Monday, October 4, 2010

Design Wall Monday 10/4/10

Subtitle:  Never Say Never!

I started quilting eight years ago because I learned that quilting did not necessarily mean handwork -- you could make a quilt, pieced or appliqued, start to finish, by machine.  That intrigued me because I come from a clothing sewing background and I tell you, the day I learned that you could hem skirts and pants by machine was the greatest day of my sewing life!  I hated hand work that much.

However, lately I have been on a handwork jag!  My current projects are this:

and this:

and this: 

How did I get from there to here?  It's not to say that I didn't admire people who quilt or applique by hand -- their work is beautiful -- I just never thought I'd get anything done if I did it that way.  But over time, I found blogs and got to regularly follow the work of impresarios like Janet of Quiltsalott and Cathy of Cabbage Quilts, Lori of Humble Quilts and Kathie at Inspired By Antique Quilts, Karen hand piecing and appliqueing many of her Dear Jane blocks at A Quilters Journey Back In Time and lately I've been following the exploits of Ann Champion on her blog and others at Glorious Applique as they work on the latest Kim McLean Roseville Album masterwork (and I've always admired her work too!).

And I got to thinking that maybe, just maybe I could do it too!  One of my first quilts was a doll quilt for an aunt of mine that collects dolls.  It had machine appliqued hearts on it and was machine quilted with the exception of the border that I had to quilt by hand because I couldn't do what I wanted at the time on the machine (as Jeff Foxworthy says, there's your sign!!!!).  I've always wanted to make my aunt another one and two years ago thought a doll quilt might be the way to try some hand work on a small scale.  Those of you that visited my blog in the early days might remember my first header picture:

The doll quilt is on the hoop
...and until this summer that project has sat because after the center piecing was done there was supposed to be hand applique motifs in the borders and then hand quilting for the finishing.  But after I tried a little of the hand applique and wasn't happy with it, I moved back to machine work.  Fast forward to this year and getting a lot of projects done for Jacqui's Spring Finish, I wanted to keep that momentum and tackle some overdue UFOS.  Then I saw that Quilt University (from which I have taken a class before and always wanted to take another) was offering a Hand Applique class taught by Nancy Chong and it was starting just before I was due to go down south for a week.  Perfect I thought, I can take the class assignment with me and work on it during the drive down.

NOT!!  I did not have time before I left to download the class notes and when we came back I was busy with family stuff and couldn't quickly decide on fabrics to use for the class project.  Then I bought a new sewing machine and of course I focused on trying it out.  So I just printed out all the class notes, followed the class discussion and vowed to get back to it once things slowed down.  That happened in September when my sons went back to school  and after the class had closed.  But then right behind it, they offered a Hand Quilting class also taught by Nancy.  Since I also needed that skill for the doll quilt project, I immediately (impulsively?!) decided to sign up for it too, figuring that I could work on the Applique class projects while doing the prep work for the Hand Quilting class project and maybe, just maybe when the smoke cleared and all the class projects were finished, I could start back on the doll quilt project that inspired it all and maybe get that long over due gift off to its intended recipient before year's end.

So far, so good.  As you saw in the first pictures, the first applique class project, the wreath block, is done (including some embroidery finishing -- another craft I have not done in over thirty years!), the Hawaiian applique block is basted and about a quarter done.  The smaller green one (which is also basted) is for a framed sampler UFO started six years ago and for which I always wanted a Hawaiian style block.  The Hand Quilting class project, a feathered wreath with grid quilting in the center and background, is about half done and I am making good progress on it.  I expect all of them to be done by the end of the week so that for the rest of the month I can work on the doll quilt and complete it.

Why the rush?  Well, I've still got one basted quilt from last year, a crumb quilt top awaiting borders, layering and quilting, the three tops I made this summer on the new machine and a Christmas tree skirt on deck for piecing, all of which I'd like to quilt up in November and put my new machine through its paces again. So wish me luck on all things hand and machine and in your quilting journey, never say never!


Angie in SoCal said...

Hi, Vivian - here's wishing you luck on all these projects. Your hand quilting and applique are awesome.

Chris said...

Your hand quilting is so lovely. I enjoy hand quilting too.

Vicki H. said...

I love to hand quilt and I still do when my fingers will let me. I think that is my favorite part of the process. But there is always room for more skills and crafts. Enjoy you new sewing machine!

Quilter Kathy said...

Love that photo of the hand quilting heart!

Ivory Spring said...

I am glad you liked my Daffodils Quilt. :)

Oh my, your handwork is to die for....

Cherie in St Louis said...

For someone who hated handwork, yours is beautiful!

Ivory Spring said...

Your projects are beautiful!