Or, A Not Very Good Quilt. A Finished Quilt - with a story!
I heart gingham, can you tell? All Gingham All The Time uses almost all the gingham from my stash, most of it vintage. I found everything I could, from pre-cut vintage squares and on, to make a bright and cheerful courthouse steps design.
It's the largest quilt top I have made to date, all hand pieced! The backing for this quilt is a vintage gingham table cloth that my husband used in an art piece in college. It had a minor stain (something to do with apples, I think), so I cut it apart and reassembled it with a strip of pieces from the front.
When I went to baste this quilt, I saw that the top was quite a bit larger than the back, my first idea was to make the folded binding fold from front to back. Instead of back to front, the way I usually do. But by that time I had found some more vintage gingham and was eager to add them to the quilt, as well! More Gingham!! (Don't count how many times I use the G Word in this post, please!) I added an outer boarder with the "new" pieces to the bottom. Now the bottom was bigger than the top.
I basted the quilt with some vintage poly batting that I had. It was a very large one and left some scraps. AGATT was hand quilted with white pearl cotton thread over quite a long period of time (more on that below). I went around the inside of each "box" of all the courthouse steps. Bc of the batting and the nature of the super soft vintage gingham, and weird fluffy texture of the vintage table cloth, this quilt is very puffy and fluffy. I didn't really try to keep it ultra smooth and tight when quilting as to add to this effect.
For the binding I used my fold over method and bc the backing was quite a bit bigger it made a extra large fold. I quilted and secured the binding with more pearl cotton, mimicking the top by going around each side in a "box" motif. It gave the quilt a heavy, soft, floppy edge all around.
And now, more to this story:
I started this quilt January of 2014. I worked diligently on it....until I hit a snag. I had made the top, was pleased with the bottom, decided to baste it with one of the vintage poly batting I had. All good so far. But when I started quilting it, I wasn't happy with the job I was doing. I'm sure all quilters run into this problem, and I'm sure they all see the two possible roads to fixing it. 1) Tear out the quilting and start again. 2) Put it out of sight and out of mind and try not to think about it (until you decide what to do). I ended up doing the latter, of course! I didn't want to rip out all the quilting I had already done. But I knew I wasn't doing my best work.
I know that I shouldn't be telling you all this.
I know that when one doesn't do their best, they should not alert people to that fact and take away from the enjoyment the viewer might get from the work. Perhaps the viewer didn't notice, or sees nothing wrong with the work... Perhaps they enjoy it and it's imperfections. By drawing attention to what the artist feels of as their short comings, the viewer enjoys it a little less or perhaps feels bad for liking it the way they do. I know we should not take away the viewer experience of the work.
But, on the other hand, It's often helpful for fellows in our craft to hear about mistakes we make, so they can learn and grow, as we have done.
So I put the quilt aside for a while. Once I had had some space, I took it back out. It still wasn't as nice as I would like it to be, but I wanted to continue with what I had. To me, the mistakes seemed huge, and maybe they would to other quilters, too. But I would rather move on and than go backwards. I tried to be better as I moved forward. I still made some mistakes and there are still techniques that I need to learn to hone my craft. I'm looking at this quilt as not a salable or giftable quilt (maybe a second, or really close relation, who will love my work no matter what...), but as a learning experience. Not to mention I like this quilt! It's all crazy colors and bright pattern!