My vacation week was a week of non-stop sewing. As I told you in an earlier blog post, I started a quilt for my daughter and needed to finish it and have quilts for the four boys as well, all by January 1. I had Ella’s Song done. It is a scrap quilt I’d finished earlier in December. It was for son #1.
I also had Beautiful Blues finished. It is in Best Fat Quarter Quilts, our special issue that hit the newsstands on Christmas day. You can purchase it at Quilt and Sew Shop if you can’t find it locally. That quilt became the present for son #2. Those were the only two finished quilts when I decided to do quilts for Christmas.
The week before Christmas, I finished the quilt for our youngest son. It has quite a story. It is made with polyester double knit and is a signature quilt. We’d used it as a “guest book” at his high school graduation 14 years ago. Because it was double-knit it was terribly hard to quilt. The give of the knit made it shift as I was trying to quilt. I got disgusted and threw it in the closet. But encouraged by the UFO Mary Kate finished a couple of weeks ago and the time crunch, I decided to finish it. It is very lumpy and bumpy. I’m not proud of it but it is finished and our youngest son loved it. An observation here: signature quilts when they are old can be heart-wrenching to work on. My father, father-in-law, mother-in-law, a favorite aunt and a grandson who are all deceased had signed the quilt. I spent much of the time quilting in tears.
That’s where I was when I started my vacation.
The quilt I was working on then was for my daughter and is a scrap quilt. It was ready for quilting. I’d completed the blocks and decided to put in sashing to make it a little larger. The fabric I found was left from the dresses I made for the bridesmaids at her wedding in 1990.
I quilted for several days on that quilt and used 32 bobbins. Can you say obsessive? When I was ready to bind the quilt, I realized I’d left the binding fabric at my apartment, three hours away. I put the quilt aside and worked the rest of the day on the quilt for son #3. I had the bias strips assembled. I made them to check the math on the borders for Beautiful Blues.
The next day I had a delightful surprise. The weather was bad and I was not looking forward to the 30 mile trip to the nearest fabric store for binding fabric. There is a small co-op in our little town with individual booths. One of the booths offers sewing notions and a little bit of fabric; I don’t imagine she has more than 100 pieces. Some fat quarters, some yardage. My hubby and I went there and as soon as we walked in the booth, he said, “There it is.” And he was right; there was a good fabric for the binding. I needed ¾ of a yard and the piece he found was 2 yards. The whole shopping excursion only took 20 minutes or so.
On Saturday, I finished our daughter’s quilt. I quilted most of the words to “My Favorite Things” in the border. I put pockets on all five quilts so I had a place to put the little note telling them I’d gotten them each a subscription to Quilters Newsletter.
Then it was back to quilt #5. I had drafted the quilt in EQ at the apartment and purchased the fabric, but I didn’t write down the measurements. When I got home, I just did the math with paper and pencil. The computer at home crashed a while back and EQ isn’t loaded on it anymore and it was a simple strip quilt. Rather than take the time to load EQ (what would that take, maybe 5 minutes??) I could do the math easily, right? Maybe not! When I got ready to assemble the quilt sandwich, the top was bigger than my queen size batting. I spliced the batting to make it big enough and started quilting. When I gave the quilt to son #3, I told him the other kids got queen size quilts and he got a pick-up truck cover. It measures 110” x 125”. Notice in the photo how much it extends up onto the headboard of our bed. I had all the quilting done on it except the strips when I went to bed Saturday night.
Sunday morning I started quilting the strips. The grid on the yellow was done, the straight line quilting on the border was done. All that remained was quilting in the ditch for the bias strips. Bake, my husband, asked how close I was and I told him I had another couple of hours to go. I am the eternal optimist. I finished the quilt at 4 in the afternoon. The first of our guests got there a little before 5. That may have been cutting it a little too close.
The quilts were a hit. There is one bit of irony however. Our daughter and her family all came down with the flu so they weren’t able to come. The quilt that started the whole hubbub is still wrapped and waiting for my daughter.
I’ve been at my apartment for two evenings and haven’t even plugged in the sewing machine, but I think I’m ready again now. I don’t stop sewing for long. It’s such a part of what I do, maybe even who I am. But now, I am working on a fun project for our next issue of Quilters Newsletter. It amuses me that so much of my work is actually playing with things I love to do. So I’m off to “work” now.
Be sure to follow us on Facebook. I had fun while on vacation watching what everyone was doing there.