Wednesday, October 22, 2014

It's All Over But the Binding

I've just returned home from bringing my latest quilt to my friend Joyce, a long arm quilter, and even thought it's only 3:00 in the afternoon, I'm seriously considering pouring a glass of champagne.  Don't worry, I haven't taken to drinking in the afternoon, although living with three teenagers, there have been times when I've definitely considered it.

Today I'd love to have a glass of champagne to celebrate FINALLY finishing the most frustrating quilt top I've made in a long, long time.  It's not that the design was difficult -- in fact it was very straightforward.  It wasn't the fabrics I used -- they were beautiful Moda cottons.  And it wasn't my sewing machine which, despite not having been cleaned in more years that I care to admit, seems to be in perfect working order.

No, the problem, sadly, was me.

For two weeks I've been locked in battle with this quilt top.  I cut two borders the wrong width and then ended up having to piece them because I didn't have enough fabric left to re-cut them.  I cut two borders the wrong length and sewed them on before I realized that I'd made them too long and the border was going to end up looking like a lettuce leaf.  I had to rip out and redo about a mile of stitching when sashing strips caused my rows of horizontal blocks to not line up.  I thought I was finished and started to press the quilt only to discover that it had a wonky corner that took another hour to fix, probably because I had neglected to press after sewing on the inner borders.  And after all the time the quilt spent on the floor for repinning borders and after all of the seam ripping, it took a couple of hours to lint roll the quilt and to remove, using tweezers, the little bits of thread from between the seams.

Every time I worked on this quilt, it was like throwing gas on a fire and I have to be honest, I was beginning to despair.  I don't know if was distracted by soccer games and hockey practices and PSATs and the fact that my oldest now has her driver's license.  Could it be that I was just out of practice after essentially taking the summer off from quilting?  Or maybe it's the onset of premature menopause.  Whatever the reason, all I can say is that I'm THRILLED that it's finally finished!

Now that it's in Joyce's capable hands, I can breathe a sigh of relief.  I guess the enlightened thing to do would be to examine what I've learned, or should I say "re-learned," from this experience.  Hmmm...  "measure twice, cut once" comes to mind.  For that matter, "think twice, do once" seems like a pretty good idea.  "Press after adding each border" and "don't cut corners" should have been fairly obvious to me, had I been in a normal state of mind.

But I think the biggest lesson is "never, ever give up."  As excruciating and self-doubt inducing as this experience was, I think the quilt will be beautiful when it's finished.  I mean, after all, how badly could I screw up the binding...

"Grunge" by BasicGrey for Moda -- the gorgeous fabric I used in my quilt.
Look for it in Quilters Newsletter's Best Quilts for Kids 2015 in April.