This got much wordier than I originally intended, so advance apologies.
Over the years (which makes me sound like I mean more than the 10-odd I’m actually referring to), I have surfed about through eBay, thrift stores, antique shops and yard sales, snapping up anything vaguely quilt-related that was scrappy, included feedsack fabrics, and/or was under $50. While I love quilting, quilts, applique and the other assorted needlearts, I find that piecing the sorts of quilts I love most (see above re: scrappy, feedsacks, etc.) is not my favorite part of the process. The actual quilting, however, IS, being the same sort of soothing repetitive hand motion that knitting brings to the table.
(That brown and white print in the upper right hand corner is one of my favourite fabrics in this quilt top)
Generally, because I have my hands into so many different crafty pursuits and only so many minutes in a day in which I might indulge them, I have machine quilted most of my own projects. All the while, though, I have been stashing away quilt tops found here and about, and got it into my head that while machine quilting would be faster, what I really wanted was to hand quilt them.
(This shot was an accident, but I love it — my current camera is not an SLR, so getting this kind of depth of field on purpose can be sort of a crapshoot.)
Certainly my blog presence in 2007 — or rather, the lack thereof — is an excellent demonstration of roads paved with intentions galore, so what with one thing and another, I never seemed to get around to these beauties.
Cleaning up my creative space most recently, however, seems to have triggered the impetus needed to get my hands into the quilts at long last. The quilt in these photos was an eBay purchase, a 1930′s apple core charm quilt that I got for under $25, WITH shipping. How can you walk away from that?
(I have a thing for that cherries fabric. It was the first core I quilted because it kept catching my eye.)
As a legacy from my mother and gifts from my Dad, I have several options for quilting frames; the largest of these, a Grace company frame that was my mother’s, is still in pieces in our garage, yet another casualty of good intentions but no actual activity. However, my dad and stepmom – knowing that I love the needlearts and being thoughtful — brought me a floor-standing quilt frame some time ago that they found at a church sale. (along with a box of quilting fabric squares that I need to show you another time.)
I found, however, that the floor stand made me lean forward in a way that hurt my back, and I tired very quickly. So I removed the hoop from the stand, and found it was much easier to quilt when I held the whole thing in my lap. The hoop that came with the floor stand, however, was too large for me to reach all the fabric in a given hooping.
(Brutus is “helping”.)
Here is what I’ve learned about hand quilting in your lap that I didn’t know before — when choosing a hoop for hand quilting, the entire hoop needs to fit between your elbow and your fingertips, if you lay it on your arm, so that you know you can easily reach all the fabric in the hoop at any given time. Sure, it means you reposition the hoop fairly frequently, but this is much less of an annoyance than I expected it might be. (Note to self: take picture of the hoop thing.) Ultimately I ended up purchasing a simple wooden hoop, 16″ size, and it is working perfectly with much greater comfort than anything else I’ve tried so far.
(About two minutes after the last photo)
You will note that behind Brutus there it is grey and rainy. While our temps here have been very spring-like, it caused some interesting weather patterns to blast through last night, creating a state of minor anxiety in our house as to whether or not there was a tornado in our backyard. (The answer was, ” sort of” — it didn’t touch down and lasted about a minute. But it was still scary for an area that doesn’t typically get swirly weather.)