Saturday, February 12, 2011

Fabric In Its Prime

I just finished the lap quilt to keep my legs and feet warm while I do hand stitching, read, or watch TV. It's 60 inches long by 40 1/2 inches wide. My plan, as it developed, was to finish the layering and quilting and machine stitch the binding on by last Sunday afternoon so I could hand stitch the binding on to the back during the Super Bowl. I did that, but it took till this morning to get all the hand stitching completed, due to numerous distractions along the way.

Because this is an item that will be washed frequently, I used polyester batting. For the quilting, smoke polyester mono-filament thread was used on the top and brown Gutermann polyester thread was used in the bobbin. I thought the quilt was busy enough with the variety of fabrics and blocks so I machine quilted in the ditch. I used a 75/11 quilting needle and a walking foot.

I wanted to limit my starts and stops in each block and the retracing of any stitching so I consulted the local topologist for the best way to plan the quilting. He referred me to Eulerian Paths and the Bridges of Konigsberg problem.

Aha! Or it would have been Aha!, except that I was distracted by two things. First, I realized we had had this discussion before. More than once. In fact, if I recall correctly, the Bridges of Konigsberg problem was used as a pick-up line some 40 years ago. (It worked.) Second, there was a loud Whooshing noise. The Whoosh was the sound of all that information going right over my head.

Now I know you're not hearing that Whooshing sound because you read and fully comprehended those Wikipedia references. But this is what I took away from the detailed explanation: Sometimes you can quilt all around all the pieces without stopping. Sometimes you can't. I can usually figure it out by eyeballing it. That's because it's Ayrt, not mathematics.

Because this little quilt will not be treated gently, I decided to use a French (double fold) bias binding. Being a book-larnin' kind of a person, I did a little research about how wide to cut my bias strips. What I found was a range of recommended widths. After auditioning the various widths, I went with the Sally Collins recommendation of 1 7/8 inches wide. This worked very well. (For your information, Fons and Porter recommend 2", 2 1/4", or 2 1/2" and Nancy Johnson-Srebro recommends 2".)

I named this quilt "Fabric in its Prime." Shortly after my mother died in 2002, my dad gave me some money for my birthday. I decided to spend it on something both my mother and I both enjoyed--fabric. Most of this fabric in the blocks came from a bundle of quarter yards I bought at that time. I think my dad was pleased to see that I spent it that way. The fabric brings me happy memories of both my parents.

This is the label. You can see the backing fabric in the photo. The dark brown sashing and border fabric is used as a frame for the label. I did have to purchase the backing and border/sashing fabric from our favorite, locally-owned fabric store.

If you want to see the individual blocks, scroll down to earlier posts.


Carol said...

It beautiful. And here I thought you could just whip together a quilt. I had no idea there was all this planning and research involved!
xx, Carol

Lynn said...

OH my gosh Marty! This turned out gorgeous!!!!! I love the fabric with the leaves against that deep turquoise. It reminds me of leaves floating along a stream.

Quilting is truly an art and you have mastered it! So beautiful and so special too after hearing about the 'history' of the fabric.