Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Arg. *Sigh*

I must tell you how great it feels to finally finish this quilt. wow. I drafted/drew the pattern at the first Hartland Quilt Retreat, which was in October of 2007. (btw, as I looked up the link, I see that the Lone Star quilt in the picture on the left is mine.) I sewed the Log Cabin blocks and cut the stencil for the border in November of that same year, at the Valley Oak Quilt Guild retreat.

I had a problem with stenciling the border, in that the fabric I chose - which is perfect in every way but the most important - was a medium value. This meant that no matter what I did to try to make the lettering stand out, nothing worked. I had committed to using Fabrico ink markers for the lettering, and even after 4 layers of ink, it wasn't distinct enough.

I attempted to lighten the fabric behind some of the lettering with paint. I ruined one border completely, and had no more of this fabric. By now it was out of date and out of stock everywhere. I finally found a replacement border piece in my stash, that I had discarded earlier as "ruined". At this point, it was "good enough" to finish the quilt. I went over the four layers of stenciled green ink with a layer of black, and a fifth layer of green. whew! I can finally read the lettering. Finally, finally.

The border hang up hung me up for over a year. I don't even remember when I finally basted it and began the quilting.

Because it is hand-quilted, it was my travel project. This quilt has accompanied me to many places, including Colorado (twice) and New Mexico. And multiple quilt retreats.

I couldn't decide how to quilt the border, so I set it aside. again. Last fall I finally realized that I had to just quilt it. And so I did. Then I didn't like the flatness of the quilt, although it was perfectly and completely flat. I added the dimensional heads to the coxcomb. And added dimension to the border. See the wobble I introduced to the quilt? Can you hear me groan? This is the left side:

Here is the right. For some reason the top and bottom remained flat and straight.

Last night, I spent all of NCIS, LA spritzing and pinning the two borders into submission. Please quilt, please submit!!! I dampened the interior of the quilt and absolutely soaked the recalcitrant borders.

This is the left border this morning. It's not quite dry.

This is the right border this morning. It's not dry either.

Compared to the before, those two borders are looking pretty good. If you're wondering how I did this, here is a close up. The pins are nickel-plated applique/sequin pins, that do not rust.

People ask me, "How long does it take to make a quilt?" How about "forever"? It depends on the method used, and whether or not the method is working well.

So. Will this or won't this become a traveling show quilt? Good question. I guess the proof will be in the judges' remarks come April. I have entered it into Best of the Valley, and am considering submitting it to the Denver National Quilt Festival.

After all these years, it would be sad to just put it in the pile on my shelf, doncha think?

Such a saga.

And now, I'm back to work on the show. 'Til next time...


Kay said...

It really is beautiful! I admired the stenciled letters yesterday, but am amazed at how much persistence it took to get them where they are. I'd say it was worth the work.

If the border doesn't lie flat after drying, you might try the method of putting a basting thread in place (I guess in the ditch of the binding?) and pulling it till the ripple goes, then spritzing or pressing again. I've never tried this, just read about it.

Quilt Crazy said...

You are amazing! It looks wonderful!