This post is the last bit of my Big Week Off, as well as a little catch-up from, um, Christmas. I finally finished a quilt that has been a WIP for about 20 years, then realized I’d never shown the finished quilt I made for my brother at Christmas.
I posted a WIP photo of this quilt back at Christmas time, but without my brother himself to hold it up for me, I was unable to get a photo of the full thing at the time. I won’t say much about it here – I already told anything there was to tell in the original post – except that I named it ‘For Liberty and Union’ after a line in a U.S. Civil War-era song, and he likes it very, very much. He tells me a lot, which is awfully nice.
The quilt I finished just recently was actually made by my father but finished by me. He received all the materials about 20 years ago, as a birthday gift. As far as I know, he started it right away, but then our whole family moved to the Netherlands. International moves being just a touch disruptive, he lost the thread (haha, no pun intended) on this project for a good while. Then he started up again and actually finished the top on an antique Singer machine from 1893 (more on that another time). After which the family, in bits and pieces, moved to the UK. For various reasons, Dad decided that hand-quilting it as he’d always wanted wasn’t really in the cards, so he asked me to machine quilt it.
Not that I really know what I’m doing! Before this, I’d free-motioned one small lap quilt and that was my whole experience with quilting. I did the straight lines last fall, before concentrating on the one above, and that was fine except for not basting well enough and having to pick out several full-length lines after realizing it was bunching up. Lesson learned.
But we’d decided on a feather motif for the border. I got Dad to lay it out and transfer the pattern; he’s good at stuff that has to be measured all properly and stuff. I was terrified to mess it up, but after a lot of practice on scrap fabric and then a few false starts, I just went for it and vowed not to fuss over every little not-perfect line. (Sorry, it’s not that easy to see, I did actually try to make the quilting lines as visible as I could in photo post-production.)
Which really is the way to go. Even with my tiny bit of experience, I can tell that it’s better to get a flow going than keep starting-and-stopping. But yeah, it really could be a millionty times better. From a distance, seen as a whole, it’s fine. But up close … well, let’s just say I did for one split second consider not showing it to you. But then I thought it might be nice for beginning quilters like myself to see someone else’s first attempts. It’s encouraging to see that your first tries are just like other people’s! I did feel like there was a significant difference between where I started and where I finished, so that’s something.
I named it and made a tag in secret with both of our initials and the details of the quilt’s long journey. I chose ‘Here Comes The Sun’ because it felt like just the right level of cheerful but not peppy – it’s hopeful and comforting. I always name things after music, and especially in this case, because Dad and I have the music geek thing in common. But since it will really belong to both of my parents, I didn’t want to pick something that excluded Mom. I know that ‘Here Comes The Sun’ is a special favorite of hers, so it seemed pretty much perfect all around.