Friday, March 19, 2021

A Project Too Long in the Doing! Done!

It seemed an interesting project at the time--to replicate the quilt my g-grandmother fashioned from worn bits of aprons, shirts, house dresses. 
I had rescued some of the blocks from her quilt, hand-stitched them to muslin backing so that they could be framed as wall art.
In a rush of enthusiasm I collected a number of shirts from charity shops at less than a dollar apiece. 

Between more sophisticated projects I salvaged usable chunks of fabric from each shirt and paired likely colors to construct triangle/squares using the grid method which though tedious [trimming to size] results in very accurately pieced units.

 I put away the project, took it out several times over a decade of moving, refurbishing houses, finally settling into the present house built from the ground up.
I considered scrapping the half-completed quilt blocks but reminded myself that I'd put in enough time I should finish.

During January and February I've pottered downstairs, slowly sorting fabric, books, notions, arranging things in the workspace Jim and Howard set up with ample cupboards and a large L-shaped counter.

Inevitably, the neglected 'shirt-tail' quilt blocks resurfaced.
I finished trimming units to size, stitched until I had 40 finished blocks which I sashed into larger units of four, using 36 of the blocks.

I've felt I should try the method termed 'quilt as you go'--but didn't want to risk spoiling a 'good' quilt top in such an experiment.
I read various instructions, watched a few you tube tutorials, coming up with a plan that was a hybrid of several methods.

If you are a quilt-maker who has felt inspired to finish a quilt in this manner--don't--unless you are prepared for aching shoulders, a kink in your neck, hours of shoving unwieldy wads of fabric through your sewing machine!
However one goes about this process there comes that point where the wodge of fabric, batting and backing is not cooperative.

Way too much 'help' with my photo op--and I should have paid more attention to lighting in the room.

It is done. The overall look of the quilt is cheerful, homespun, vintage.
I can imagine this quilt in the setting of a summer cottage, spread over a bed in a simple room; it would serve well to soften a porch chair, a warm wrap for an early morning mug of tea or coffee--a blanket to accompany a book late in the evening.
The backing doesn't please me; there are some tucks here and there.  I experimented with several ways of finishing the back seams after the units were put together in rows. Not up to my standards, although sturdy enough.

A look at the quilt back.

This earlier photo of the work in progress gives a better sense of the colors.
Its a cheerful thing, if a bit gaudy.
I doubt I will use this method again on anything larger than a cushion.

Gina has asked to adopt the quilt and it will go to her house tomorrow.



  1. Oh how lovely this quilt is and thank you for persevering to make such a thing of gentle beauty. I don't see it as gaudy but I know our colour tastes are different :) What is the name of that block please?

    I am sure your g.grandmother is looking down on this with a smile on her face.

    1. Jennie; I didn't learn the name of this block for a number of years until seeing it featured in a quilt magazine as 'Windblown Star.' Oddly enough, one of the you-tube videos I watched re quilt as you go, used this pattern block as the demonstration. I was astonished to see that the maker had been very careless in her piecing!
      Other than being displeased with the quality of my machine quilting the thing had begun to grow on me a bit once it was all together and the binding stitched down. Gina will give it a good home.

  2. Goosebumps Sharon!
    Thank you for putting in to words what we feel about our we are creating them, sewing them, stashing them away, bring them out again, pausing to rethink this idea in our head. Beautiful quilt!

    1. Carla; A lot of pondering goes into our quilts--and sometimes the fabric or colors we 'see' in our minds aren't available when we go looking. I've found that even when I'm not enthused about the finished project someone usually wants to take it home and love it [Gina has a collection!]
      You know where I live--if you run short of fabric come on over!

  3. That's beautiful; I find it really balanced and "right". :) Some things are worth persevering with, and will be attended to when the time is right so ending in success :)

    1. MrsL; I'm liking this quilt better now that it is finished--it does have a 'homey' look. I'm also feeling virtuous for having persevered--at last!

  4. I think it's very pretty! Quilts like this one, in my opinion, are more beautiful than those with lots of time-consuming applique and colors which "jump out" at the viewer.

    1. Charlotte; I have a number of quilts that seem to be 'for display only'--too much time and special fabric involved to put them on a bed or sofa and have the cats romping on them. I agree that my simpler 'scrap' quilts, the ones regularly on the beds are the dear familiars--the ones we come home to.

  5. Gina is wise for she is taking home a real treasure! Ah, the beauty of something made entirely by human hands. Now get out there and d-i-g! :~)

    1. Mary; Gina doesn't sew--her artistry is in the arrangement of a room or the knack of grouping vintage treasures for display--but she is never slow to claim one of my quilts!
      I've been 'digging' this afternoon--grubbing up the ever present over-wintered weeds in the flower strips. I'm hoping this summer will find a balance between gardening and sewing.

  6. It is beautiful, your patience well rewarded. It will belong in the family, what more could you ask of your work?

    1. Thelma; Several of my humble early efforts at quilt making have been used and worn to shreds by friends and family members, time to make them another! I'm almost embarrassed by the extent of my fabric stash, most of it accrued during the Wyoming years when I worked part time in a quilt shop.