Thursday, November 12, 2020

"It's Not Over 'Til the Fat Lady Binds"

 ...or sings. Or both—because when I finally bound this quilt, I sang!

This quilt was part of a mystery quilt that the guild I (Teri) belonged to was doing—about 15 or so years ago. There are many details about the project I don't remember, like who designed the pattern, but I can remember many things that I learned about myself doing this project.

First, I am not very good at mystery designing. I remember waiting a few months to get started so that I could see a bit of the design coming together before I chose my colors and fabrics. I had decided to do a scrappy quilt, using only fabrics from my stash. I succeeded in completing the quilt without buying any new material, but I learned something else about myself.

Primary block design
I enjoyed picking the reds and greens from my stash.

Second, I don't like random, scrappy sewing. I have to plan my random scrappiness. It took me so much longer to arrange the blocks because I didn't want the same fabrics to be adjacent, or even very close. I would put the blocks on the design wall and rearrange them repeatedly, and every time I thought I had gotten it, I'd see two identical reds, greens, or neutrals right next to each other. And when I moved one block, there would be a domino effect. Good thing I like puzzles. 

Secondary block design
I allowed myself a but more leniency with the neutrals. 

I remember that I had bought this paisley design in the border and the corresponding fabric that makes my star centers, so I wanted that to be the starting point of my color choices. The trick was to pull together the blue and yellow greens, as well as the orangey and bluish reds. I chose a few fabrics with both colors to help, and the overall effect seems to work. 

So third, I love color!

I made this quilt when I was a piecer, long before I was pulled to the fabulous world of slow stitching. This quilt was filled with points! I am not sure I'd have the patience for all that precision work today. I might have to hand-piece it!

I finished the top and sent it off to a long-arm quilter. Helping her design how to quilt it was fun. Then I got it back and put it on my to-do list. I even had the binding chosen and cut out. All I had to do was trim the quilt edges, sew on the binding, and stitch it down. But it moved from my sewing room in the basement to my new room upstairs, and finally, to my new home. How absurd is that? 

Fourth, I guess binding is not my favorite part of the process. And maybe I am a great procrastinator?

But at long last, I can sing. I have bound the quilt, and miraculously, I even still like it! 
I do love the scrappy look of this quilt, even if I know it was "plandom" and not random. Every time I look at this quilt, I see another design jumping out at me as these blocks interact. Hooray for a fun finish!

I have yet to determine where this now finished quilt will live. It does look happy on my couch, just waiting for an afternoon nap on a gray day. Maybe today.

The moral to this story: Don't wait 15 years to bind your almost-finished quilts. Just think of all the love this quilt could have given over the past decade and a half!

I'm sure you can imagine what my husband said when he walked in the room to see me perched on my tip-toes on a bar stool to take a picture of the quilt. I'm certain it was nicer than what he was thinking!

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