There has been a lot written about how long it takes to make a quilt top, but I wonder has anyone ever investigated the time it takes to get through the actual quilting stage? A friend recently asked me to “finish" a quilt for her. I got roped into this situation because she had a vintage sewing machine that she was looking to re-home. I wanted it for my “collection” (that is a subject of a blog post for some other day...) so I innocently asked, “How much to you want for it?”. I was unprepared for her reply. She said she wanted me to finish a quilt she had started over twenty years ago. I could not believe she had a quilt lying around for over twenty years that she somehow could not get around to quilting... until I remembered my log cabin Christmas quilt top with the light mint holly leaves and cranberry poinsettias. Figuring I was in no position to judge, I agreed. This was a mistake.
I picked up the sewing machine along with a big bundle of quilt parts in multiple bags. The quilt top was hopelessly wrinkled and creased from decades of storage. Moreover, she had included the highest loft batting I’d ever seen. Firefighters could use this stuff to jump off buildings. Her original intention was to make a tied quilt. She had done a beautiful job on the quilt top and after what seemed like hours of pressing, I could not imagine finishing it as a tied quilt. I felt like it just wouldn’t do the quilt justice and it seemed like an a front to all the work she and I had already put in, not to mention what I still had to do. This decision certainly had nothing to do with the fact that there is not a flat surface in my house big enough to lay out a queen-sized quilt sandwich.
I did the only logical thing: I took it to the long arm at the local quilt shop. I paid for the quilting myself, it was more than worth the money to avoid wrestling with all that super fluffy batting. I replaced it with some low loft Warm & Natural that I purchased at the quilt shop. I just couldn’t risk the quilt coming out as looking mediocre and, gasp, “homemade”. I’ll save the fluffy stuff for insulating my air conditioning ducts. After waiting a fair amount of time (those long armers are busy!), I took her home and bound her myself. I find binding to be the fun part, the bellwether of being almost done! I have to say, she looks spectacular. I’m so inspired at this point that I may even finish that log cabin in time for this year’s Christmas!
Please join us here every other Wednesday for another fun, fiber-filled installment of By the Yard. You can read more By the Yard® comics at www.bytheyardcomics.com and check out the 5th annual By the Yard® Calendar for Quilters at www.bytheyardcomics.com