Tuesday, March 12, 2013

A (Very) Late Wedding Present - The Quilt That Almost Wasn't!

So, I've finally gifted the quilt that I finally buckled down and finished thanks to my lovely ladies who are a part of the LiveJournal Birthday Blocks Swap. So, I can finally show pictures! Now, I can also tell the story of the quilt that almost wasn't. It's kind of like I Don't Like My Child.

Jeff and I go back to 1998, when I was in college at Geneseo and he was graduating from high school. Over the course of our friendship we have had tons of fun and many heart-to-heart chats. Over the years he's become a very dear friend of mine and someone I trust implicitly in my own life. He's just a stand-up guy (and an Eagle Scout to boot!). When he and Kim became engaged and then asked me to be a part of their wedding party, I was touched beyond words. (I don't think to this day they know how honored I feel to have been able to be a part of that day.)

After the engagement, and before the wedding, I made them the offer: I'll make you something for your wedding present. An afghan, a scrapbook page mounted on canvas that you can have to wall mount, a quilt, etc. I had picked out a handful of quilt patterns that I felt comfortable executing - they selected the traditional bear paw block. I asked for color, they picked cream and navy. I could work with that.

Problem One: Or so I thought. I eagerly got the fabric home and began. Over the course of the next year, I got half the blocks done. Then I hit a major roadblock. It was boring me to tears - no, not to tears, to nervous breakdown. Yeah, I know, sounds crazy, but I know my fellow crafters will back me up on this. You start to dread a project. Early on, I had no clue why - I love the two of them - I owe Jeff a lot - it's an easy pattern - I like blue and cream. What the hell is wrong with me?

A year in, I moved to the farmhouse in the country. It gets packed and stays packed. It gets unpacked and left on the floor. The fabric is wrinkled and the sight of all that cream and blue reduce me to tears. I look at it for another year. Until I can't take it anymore - this project has become my albatross. I add it to my 12 for 2012 list and resolve right there that I need help. So, I make a 16" Bear Paw block be my birthday block for the Birthday Block swap. I specify dark blue paws on a cream background. At this point, I have no clue what this will do for me - at the least, I'm hoping for inspiration.

First Half

The blocks start coming in. I love them! I start playing with them and wait for the rest.

When the rest arrive, I start playing with arrangement and realize that I have a new problem.

Problem Two - how do I make this one unified quilt with all our different cream backgrounds? Sorting through my stash, I start grabbing neutrals until I come up with something I like.

Blue Paws

Of course, I can't get too much further before I realize that I have a new problem.

Problem Three: How to get a square quilt to be Queen-sized? I have some ideas, for sure. I could continue the on point theme, do a navy blue border around it and put four triangles on the corners to lengthen it out. I could just border it with cream, or blue and have long borders. Or ... piano keys! (Well, at least *my interpretation* of a piano key border.) But - before I start cutting - I take it to my lovely LFS - Patricia's Fabric House to get some feedback (and buy some backing - AND learn to buy binding and backing at the same time if you want it to be the same fabric!).

2012 Top Complete

Piano keys it is on the top and bottom, and fabric on the sides to bring it to Queen. Make a sandwich and off to the quilter in the fall, back before the Holidays. Binding on and labeled in January.

Jeff & Kim Quilt - Finish

Finally gifted and warmly received.

2012 Back Detail
Don't you love those loopy hearts? I do. I think they are perfect for a wedding quilt.

And one more shot of those loopy hearts because I love them so!

2012 Bear's Paw Detail

I don't want you to get the wrong impression - I Love this Quilt! I really do. But I didn't at the beginning, and I learned yet another lesson. I will never be an artist of any sort for commission unless I get complete carte blanche! I know Jeff & Kim love it - but part of me feels insanely guilty that it doesn't look exactly like the book. I just think it's a perfect interpretation of me - perfect in all of its imperfectness. :)


  1. It's really beautiful! I was so scared of how the blues/creams would work together - what if my blues were too bright, my cream too yellow, blah blah blah - but it really gels.

    I definitely know what you mean about projects that get boring or turn into seemingly insurmountable tasks. And then the more you want to get it done, the harder it is to work on.

    Anyway, done now, and that's a great thing! (And I'm sure they love it.)

  2. Ugh, I hear you. Come to think of it all of my longest standing UFOs are projects where someone else picked the pattern/fabrics...hmmmm....

    Congrats on the finish though, that is a GORGEOUS quilt and I love how you managed to work with all the different creams! : )