Friday, April 22, 2011

Blast from my Quilting Past...

Thanks to Madame Samm for inviting me once again to guest post on Stash Manicure.  My name is Jane and my blog is Sew Create It. Today I’m going to air out my dirty laundry and share with you my oldest UFO (UnFinished Object).

Twelve years ago I started a quilt... but not just any quilt:  The Piecemaker’s 1999 Times and Seasons Quilt.  Some of you might remember it as the one with the lighthouses.  At the time I was living in Montreal and a few friends of mine were making their way through the 1998 calendar and I wanted to jump on board and try my hand at hand-appliqué.  The 1998 calendar was no longer available, so I opted for the 1999 calendar... this is the quilt I started:


Nothing like jumping in the deep end!  Most sensible people start their appliqué journey with a heart or a flower... but no, not I... I started with a quilt that measures 80” square!  I have no idea what I was thinking, but I suppose when you have your peers putting the pressure on you and telling you that they will help you along the way, one does make silly choices.


I suppose now, in hind sight, I wouldn’t say it was a silly choice, because what better way to learn a new skill but to practice, practice, practice.


The construction of this quilt was a challenge on many fronts.  For starters the quilt is made up in sections or blocks.  You can see the seam line along the left side in this picture.  It was important to get the hedge and the sky to meet perfectly to create a seamless effect. 


Some of the pieces were really small and it was sometimes easier to use a motif out of commercial fabric than to piece it.


I also used fabric creatively to give the illusion of texture.  You can see in this picture I have used a bamboo print to create cliffs.


When it was being pieced I had no idea that my life would bring me to the U.K.  So I’m ever so pleased I included references to Canada.


This could be Peggy’s Cove!


From the top square to the last there is a difference.  In the top corner I didn’t know about cutting away the back and reducing the bulk as I layered up the appliqué.  The stitches are bigger and the curves aren’t curvy at all!  But by the last blocks, which were completed in 2002, there is a marked improvement and I can honestly say I had tackled every appliqué shape possible!


So now there you have it...my oldest UFO.  I just need to get it basted and get it quilted...


But that’s just it, how does one finish a quilt that is all made by hand, yet has areas that are so thick with fabric there is no way it could be hand quilted?  Can you really machine quilt a quilt all done by hand?  Well... it’s taken me years to make that decision and I think 2011 might just be the year it gets finished.  I won’t tell you what I’ve decided... I want to know what you would do! :o)

45 comments:

  1. Honestly, I'd send it off to a quilter, set up a payment plan and let them figure it out :) .... Wonderful work and definitely an heirloom!! Thank you for sharing!

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  2. Jane:
    That's some pretty incredible detail! I tried needle-turn applique' last year. I made one block, which I made the center of a small quilt, pieced the beejeebers around it and then machine quilted it. One square. Finished. I'm in awe of your accomplishment!
    Happy Easter.
    xoxo
    Donna

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  3. My vote is for hand quilting. All that hand work deserves it. Believe me, I'm doing the same thing. I know I'll be so much happier in the long run.

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  4. So much work and detail. Just lovely. I would get the leather thimbles out and hand quilt. Thank you for sharing such a wonderful memory UFO.

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  5. There is nothing in the rules that says you have to hand quilt a hand pieced quilt. Depends how fast a result you want. You can simply cross hatch it by hand or machine. At least the job would be done. I shall look forward to seeing it finished. My oldest UFO dates from around 2002.

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  6. That is going to be adorable! Well, it already is! In 2003, I joined a BOM group to make the "Wee Village." It's Wee, but not as in small -- they are 15" blocks! I have more than half done already, what's the hurry? That almost a block per year!

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  7. Lovely quilt and lovely story....so there are areas that definitely cannot be handquilted..hummm

    Maybe handquilting the areas that CAN be handquilted, then either machine quilt the rest, or echo quilt some areas, or even try trapundo if possible..

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  8. Oh, I remember that pattern. The Piecemakers have put out some beautiful patterns for intricate quilts.

