Monday, July 8, 2013

Handquilted eBay Find to Picnic Quilt

Near the end of the school year, I received an e-mail from a friend.
She explained that she'd bought a hand-stitched "funky" quilt top off of
eBay and wanted to know if I could quilt it into a picnic blanket for
her family to use.  I wasn't sure what to expect when
the box arrived.

There's a book series that I love to read.  The series is called Elm Creek Quilts, and the books
are written by Jennifer Chiaverini.  The books range from current time back to the
Civil War.  They are fiction, but the quilt history included in the story line is amazing.
When I received this quilt top and looked at the back of it, I remembered some of the history in the ladies used to save every single piece of fabric that was left over after they made their clothing, their curtains, feed bags, they didn't have a "stash" they would gather at one house, set up the quilting frame and work together on one quilt, by hand. 

Someone spent hours, days, stitching this quilt top.  The fabrics are different colors, different textures. As I worked on it, I wondered what each piece of fabric had also become for this quilter.
Was this a shirt?  A dress?  A curtain for her home? 

I have such respect for those that hand sew, either by necessity or choice. 
I have a small hand-stitched piece that I work on here and there.
It will one day be the only quilted piece that I've ever made entirely by hand; but
it'll be a long time before it's completed.  It takes time, patience, a good set of eyes,
maybe even a massage or two.
For just a moment, I considered completing the quilting by hand....
and then I thought of the many, many wavy lines I intended to make back and forth across
the quilt and pulled out my machine.

Here we go!  Do you see that little spot there where the entire quilt is
stuffed?  This is the biggest quilt I've quilted on my machine, and I believe
I've discovered it's limit!  The good thing is that I was able to combine sewing with quite the
arm workout!

6,336 inches (or 528 feet) of stitching...and it's finished!

I often go to quilt shows with my mom, and we marvel at the quilts that we see there.
But, when I get close, for me the best part is the quilting.  Even if it's just
a bunch of wavy lines, it adds such character, such depth to the quilt.
With the quilting, the backing and the binding, it doesn't look so "funky"
any more.  It looks like a quilt that will be pulled out over and over for family picnics,
that will be washed many times, that will follow three little boys from picnics, to soccer games, to the beach, to wherever they may go.

1 comment:

  1. A beautiful post ...about all of the work and history involved as well as your own work. We are the opposite..I hand quilt as I am afraid to machine quilt, lol ! :)