Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Far From Perfect--But [Finally] Finished!

Six blocks were left from a king-sized quilt, so I decided [in November of 2012] to create a wall-hanging to compliment the quilt.
Our niece, Susan, whose hand quilting is exquisite, brought me a vintage oval hoop on a stand and shared some hints on hand quilting.
I thought I would be able to do it rather nicely.
I became discouraged with my uneven stitches and relegated the piece, still in the hoop to various corners where the cats pulled at the batting.
I felt reproached by my lack of competence.

The 'work not in progress' was moved to the stone house in September.
It looked rather nice in a corner of my 'study'--almost as if I intended to take up my  needle and hone my skills.

When we began showing the stone house we decided that we needed to de-clutter.
My stash of quilting fabric, my sewing 'tools' and the quilting stand were moved to the farmhouse.
I discovered that much of my time there was waiting time: being there to make a meal for Jim; being available to go along to the home building supply store, to hold the end of a measuring tape or a length of PEX waterline.
There were hours when I was restless, so I determined to finish the wall hanging.
At first I sat near a temporary work lamp, hitching my chair about, trying to keep my work 
out of the shadows.
I was wearing a pair of drug-store reading glasses, waiting for new prescription lenses after cataract surgery.

Eventually I had my new spectacles, the electric lights were up and running in the kitchen and dining area of the farmhouse.
I found it quite soothing to pull my chair close to the warmth of the wood stove and poke my needle into the fabric.
I vowed that no matter how crooked my stitches, I wouldn't pick them out.
That was a promise I couldn't keep! 
While there are obviously many crooked or uneven stitches, I did back up and redo many.
I don't feel that my skills improved.
Sometimes I could go along making neat, fairly small stitches.  Too often my stitches were discouragingly large and untidy.
Lighting seemed to be an issue, as did the flexibility of my fingers--when I had been holding a paint brush or working outdoors, my fingers balked at finer use.

Still, the wall-hanging is finished!
It has been embellished with cat hair--by Nellie who wanted to be part of the photos when I spread the piece on my work table.

I am impatient with all learning curves.
I am not satisfied with my amateurish results.
I fear that anyone looking at this may conclude I was experimenting with 
'big-stitch' quilting.
More than an hour of stitching is conducive to a 'kink' in the neck!
At the end of the day, I have to say I enjoyed finishing this piece.
I suspect I will attempt another.
I may learn not to apologize for a less than perfect finished project!


  1. It's beautiful, and whilst you aren't totally happy with the quilting stitches, I've seen far worse, and this will always remind you of a time in limbo, before you move in properly to your lovely new home. Stitches are memories . . .

    Envious here of the beautiful piecing and wonderful choice of fabrics. Once the house is warmer I shall try to get back to the girls' quilts again - I gave up hope before Christmas when I got Tam's top out again and ended up unpicking lots of blocks. I would prefer to work b y hand . . .

  2. I don't suppose anyone else will notice the imperfections. My father taught me that in connection with painting walls. The only bit of painting you need to get right is in the toilet - the only place where people sit staring at the wall for any length of time!

  3. I think your work is lovely. Whenever I learn new stitches they are awkward. Practice makes us better.

    I love the colors in this piece.

    Love and hugs to you ~ FlowerLady

  4. It is gorgeous. why are we so tough on ourselves about what is, hand made and unique? Anyone seeing this beautiful piece would not scrutinise it, but just enjoy the colours, design and attractive stitched finish.
    Now I have finished moving round ahead of the builders, I got out my UFO's and this was the one that spoke to me. I shall enjoy laying out all the fabrics and chosing combinations.
    I think your quilting looks fabulous and I'm happy that the quilting turned from a chore into something that gave you pleasure.

  5. Somehow, I missed this post in February. I'm very much like you in the matter of hand stitching. I try it occasionally but never feel I do a good job with it. On the other hand, your stitching looks beautiful - I would be more than satisfied with that.