Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Becky's 19 year old quilt finish...


Becky from Becky's Blabber has a cute story of a quilt that took 19 years to finish! I am impressed with that! See we should keep all those projects in our closets, we may get back to them in 19 years!

My first quilt... completed 19 years later


My husband and I celebrated our 18th wedding anniversary yesterday, on 10-10-10! As a gift to him, I decided to finally finish a quilt that I started for him 19 years ago. It's the first quilt I'd ever made, and I dove into it knowing almost nothing about quilting. It would be 10 years later that I got introduced to rotary cutters, quilt stores, batting and binding. It remained unfinished mainly because after making the top, I didn't know how to bring the back, top and batting all together. I was also not too entirely happy with the result (just LOOK at that orange!), and I still wanted to make it bigger with borders.

So it remained tucked inside my fabric stash, moving from apartment to apartment, house to house. As I later learned more and more about quilting I became concerned about the open button holes, and as my quilting skills progressed this first quilt looked so homely and clumsy. But the sentiment behind it remained the same... a labor of love, made for a special person in my life.

My husband knew about it. He'd seen it move from place to place. Last week, as I pinned it all together, I hoped it would be a surprise gift. As usual, though, it took longer to quilt than I'd figured. I had to drag it out over the week-end in order to finish it on time. The look on his face when he saw me working on it was priceless! He, of all people, knows just how much time I spend quilting a single quilt.

When I first met him, he was a forester who's unofficial "uniform" was plaid flannel shirts. I love rainbows, so I went to the local Goodwill store and found as many colorful shirts as I could to make the quilt. I ended up buying some of the flannel at the fabric store, but could only find the solid blaze orange no matter how hard I looked. I thought it would be neat to leave the pockets and buttons on, and did. I bought a sheet for the back, and cut out the strips with scissors. I probably broke all of the "rules" of quilting all in this one quilt.

In order to finish it, I decided to forget the borders, keep it exactly the way it was, leave the button holes the way they were, use the sheet I still had for the back, and just do it. I started trying to stipple quilt it free-motion on my machine, but after a broken needle and some frustration, I decided to ditch that plan too, and just use my walking foot to make a grid pattern. To make things even easier, I just trimmed the back an inch all around the quilt, and brought it around to the top and sewed it to the front as a "mock binding". Quick, easy, cheap. And it's done!

Sometimes I think all the designer fabric, chic patterns and the long arm finishing does more to impede my quilting process than to help it. I want my quilts to be just like the beautiful ones in the quilt stores, shows, and blogs... But every time I see this once-closeted quilt I'll remember the couple who rented small apartments furnished with second-hand goods, and the time when I bought my quilting fabric from thrift stores. I'll also be reminded of how far I have come in my hobby. More importantly, I'll remember our new romance 19 years ago, and the true reason I love quilting. For me it's a way to show my love to family and friends.

Here is one of my recent finishes... Pathway to the Stars...





Photobucket

10 comments:

Naturally Carol said...

That sure is a special quilt! I love the whole story and the quilt, buttons, pockets, buttonholes and all. I want my sewing to be from the heart like that too...always.

AMKreations said...

How sweet! Way to go on your finish too!

Jen said...

Sweet story! Sometimes it can be easy to fall into the "keeping up with the jones'" quilting trap. We want all the glitz and glam of the quilting world in every quilt. But it's not always about that. Thanks for the reminder!

Lee Ann said...

That is one unique quilt! I love it.

You have inspired me to finish the quilt I started for my husband years ago. It's already basted. It just needs quilting. I never did it because I could never decide on how I wanted to quilt it. I need to just do it.

So, thanks for the inspiration!

ANudge said...

I have a 29 year old UFO. I'm hand quilting mine - that's all that needs to be done. I tried finishing by machine quilting, but it just didn't look right, so I plucked that all out and continued with the hq. My goal is 2011.

Loved your story!

onlymehere said...

The story is absolutely priceless and I'm sure it means more to him than you'll ever know! Happy anniversary belatedly! I have a couple of pillowcases I started before my marriage 28 years ago. All they need is trim around the bottom. Maybe you've inspired me to finally finish those, lol! They have orange in them too bz peach is my favorite color! Have a happy Thanksgiving.
Cindy

Becky said...

Thank you! How exciting to see it featured! This quilt's been on our bed every night since I finished it! Good thing too, since it was -4 this morning! I finally managed to get a turn at the computer today (kind of hard with 2 tween boys and a husband home), and posted about it!! Have a happy Thanksgiving everyone!

Bellgirl said...

I love it! I know what you mean about all the sophisticated quilting toools and fabrics impeding creativity- I'm really enjoying using my scrap box because it means I need to be creative and resourceful with what's available, and those limitations define the final piece.

amylouwho said...

one of my first quilts was that old before I finished it. Well, part of it was. I love that I'm not the only one!

SisterlyLove said...

I absolutely LOVE this quilt. It's so great! And it looks soft too. Congrats on finishing it. I'm sure your husband feels totally loved. :)

Genevieve