Wednesday, January 7

Chugging along on Al's Quilt

Been sewing. And making progress. Thought I wouldn't be at the point I'm at right now til at least May or so. But here it is, still the beginning of January and I've actually gotten a lot accomplished. So I'm pretty excited. And hoping this momentum will keep me going strong these next few days? weeks?

Wanna see? It's a bit of a mess. And the lighting down in my basement family room at 10pm (when I should be in bed) is atrocious. But here goes...

Here are 8 rows of 10 blocks each, waiting to have their seams ironed flat. Just gotta figure out which direction to iron them...

Here are the "triangle squares" waiting to be sewed into rows, then seams ironed flat. Five "sets" in this stack (which will become 5 rows)...

...and another set started, see? Four pairs --- which will become two quartets --- which will become one row of eight. So far, I haven't screwed up the order of any of the pieces. I think. I hope... Anyway, two more sets are already sewed into rows and ironed and then the two rows also sewed together into a wider row. You'll see that in a minute...
Here's a bunch of orange fabric that still needs to be cut into squares and strips for the border, but I'm not sure on the sizes, so I'm just ignoring this pile for a while. But hey, where are the rest of the border pieces?!? The 36 green rectangles that I sewed onto 36 beige rectangles to make 36 squares?!? (If I know my middle kid, they're probably in the playroom now, covering 36 little stuffed animals in 36 miniature "beds." Aaargh. Cute, but still, aaargh!)
And here's the thing that's giving me hope... Doesn't look like much but it's one-fifth of the quilt, already stuffed with batting and pinned together, just waiting to be quilted!!!!! ("Quilting" is when you sandwich the batting between the front and back layers and then sew lines to keep it all together. Before that happens, when you sew all the pieces into blocks, rows, etc, that's called "piecing." I didn't know that for a long time. Perhaps you didn't either? Now you do.)
Just a minute, let me spread it out for you. First, the "triangles" side. The pairs of squares on either end will be covered by those elusive green-beige border squares ... which I still can't find, grrr... so I'll approximate the border with some scraps I can find. See bottom right corner of photo...
And then here's the "squares" side... Wow, this is going to be BIG quilt. I did the math. I checked the internet. King quilts should be around 110"x110". But dude, that looks really big. And this doesn't even include the 5" brown border around the whole thing!

So let's see it with a small section of border. This is NOT a cotton "quilter's" fabric. It's more like a thick upholstery brocade. But I think it'll make a nice border. By the way, this is NOT the way quilts are usually put together. Not any of it -- the "wrong fabric" border, the double-sidedness, the quilt as you go approach. But I'm just following where desire and necessity take me, trying something different, and so far so good. (Or is it "sew far, sew good"? Late-night puns -- folks, I'm really sorry!)
Ooh ooh! Found the green-beige squares! So let's flip it over again and get a better approximation of what the finished border on the "triangles" side will look like. And you may think I'm taking all these pictures/doing all this layout for you, dear readers, but really it's for me. To give me a vision of where I'm going, a vision to cling to when I'm sewing ("piecing" and "quilting") with no end in sight and all hope seems lost. Because, as my dad is always quoting, from Prov. 29:18, "Without vision, quilters perish," er, I mean "people"...

And this, this is my trusty little machine, originally my grandma Marmee's, faithfully chugging along, especially ever since this past August when the sewing bug bit me again in earnest and sunk its teeth in deep this time. I heard some squeaking coming from her innards somewhere today, so figured I better give her a little TLC 'cause she's still has a lot of work ahead of her. "TLC" means randomly oiling stuff in the hopes of fixing the squeak. I think I managed to do that. Now, after all we've already been through, I think the poor girl needs a name...


  1. I will think of a few good names. BRB!

  2. 1. Hummer (because of the sound it makes)

    2. Bob or Bobby (because of the bobbins)

    3. Mary Bobbins (get it?? Mary Poppins???)

    4. Jaws (I have been bit too many times by a sewing machine...can you tell??)

    5. Jo-Ann (in honor of Jo-Ann Fabrics and Crafts Stores)

    6. Little Foot (because of it's feet)

  3. Wow! That looks fantastic! What a lot of work!!

    I can't beat Jenny's names, but I would personally go for "Bertha." The name just screams big, heavy, and hard-working to me...what can I say?

  4. I like the "Mary Bobbins" idea 'cuz of how your Dad would say Poppins. (Merry Bobbins?...'cuz sewing makes you happy?)

    I am VERY impressed with what you have acheived!! And you even cleaned the foyer floor twice as well!! Gratz!

  5. Ooo! A picture of your workhorse/best friend! No names come to me right now but will come back here and tell you if I get some inspiration! That quilt is very, very beautiful. And I have to say that I am REALLY liking the "squares" side more and more as I see more of it coming together. I like the triangles, but the squares just grab me, I don't know why. Can' wait to see it all done but I also really like the suspense and watching it slowly and fabulously come together!

  6. Thanks everyone. Love your ideas, Jenny! And Dee, Bertha's great too. Picked a name, will include it in the next post... : )

    Anon (I assume that's you, Mom), I was thinking the SAME thing about Mary Bobbins. (If it were up to my Dad, there would be "bees on earth, goodwill toward men"!) So when are you coming back up here to do some of the sewing on this quilt "from both of us"? Ha ha

    LiEr, yeah, I'm so liking the squares too. For me, I think it's because when I see all the fabrics separately, I think "there's no WAY these would ever all look good together" but ya' just have faith and put them together and it works... Like magic! (Or life, sometimes.)

  7. I'm not sure if I even know what inspired the idea of making Al a quilt. I can't imagine doing something like that and having it look so awesome! I can't wait till it's done for two reasons: One, to see the finished product and Two, to see what you'll do next (perhaps make a whole new wardrobe with your new stash?)

  8. Hi Suz -- What inspired it? Easy - he asked for it. Well, mentioned to my mom that he'd like one and she figured I'd want to help too.

    Thanks for your kind words and encouragement!



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