Saturday, January 12, 2008


Last week, Randy printed photos of all the quilts we've done in the past two years. His first project was a queen-sized Starburst pattern in late 2005; mine was a Trip Around the World wall quilt that I insanely pieced together block-by-block (instead of taking the shortcut of strip piecing it)--if I hadn't kept all the tiny pieces in correct order on the flannel wall, I'd have given up on that one. Since then, we've made mainly wall quilts and minis, though each of us is currently working on a full-sized quilt.

This afternoon, I put all the photos into sheet protectors and typed up the information we had at hand on all the quilts--nineteen of them in just two years--so we can try to put together a decent portfolio of our work. It's a fun project, a perfect example of the kind of fussy tinkering work that I like to do, and a source of solid encouragement as we tackle new and larger quilts. (His is coming along very well. It's taken me two years to make mine by hand, and now I need to borrow a big conference table so I can baste the whole thing and get started on quilting it. There will be pictures, believe me. Someday.)

In between the large projects--the ones that take months or sometimes years--I like working on minis. I can sit after dinner and watch TV or a movie and get in an hour or more of quilting. These small quilts, usually less than 16 inches square, are portable, easy to pick up, easy to set aside and come back to later. I just finished quilting a whole cloth mini, my first, and need to make the binding so I can finish it. The pattern is called "Queen's Crown." The great thing about whole cloth quilts is that they're easy to quilt: it's just one layer of fabric, the batting, and the backing fabric that you're pushing the needle through, as opposed to three or sometimes four layers of fabric with pieced quilts. The down side, if any, is that they're just one color. This one is unbleached muslin, but I had to jazz it up, so I backed it with a brighter fabric, a nice solid golden orange. This really shows off the "back side" and underscores the other main appeal of whole cloth quilts: the back looks just as good as the front, so you essentially get two quilts in one. What's kept me from finishing this one is the dilemma of how to bind it. If I use the orange, the front side will look weird (muslin framed in orange); if I use the unbleached muslin, the back side will look awful (orange framed in muslin). The solution, of course, is to custom-make a two-color binding to match both sides. I think I can do this.

I'll post photos as soon as it's done.

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