Two months after posting about the beginning of my new quilting project, we have a new king size bed, happily clad in my completed quilt. It was the simplest pattern I’ve done, by far. I decided that a busy pattern wouldn’t work well for such a large bed – and, man, this bed is big compared to our previous little queen! I’m not in a big hurry to see if a busier pattern would work as well in king size format. I think my next project will be making some place mats or a quilted vest. Maybe a small wall hanging.
I love the whole process of quilting. I love thinking about what I want to make next. I love thinking about design possibilities, thinking about colours, looking at what fabric I already have, acquiring new fabric, thinking and rethinking the geometry of the design and the size of the seams, and cutting out the pieces. Then I love piecing the top together, watching the overall design emerge and the colours work together to make their statement. After that, I love putting the layers together and doing the actual quilting, seeing components puff up, kind of a design within a design. And finishing off the border to tidy it up just right, perfect ending. For me the entire journey is incredibly satisfying.
My mother only sewed when something needed mending, which seemed to need doing more when I was growing up than happens now. As far as she was concerned, she left sewing (and pickling, canning and everything she equated with something needing doing because you couldn’t afford to buy it) behind when she went to university during the depression and then moved to the big city. To have had a sewing machine would have a step backwards as far as she was concerned. My cousin, on the other hand, sewed all the time. That was partly because with four children making clothes helped the finances. But she also enjoyed the process and the outcomes. It was an avenue for creativity, challenge, skill, and personal fulfillment. She made the dresses for her daughters’ weddings, as did my sisters-in-law. Remarkable. I can only stand in awe at such talent – and courage.
I learned to thread a needle while spending time with my grandmother in the summer. My learning was partly because she needed me to thread the needle for her because she couldn’t see close up (now I know why!) and partly because she was always sewing something; it was just something she did. She also taught me to how to knot the end of her thread. Now, when I quilt, I thread my needle, make a knot, put my grandmother’s thimble on my finger, and think of her as I get started. I was lucky that my grandmother gave me this introduction and that the required home ec courses we had to take when I was in school taught me to use a sewing machine. That knowledge was all I needed when, later in my life, I realized that not only could I admire quilts, I could make them myself.
In honour of National Poetry Month, which is almost over, I offer this description of the quilting journey in somewhat poetic form:
The quilting journey
The mind forms an image that sets the stage,
then fabrics are chosen with anticipation.
Pieces are drawn and cut to measure,
then laid out to confirm the plan’s expectation.
Piece by piece, squares and rows are joined,
‘til the top has become our new creation.
Slow and steady thread dips and flows,
as stitches shape a quilted sensation.
The quilt lies on a bed, hangs on a wall,
rests on a table, is worn with pride. Affirmation.
Perfect description of quilting Jane. I have some pieces cut out now that have been sitting in my sewing cupboard for too long. I am almost inspired to get back to them … but the garden is calling too. Hope all is well with you guys.
Hi Mar, great to see you on this communications venue. You come from the creative sewing branch of the family (well, my in-law family)! I remember you bringing your machine out to Bel’s and the two of you sewing away together on two machines. I think that’s when you made the matching green and peach coloured matching outfits, including one for Grandma, who wore hers MANY times over MANY years! Quilting is definitely more of an indoors-weather activity, but worth taking out your pieces before next winter, maybe on a rainy day. Hope to see you one of these fine days, definitely in August.
Hi. Beautiful quilt. What a lot of work, but well worth the effort! I also like your poem; it puts the cap on the project! Jane
Thanks, Jane. I have to admit that for me the work isn’t really work, it’s the fun part, the creative part. But it is nice to see the end result. Thanks re the “poem”. 🙂 Jane
I love how pretty your quilt looks on your bed and it is stunning with the deep red wall. Thanks for sharing.
Thanks so much, Kathy. It’s always nice when a project turns out well, especially a quilt, where photoshopping is not an option!
Your quilt is gorgeous and has inspired me to get busy on another one. It’s perfect for you bed and I love simple patterns. Do you do your own quilting? I normally do the piecing and then take it to a friend to do the quilting with her longarm. The only ones I’ve quilted myself are baby quilts and I tied one of them and did stitch in the ditch on the other one with my sewing machine. It’s not as easy as it sounds. My next one I will quilt myself and if you have any pointers I would love to hear them. Like you quilting is peaceful and de-stresses!! Happy Mother’s Day!
Thanks so much, Rita. Yes, I do my own quilting, but it’s almost always stitch in the ditch. I have a quilting hoop on an adjustable stand that I can use wherever I want, including in front of the TV. I find if I quilt for an hour or two a day, before I know it, it’s done. I did use to find that I got pain in my hand from quilting because of various arthritic joints, but once I determined which directions of the needle were OK and which ones were causing difficulty, I made sure I was always quilting in an easy direction and then it went well. I like the way the rhythm of the sewing is in charge, so I have to just relax, do it, and not try to rush or force anything. And, of course, the results are always worth it! Happy Mother’s day to you too. Jane
I’ll let you know how it goes. Now I have to get busy and get one cut out. I’ll be following and look forward to reading more of your posts.