Tuesday, March 8, 2011

If It Were Not For The Last Minute, Nothing Would Get Done

My, it has been a long time since I made an entry. Excuses: No Internet access at home. I did have dial-up, but after being unable to connect for 3 months due to server problems I cancelled it. I am awaiting high speed availability through our local community association, but there have been many delays in getting the system up and running. More excuses: I have been so busy since November, I think I need a vacation from my life. Work, personal committments, professional upgrading and basic home maintenance seem to fill all my days. Also, my other half had to have surgery in January and was off work recuperating for seven weeks. Somehow, I did not get any sewing done with my husband hanging around full time. I have hardly had any time to work on any UFO's or anything else for that matter.

However, with the upcoming Timberlane Quilt Show, a deadline is looming. And you know how I rise to the challenge when there is a deadline involved. For the past two weeks it has been all about my Gillies Bay Garden quilt. This is a UFO with a past. I first saw this quilt hanging in Rose Garden Quilts, and it was the reason I took up quilting about 10 years ago. They were teaching a class on the quilt, but I was unable to attend due to work schedule conflicts. I bought the book, and was gifted with the accompanying videos a couple years later. It is an Eleanor Burns pattern from the book "Grandmother's Garden Quilt.", and is based on a pattern from 1928's that was published as a serial in a newspaper. See the link to her pattern: http://www.eleanorburns.com/shoponline/books_display.asp?book=Grandmothers_Garden_Quilt&i=17900&pg=2

There are two options when doing this quilt: a machine appliqued flat version of the flower blocks or a dimensional applique done by hand. I opted to do the dimensional applique, which is a lot more work, but also a lot more fun. The techniques for the applique are perfectly brilliant. There are so many fun things about this quilt. Each flower basket, and there are 21 of them, contains different flowers with leaves and petals that stand out from the quilt. There are hand embroidery details on many of the blocks as well.

Canterbury Bells Block

Pansy Block

Fuschia Block

This quilt has had many stops and starts, due to me changing my mind about layout options, running out of background fabric, buying alternate block background fabric that I didn't like once I had cut it out, etc. The bulk of the flower blocks were sewed during my convalescence from gallbladder surgery three years ago. I originally bought a pansy print that I was going to use for sashing fabric between the blocks, but once they were done, I decided it looked too busy. So I decided to use layout option #2, which was to have alternate blocks of cream fabric in between the flower blocks. This was all very well and good, except the original cream background, bought 4 years earlier, was no longer around. So I went in search of something that would co-ordinate. This is not as easy as it might seem. There are way too many shades of cream or off white, and the one I first picked was a rarely found shade, it seems.  I purchased one fabric, did not like it once I cut it out, and am now using it for a pieced background on the quilt. I had a fat quarter of the perfect fabric in my stash, but did not know where or when I had acquired it. By some lucky happenstance, my good friend Angel found yardage one day at Fabricland. So now I could proceed with my quilt.

I decided that the lovely flower blocks needed Trapunto quilted alternate blocks to compliment them, and after watching the Reversible Quilts video by Sharon Pederson, decided on a Quilt-as-you-go method with tiny sashing between the blocks. Each alternate trapunto block took about and hour and a half to quilt. The flower blocks take about 45 min to an hour each to quilt with fine stippling. This fine quilting would have been very difficult to accomplish on a queen sized quilt fully assembled. I finished quilting the main body of the quilt this weekend and started joining them together with the 1/2 inch sashing. The only downside to this method is that you have to sew all the sashing on the back of the quilt down by hand on one edge. I forsee a week of nonstop hand sewing. I decided to use the original pansy fabric for the sashing on the back and the final quilt binding. The yardage I currently have on hand will hopefully be sufficient. I think this will be a close one. Oh, for another third of a metre.

Trapunto Block

Partially Assembled Quilt

The quilt is currently assembled in two halves, and now I have to tackle the borders. The original quilt pattern has a sawtooth border made up of a couple hundred 2 1/2 inch half-square triangles. I think I will do this. I only have 10 days to finish this quilt, but what the heck! I am always up for a challenge. Alas, I seem to have cut up some of the yardage for the half square triangles for sashing. I will have to scramble to cut the remaining squares out of the few scraps I have left. Wish me luck.

Scraps, border strips & bits

1 comment:

  1. So glad to see you back:)
    LOVE the quilt that you are doing...glorious flower baskets...a visual delight..wonderful things to delight the heart and eyes.
    hope everyone is well and recovered:)
    All the best
    R-A Neil