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Monday, December 16, 2013

The Christmas Quilt Story

My Christmas quilt has been a long time in the making.  You have seen various photos of the quilt over the last few months, and heard of my frustrations with machine quilting.  I always like to stitch in the ditch between each block, and had already done straight line stitching through each star, so it was already half quilted.  But then I got a bit too clever and used a lovely red and green variegated thread for the meandering quilting, While the colours in this thread looked lovely, they showed up every little imperfection, skipped stitch, and wobble on the cream background fabric.  So I ripped all the stitches out, and re-quilted using cream thread.  Much better – my quilting hadn’t really improved, but all those little mistakes didn’t jump out and poke me in the eye.

With just the borders to quilt, you would think I would have learnt my lesson.  But no, I wanted to quilt around those lovely poinsettias in the border fabric.  But then I found I hadn’t pinned the borders enough and the top fabric wasn’t lying flat by the time I got to the end of the border.  Oh no, another job with my quick-unpick outside on the picnic table.  With the borders finally unpicked of my pathetic attempts of free motion quilting, I gave them all a good press, safety pinned the life out of them, and stitched rows of simple wavy lines.  I still had to be very careful in some places where the fabric seemed to have stretched and taken on a life of its own.  But at last it was completed, and I subscribe to the “Finished is better than Perfect” view!  It may not be prize winning perfect, but it is good enough for me.

PC120058 Finished at last

This quilt started life as a “Block of the Month” presented by the committee members of my former quilt club, Pinestream Quilters, quite some time ago.  I seem to recall that I was on the committee way back then, so one of the star blocks (can’t remember which one) was my choice.  With several quilting pen-friends from overseas, I decided to make my blocks up in the various Christmas fabrics they had sent me over the years.  It was assembled on point, and the alternate blocks came  Traditional Quiltworks magazine, issue 46.

The quilt was all pinned out and I was working on the straight line machine quilting about seven years ago when I was diagnosed with cancer and underwent many long tiring weeks of radiation and chemo.  Needless to say, all quilting went on the back burner, as I grappled with getting through each day.  Although my outcome was good, and I finally returned to P&Q, this quilt held too many memories of this scary time and I couldn’t bear to touch it back then.  But I decided I would try to finish it up for this Christmas, and I’m so pleased it is now done.  It is over the back of the couch in the lounge looking very Christmassy indeed.

Still need to complete a label and stitch it on.  But what to call it?    Perhaps something like “Christmas Stars from Around the World”.  Any further ideas?


Nancy J said...

Jenny, this is such a special quilt, and does need a name that fits. Something with "world" in it sounds so good. Greetings, Jean.

Frances Leate said...

This is a lovely quilt Jenny and I most definitely believe in "a finished quilt is better than a perfect unfinished one". What about calling it "A Christmas Tale". Happy Christmas

Vireya said...

It is lovely! Congratulations on getting it finished.

nestki said...

This is one of the nicest Christmas quilts I've ever seen! I love the setting, the diamond sashing and the balance. Perhaps your sewing and unsewing efforts provided just the right amount of time you needed to process your memories of a difficult time. How satisfying to have finished it. I like your title, too.

Jenny said...

Thanks everyone for your kind comments, they are much appreciated.