It is always a challenge to decide first whether or not to enter and then to decide which quilt to enter. Then it is the challenge of writing a new post about an old quilt.
I've chosen to enter my Lemoyne Star Quilt this time. I've written so much about it from my travails acquiring fabric to the final story of the quilt to an Instructable on hand quilting. It is certainly my favorite quilt from season 5 of Project Quilting. And it is probably one of my all time favorite quilts. Best of all, I made it for me so I get to keep it and use it and enjoy it.
For those of you not familiar with it, Project Quilting is an on-line challenge. Prompts are issued at noon on Sunday and pictures of final quilts are to be posted by noon the following Sunday. Yes. The following Sunday. One week. Seven Days. That is all.
The first season I participated, all of my quilts were in the small art quilt, wall-hanging category. Relatively easy to manage in the space of a week. This year, Spud 1 challenged me to make 'useful' quilts, quilts that would cover more than his big toe. I took him up on it. Each week my quilt was bigger than the last. This was the quilt I made in response to the week 4 challenge "Across the Universe". To be perfectly honest, my quilts this year didn't really live up to the spirit of Project Quilting. A spirit that says we should think outside the block. But then for me I really was outside my typical comfort zone. I was working large and I was mostly following traditional patterns. I don't usually do that. My typical quilt is a either a small art quilt or a lap robe sized project with of my own design. I don't do big and I don't follow patterns. In that respect this was a real challenge.
Given the week time frame, I usually have a plan by late Sunday and am working on fabric selection or even cutting by that evening. For this challenge, I was stuck. I had lots of ideas but no plan. I kept vacillating between a stars and space/science fiction and the Beatles. It wasn't until Wednesday that I finally decided I wanted to make a big star quilt for my bed. (I did mess around with this pattern a couple years ago and ended up with a Christmas quilt so I wanted a not seasonal version for the rest of the year.)
I started cutting on Wednesday evening and managed to piece one of the blocks. But... I discovered I didn't have enough background fabric. I've already referred that that adventure above. Half of Thursday was gone by the time I had not enough but sufficient fabric to finish.
It had been my intention to have it all pieced and ready to baste in time for my Friday morning Bible Study meeting. There are lots of big tables and helping hands there to stay after a few minutes and help get the job done. But no such luck. I wasn't ready to baste until about 3 in the afternoon. On Friday. With less than 48 hours until the deadline.
I actually was living large and on track to get it finished. Except.... the silly quilt insisted on being hand quilted. Yes, quilts talk. They have minds of their own. They can be very adamant about what they want. And this quilt wanted hand quilting. Fortunately it wanted big stitches with Pearl cotton and not tiny delicate stitches with quilting thread. Fortunate, mostly because I am not exactly the sort who can manage tiny delicate stitches even under the best of circumstances.
So, Friday evening I started hand quilting. I stitched and stitched and stitched. Some time late Saturday evening I had enough stitches in it to say that it was sufficiently quilted. It would hold together in the wash and actually looked pretty good. Now all I had to do was the binding.
I absolutely could not face the thought of hand stitching the binding. I also know that my ability to machine stitch a binding is non-existent. I can stitch in the ditch about as well as a bar hopper can walk the line at 2 am. And I'd give the bar hopper the odds if it was a competition! Then you can take a look at the back. I completely miss the binding at least twenty five percent of the way around on a good day. Not the way I wanted to finish this baby.
Some where in the depths of my stitched out sleep deprived mind came the vision of Elmer's glue. I'd been in an on-line chat with some one, I think BariJ, who confessed to the use of white school glue for holding bindings in place. What could it hurt? The spuds searched high and low and found me a not completely dried up bottle of Elmer's finest. I grabbed a wooden skewer (OK, there are a million better choices for an applicator but at midnight it was the best I could do). I started applying and sticking and unsticking my fingers and applying and sticking some more. Eventually, I made it all the way around and I knew for a fact that the binding covered the stitching all the way around on the back.
I had enough mental clarity to recall that one of the critical steps in using school glue was to iron it to make sure that it was completely dry. That would prevent it from gumming up the needle on the sewing machine.
Rather foolishly I decided to start out stitching in the ditch. That lasted for about 10 inches. I stopped and re-started with the edge of my presser foot against the edge of the binding and stitched just inside the seam on the binding itself. Worked like a charm. I have NO idea why I can do that but can't keep it in the ditch. Must be a mental problem!
I was finished with the whole thing by about 1:30 am on Sunday morning.
I took a few quick photos, including the one above of the spud playing quilt monster. Posted quickly to Flickr and collapsed. I had HOURS to spare!!! This quilt was started Wednesday night and finished early Sunday morning. Just over three days less sleeping, cooking, meetings and other life events getting in the way of quilting. Whew! All in all a fun quilt I am going to treasure!
If you are new to my blog and have made it this far you might want to poke around a bit. I get pretty long winded but some folks seem to enjoy my stories. All of them mostly true. Other folks seem to enjoy my recipes although they are more road maps than precision cooking instructions. And some even enjoy looking at my quilts.
No matter what you should head back over to the Bloggers Quilt festival and check out all of the REALLY amazing quilts. If you are so inclined you can even vote for my quilt when voting opens. I would appreciate it.
Thanks and enjoy the quilts.