Friday, May 11, 2012

102-year-long project finished

Whew, I don't know what happened to Blogger since I last posted, but this will take a little getting used to.

I have been happily slaving away in the garden for the last month, whacking weeds, digging little irrigation ditches, planting seeds and plants. It looks pretty bare right now except for the onions, garlic, and other over-wintering plants. More on that later.

Great Grandma's Block
A quilt that took 102 years to complete
If you've been following this blog, you have seen this quilt in progress. It is now finally finished, including burying the odd threads that your sharp eye may spy in this photo.

Great Grandma Dobson made the 16" center block of this quilt in 1910. It has been packed away in a drawer ever since. When my mother gave it to me, I immediately wanted to have it be the centerpiece of one of my quilts. The problem was that when I went fabric shopping, nothing I could find coordinated, so I ended up learning how to dye from Dharma and dyeing my own fabrics. That was so much fun that I would happily spend most of my time dyeing if I could find a funding source.

I have never done any hand quilting. My motto is: If it can't be done by machine, it doesn't get done. However, I really wanted to hand quilt this one, since you have more control over where the quilting stitches go. I thought. Ha. I bought the little quilting needles, the leather thimble, borrowed a large hoop on a stand, and sat down to what I hoped would be a rewarding experience. Half an hour and four completed stitches later, I returned to my former motto: If it can't be done by machine, it doesn't get done.

I'd send the quilt out, I thought. A good professional quilter would make this look great. Then I looked at my currently unfilled need for a renter (i.e. diminishing funds) and decided I would just finish it myself.

A real quilter, so I hear, is just as enthusiastic about the quilting (stitching) as they are the piecing, but I guess I am just not a real quilter. I specialize in long wavy lines. I have done some free-motion quilting around motifs, some flowers and curlicues and words in cursive, but all on much smaller projects. I just couldn't imagine what "fun" it would be to try quilting this on my home machine, muscling it around while trying to be kind to my rotator cuff. Yeah, something happened to it, who knows what, but now visits to physical therapy are part of my weekly schedule.

I did the long wavy lines, buried the ends, and am happy with the finished project. I wish Great Grandma, who died before I was born, were around to see it.

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