Tuesday, February 21, 2012

My Second Completed Quilt

Note: The word 'completed' is the key. I have made a trip-around-the-world quilt that is currently basted and waiting to be quilted. It is the one (and most likely the only) quilt that is being hand quilted. The top to that quilt was completed before this one I am about to talk about.

Thimbleberries Book of Quilts by Lynette Jensen

In the year 1996 or 1997, I came across this book. The copyright is 1995 and it is published by Rodale Books. I was surprised I still have this book. But then, I have a tendency to hoard books. So, this should not have surprised me at all.
I think this pattern along with a Tabletop Tree Skirt pattern is the only reason why I bought the book. I knew I wanted to make my Dad this Birdhouse Row quilt because he loved birds. I also thought it would be easy to make.

Anyway, I set out to collect all kinds of bird fabrics. I also hunted for just the right fabrics to use in the quilt top. I even purchased fabric that would be humorous and make him smile. I actually started making the center of the quilt either late spring or early summer of 1997. And, I started before I even found the border fabrics. I am that type of person, the fabrics have to be just right and sometimes meaningful.
Here is the top all in it's glory. By the way, the picture isn't all the great due to both the lighting and the fact it was breezy.

Dad loved this quilt and cherished it. When the quilt returned to me after he passed away, it was soft. So, I knew he used it some even though he had it folded and put up most of the time.
Here is some fabric which I considered humorous. It was the perfect shade of red; but, it had chickens! Chickens do not use birdhouses! Bwahaha! haha. ha? Ahem. This fabric was used in the top right, center and bottom left birdhouses in the quilt top.

By the way, when I made the birdhouse blocks, I did not realize that they were bigger than the pattern indicated until I set out to trim them. I learned my lesson from this experience. Always measure the first block to make sure it is the right size. Anyway, the birdhouse blocks were all the exact same size. So, I set out to use them. That is how I roll. The end result is the quilt was bigger than the finished size quilt in the book.

I remember hand sewing some of the circles on while camping at Garner. I had to do them while making sure Dad could not see what I was doing. I wanted to complete the quilt before Christmas.

I had completed the center part of the quilt before I even found the border fabric. It took some time before I found perfect fabrics to use. Once I saw them, I knew they were perfect.
I actually found the inner border fabric after I found the outer border. As you can see, the outer border has stars. Dad was very patriotic. It was the right shade of brown too. So, I knew it was perfect.

When I came across the inner border fabric, I knew it was just right. It was the perfect shade of blue not to mention that it looked like branches or twigs that could be used in a bird's nest.

I immediately set about piecing the borders on. When I started piecing the borders, I realized that I didn't have enough for the binding. This was another lesson learned. I now always buy much more than patterns indicate just to be safe. Some time had passed since I made the purchase. This was back in the days when shops were just getting started online. I hunted and hunted for this same outer border fabric. I finally found some at a quilt shop online. I had them put yardages on hold for me, immediately set out to the shop which was quite a drive and was so happy to see the fabric! It was such a relief!
The backing was so much easier to make! I did some figuring and calculated what size squares I would need to make the backing. As you can see, I was a little off in my calculations. But, it only the backing. So, it didn't matter to me that much.

By the way, I fussy cut some squares.

There is that humor again with the chickens. But hey, it had a 'goose' too.

Dad loved ducks too

When I set out to quilt this quilt, I had broken my left wrist again. The doctor did not take X-rays because he didn't think it was broken. It hurt so bad though. I tried to tough it out for a couple weeks and ended up going back. He took x-rays. Lo and behold, it was indeed broken. But, the doctor said there was nothing they can do. Say what? I said I will see about that as I did not want to live with that kind of pain. FYI: I am a lefty and use this hand so much!

I ended up going to an orthopedic doctor that my mother had. I took the x-rays with me. He had MRIs done and it was discovered there was extensive ligament and tendon damage which was the cause of my extraordinary pain. He also speculated that since I had broken this same wrist as a child that the bone never really healed. Instead, the bone chip was manipulated to where it rested upon the main bone but never bonded together. So, when I injured the wrist again, the bone chip just pulled away from the main bone along with the ligaments and tendons. The doctor wanted me to do therapy first before attempting surgery as adding more scar tissue is not a good thing. It turned out that therapy worked. I now have a bone chip 'floating' around in my wrist and as long as I keep the muscles strong, it does not give me any trouble.

But, in the meantime, I was in pain and could not machine quilt this quilt. It was getting so close to Christmas and I was determined to get it done. I ended up enlisting Dan's help by holding and moving the quilt while I machine quilted it in the ditch. It wasn't perfect. But, we got it done! I managed to get the binding sewn on just in time for Christmas of 1997!

An awful picture of me sewing the binding onto the quilt with Chessie who was still a kitten

I did not get any pictures of Dad with the quilt on Christmas day. But, I made him bring out the quilt about three months later and I took pictures of him with it for documentation sake. Everyone was BIG on documenting quilts with labels and pictures way back then.
{The date on these pictures was March 14, 1998}

I hope you all enjoyed this trip down memory lane. I was going to keep it short; but, it turned into a long epic story.