Monday, December 24, 2007

How to Make an American Quilt?

Well, you have your mom finish it, that's how.

Several months ago, I got the genius idea to replicate a quilt for my parents that my aunt had made for my grandparents. Forgetting that my aunt had been sewing (professionally) for several years. I had my sisters all trace their hands, and the hands of their children, leaving a space for as yet un-born/un-conceived grandchildren, as I had always thought it a little sad that I was the end of the line on my grandparent's version, although several were born after me.

I faithfully cut out the hands from brightly colored fat quarters, bonded them onto muslin and embroidered them on. I then used fabric dye pens to write the names and dates of birth of each person on the squares, as well as writing the poem on the large square in the center. I printed all text from the computer, giving the script that extra professional flair.

I felt such a sense of accomplishment. I was going to get this puppy done and in the mail in time to have them open in on Christmas day. I had envisioned a tear trickling down the face of my dad as he saw that this was a replica of the quilt given to my grandparents just before my grandfather passed away.

I should have known better....

Big J took H Christmas shopping so that they'd be out of my hair while I completed the quilt top, and I could use what little space we had to sit on the floor controlling the foot pedal for the sewing machine with one hand and guiding the fabric/taking out pins with the other. A ha! Done! I then attempted to lay it out (as evidenced above) and realized that there was not a single space in our apartment that would accomodate a queen-sized quilt. Sweet...how was I going to get the layers together?

Not only that, but I unrolled the batting (Quilter's Dream, of course...which should have been a hint...in my dreams I'd get this done correctly) to find that it was much larger than the dimensions of a queen quilt...for errors maybe? All I know is, it was NOT helpful!

I then got the genius idea to layer them on my own bed...it's a queen right? After several attempts, that did not work either.

I then called my friend, whose much more experienced with quilting and got several tips from her.

I sewed the quilt top and backing together as if to make a duvet cover. It was genius! It worked perfectly. Now, all I had to do was get the batting inside...yeah, all I had to do.

Suffice it to say, it was a disaster which resulted in me giving up at 1 am (I had started at about 6pm), calling my mom, and explaining that I'd made her and dad a quilt for Christmas (not telling her what it was), but it looked like poop and wasn't getting any better. Before I ruined it, I told her I wanted to just send it to her as is to see if she could fix it, because I just did not have the space to line up all the layers, and that wasn't going to change.

She was very nice about it, but my vision of them opening their beautiful quilt was quickly replaced with the reality of them opening up a balled up blob. Merry Christmas! A quilt that you have to quilt yourself! Cool, I guess my favorite daughter status is shot to hell for this Christmas...I'm sure the other sister's didn't provide labor-required gifts.

To make it even better, I went to Target in order to get a plastic gift bag to put it in, because the last thing I needed was for it to be a soggy balled up blob. I made my purchase and headed to the car to put the quilt in, as we were headed straight for the post office. I started unfolding the bag and realized it was the size of bag in which people place BIKES...awesome, now it was a huge platic bag with the quilt in the bottom, rolled up and shoved in the box. Merry F'ing Christmas!

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