Monday, May 3, 2010

In The Home Stretch

A much-needed week off from work, in which I have grand plans to Finish Something, and then later this week a trek to visit the new Purl. First on the finish list is this quilt, which I started piecing three years ago while I was still living up in Maine. I've blogged about this before - I decided to hand quilt each triangle, and while I love the results, it took FOREVER. So, I am very eager to finish this - I just have the outer border to do and then I can bind it. It's destined to hang on my living room wall until I finish quilting another project (in other words, the next three years). I'm not sure about how to quilt the outside border, though. I'm tempted to keep it simple so I can finish it, but the rest of the quilt is so heavily quilted I'm afraid that it will look weird if I don't finish the border with a bang.

A note about hand quilting: Anna Maria Horner has a great explanation/tutorial of hand quilting here, and it's essentially how I roll, except I use a hard plastic embroidery hoop and definitely strive for tiny, even stitches (as opposed to larger, more folk-y stitching). Personally, I need a pretty tight surface to work on, and this hoop does the trick. I think if you look carefully at the photo below you can see some of the quilt stitching. I generally use 100% cotton quilting thread, but frankly I care more about the color, and have been know to use any thread that I have that matches.

I use a thimble given to me by my grandmother, who was an avid quilter, except she believed in tying quilts rather than quilting. In fact, she gave me the thimble because she never used it, and I've used it exclusively since I started quilting ~15 years ago. Frankly, it's nothing short of a miracle I haven't lost it, given all of my moving (Maine, Massachusetts, Memphis, Maine, NYC, Massachusetts). I've tied a few quilts myself, most recently with the purple quilts I made my nieces, and it certainly is quicker, but I much prefer heavy quilting. I would really love to learn how to machine quilt, but despite having a decent sewing machine with all the necessary accoutrements, I cannot get the hang of it.

Finally, I give you reason #1 I don't buy flowers very often:

If it's not obvious, he's eating the iris leaves. Stinker. (I know, many plants are toxic to cats, but I've been keeping an eye on him and he seems just fine.) The flowers are now high on a bathroom shelf, and the cat is sitting on the floor contemplating how to jump straight up 5 feet. Luckily it's a narrow bathroom and he can't back up quiiiite enough to make it. Believe me, he's tried.

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