Thursday, June 12, 2014

the end of an era

"taite" and her sister are finished! it's been a long time coming. one not-so-little girl has been waiting and waiting for this "taite" quilt over the course of two birthdays and more; another no-longer-quite-so-little girl finally gets her quilt for the foot of her bed and still wants it. there are a few photos of "taite" and her sister to share as well as the stories associated with her, so look at the pictures and skip the words or settle in for a read if you like that sort of thing.

three years (and some change) ago, i took my second quilting class and started my third full-sized quilt. i strong-armed two good friends into taking the class with me for the company, because they both were interested in making a quilt, and because, frankly, i was hoping to recruit some companions into my new hobby. mequell and jill were very good quilting company for the class. mequell, with the aid of a longarmer, finished her quilt shortly after the class was over. jill and i took a bit more time, getting together on fridays to sew . . . over the course of three years. we had plenty of stops and starts during that time, large gaps of months where we didn't work on the quilts at all. there were even some crazy home ec moments along the way which gave us some really good laughs. but all good things come to an end, even the making of beginner quilts.

 jill and i met at church when we were working in the primary (children's sunday school organization). she was the president and i was her horrid secretary for several months. then i was assigned as her visiting teacher for a handful of years and got to really know her. she is one kind and gentle soul, always with a smile on her face and hand ready to help. she has great style and a knack for vintage finds. she also makes a mean chicken pot pie. my life has been the better for knowing her. and now she's moving away! really, we finished these quilts in the nick of time to get them photographed together.

i can't say exactly why it took us so long to get these done. by the time the one month class concluded, jill was working on her quilting but i was stalled at an inner border on the top, which i was unhappy with. getting pregnant definitely brought work on this quilt to a halt for me. when i got back to it a year later, the borders got fixed and finished quickly enough, but i desperately wanted to stipple this quilt. so i had to pause again while i learned how to stipple on a few other projects first. there was no way i was going to just go for it with the stipple on this quilt! i'd waited long enough, waiting a little longer in order to get it right didn't hurt. several friday sewing sessions later, here we are. quilts do get finished if you work on them long enough.

 recently, we went to breakfast at a local coffee shop located in a charming agricultural atmosphere where we could get some good eats, chat far longer than it took to eat said goods, and photograph our quilt finishes. finally. (i wish we'd had mequell's quilt, too, but she was out of town.)

i wasn't particulary excited about the pattern selected for the class, but i took the opportunity to really make the pattern my own and as a good excuse to use a whole slew of heather bailey fabrics i was drooling over. heavily influenced by elizabeth hartman's use of white and white space in her quilts for the practical guide to patchwork (on the sidebar), i chose to add breathing room into the quilt by alternating the inner square and outer sashing of each block between five colors of the primrose tile print and kona snow. this added dimension and space to the quilt pattern. all the tiny squares for the middle ring are various other hb prints from either "nicey jane" or "pop garden." there was very little blue in those middle squares, so to add a bit more blue to the top and tie in the blue primrose tile pieces, i pieced the inner border from more blue-toned prints. the binding is red primrose tile.

 for the backing, i let my daughter, the recipient, choose the main fabric. she selected the bold, bright, and cheery "pop garden" paisley in yellow. it always reminds me of large shrimp. (recently i saw the pineapple print in yellow and really wish we had used that instead, but it is as it is now.) the rest is pieced together with other elements from the top: primrose tile in pink, a green "nicey jane" floral, kona snow sashing, and rows of the leftover squares.

it's funny how my perspective has changed as i've gained experience as a quilter. this quilt seemed tedious and rather ambitious for a first time quilt, or even a second, because of all those little squares and the seam matching. now, of course, it does't phase me a bit and i'm sure i could churn out another one pretty quickly. skills only grow when you push yourself, anyway, right? learning to strip piece the squares was helpful, but they still took a long time. all the endless pressing open of the innumerable seams wore me out. but all of that moved me along as a quilter.

when i see this quilt, it reminds me of taking the class with my friends, getting pregnant with baby #7 (which is the reason it didn't get finished at once), a daughter who wanted and waited for a quilt for literally years (mom, are you staring another quilt? is mine done?), and many a friday sewing social with jill. this quilt will always remind me of jill. i can't even say how much i am going to miss her.

 jill's quilt, unnamed as far as i know, is a pull of reds, light turquoise blues, and apple greens. even though it was her first quilt, she prefered to coordinate her own prints and did a fabulous job. her border is a light blue "nicey jane" print and the binding a green with white dot from bonnie and camille's bliss line. for the backing she used the blue border print from the front.

i didn't think these quilts were that tall, but i was barely able to hold them up by standing on my tip toes and stretching my arms out as far as they could go. jill, by height default, was the photographer any time i wanted the quilt held up for a photo. she did a lovely job. this was our first location photo shoot and we immediately realized a few things would have been helpful to bring along - like a step ladder. and maybe some kind of clamps or tacks for hanging the quilt. (any good suggestions?)

there is one photo i did not get on this morning of celebrating finishes and saying good-byes: a photo of the two quilters. jill, like most women, is camera shy, so i didn't make a point of getting a photo of her, but i wish i had now. while we were in the farmstand area, a lady came up to look at the produce list and i almost asked her to photograph us together with our quilts, but didn't. what a missed opportunity and how i am regretting that now!

linking up with my quilt infatuation's thursday threads and crazy mom quilt's friday finishes.