet with disappointment when subjected to tension on a long-arm machine. Once it was determined the quilt was in suitable condition to be exposed to the rigors of the machine quilting process I proceeded.
While spending time with the Bow Tie quilt I discovered there were segments that had been hand stitched. I was intrigued by this revelation. I had never long-arm quilted a hand stitched project before. I paid close attention to those sections being careful not to disturb the stitching. My hope was that my stitching would extend its longevity not detract from it.
The pattern chosen for the quilting was the Baptist Fan. Not being very familiar with this technique I did a bit of research. My hope was to do the best job possible. Hastily applied stitches would detract from the quilt’s overall beauty. After satisfying my curiosity I began the process of stitching.
From beginning to end this was not an easy road. You see my stitches are all manually applied. I do not have one of those fancy computers so many long-arm quilters utilize. All my creations are unique. With no computer to automatically provide the stitching, that meant I must carefully maneuver my machine around acrylic templates. This process must be done with caution as any slip of the template would destroy the alignment of the stitches. The desired outcome is for each of them to fall into line as synchronized swimmers do.
It is Finished
After six hours and thirty-one minutes and 112,661 stitches I declared my job finished. My muscles were a tad bit sore, from the continuous pressure applied to the templates, but the feeling of satisfaction erased those tensions. Once again it was time to part company with an item I had become accustomed to seeing. I carefully removed each of the pins that had secured it to my table and gently folded it for delivery. I was anxious to return it to my son-in-law for his enjoyment so I made a special effort to include it on one of my errands.
As is always the case I utilized the lens of my camera to document the journey the quilt and I shared. This time the quiet setting of a local park was the stage for the memories. My daughter and I embarked on the journey together. While in the process of documenting the quilt we were surprised by the presence of an intriguing little creature.
Originally mistaken for a leaf, a brush of a hand revealed that it was in fact a living thing. Not knowing of what species he belonged we allowed him to coexist without disturbance. However he was not as intrigued by our presence as we were of his. Thus our shared time together was short-lived. Before making his exit I made sure I captured him in a few photos as well. The fruits of our labor are shared below.
I hope you enjoyed reading about this quilt as much as I did quilting it? Thanks for lending me your ears as I celebrated triumphantly over another successful completion of A Lovely Year of Finishes challenge.