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  9. It's a beautiful quilt!! I also recently had a Friendship quilt completed that was blocks given to me in 1990!!! The important thing is to complete the quilt!! It can quilted either by hand or machine by meandering around the appliqued areas. That will make those areas pop when you look at the quilt. Good luck and please the complete quilt.

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  10. I a quilt with the same dilemma...made by hand but should I hand quilt???
    I think the answer is yes...where it is too thick, maybe just some ties to hold it together? and hand quilt wherever possible. It's a gorgeous quilt!

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  11. What an awesome quilt! That's a large quilt. Will you hang it or use it on a bed? Very lovely work. Congrats!

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  12. All I can say is, "What patience you must have!!" E-gads.....but it is certainly beautiful!! I say finish it quick so you can enjoy it. It'd be a shame to tuck it away again for so long.

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  13. Great job on that quilt! I know a lot of people who machine quilt their hand applique ... including the Piece O'Cake ladies. I've done both and feel no guilt whatsoever for the MQ'd ones! But if you enjoy hand quilting, I'd do that. You can always cut out the back of the thicker pieces.

    Piecemakers is my LQS, so it's always fun to see one of their quilts done by someone other than them!

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  14. Your quilt is amazing!! I started hand quilting many years ago and that is all I knew how to make a quilt. Now that I have learned the machine method I treasure my hand quilted quilts. I would finish the quilt by hand. Finish it how you started it :)

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  15. This is wonderful! I would machine quilt it. All my quilts are hand applique and machine quilting, so I don't bat an eye at it. You can also mix hand and machine quilting. Gone are the days of the "quilt police" telling you it can only be done ONE way! We now know there are multitudes of ways to do things in quilting and shame on anyone who tells you that only one method is the CORRECT one.

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  16. I don't do much of anything by hand. I don't have the patience. So I would machine quilt it. I love the quilt!!! So amazing, and the little Canadian flag is such a cute touch :)

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  17. It's beautiful, and will be a very special keepsake for you. It will bring you many memories of the good and the bad that goes along with every quilt project, and will probably make you laugh at some of the biggest nightmares as time goes by. Now I wonder where my oldest UFO is, I probably should consider my own words and finish it!

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  18. I love applique....if someone else does the prep. :) I can't imagine tackling such a top though. The detail is amazing. And honestly it's fun to have one that actually shows the progress you made in the learning curve. I'd send it off for quilting! blessings, marlene

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  19. I am in awe of your appplique. The whole quilt is wonderful. I would machine quilt it unless you just really like to hand quilt.

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  20. What beautiful work. those pieces are very tiny. It is true that you improve with practice but you really started with a huge project.

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  21. What an awesome quilt (LOVE lighthouses!) and what a huge undertaking for a first applique quilt! I admire you for trying and finishing it! I bet you are a master appliquer by now. :) I've looked and looked at it, and can't for the life of me figure out how I would quilt it. I do think I would machine quilt it, but that's just me. Like in the skies you could have swirlies like clouds...same thing in the water and then just different things on the differnt motifs that might go with them. I don't know. It would be a hard choice, for sure. Whatever you decide, I know it will look fantastic! Thank you for sharing with us!

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  22. Good Morning Jane...oh goodness me, what a large quilt and the detail heavens my, I am not sure I would even know where to begin...where will you put it...as far as quilting gosh I am with everyone else...I would have no idea how to quilt it...I think I would put it away ...lol

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  23. Awesome quilt you have created! The detail and fabrics are all just amazing! I think I would tell the quilt police to just look the other way, or as Alton Brown says on the Food Network, they should, "just back away, hands in the air, don't touch!" LOL Maybe you could hand quilt some of the areas and free motion on the machine in others? I still think it is gorgeous.
    Jacque in SC
    quiltnsrep(at)yahoo(dot)com

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  24. OH NO - are those sirens I hear? Machine quilting a hand-pieced top?? Must be a felony somewhere! LOL
    Put my vote with the others and send it to a longarmer - that way you can enjoy what a tremendous accomplishment instead of tucking it away.
    Very impressive and beautiful - I am jealous!

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  25. Normally I'm a big fan of hand quilting. But thinking about this. I think I would do a lot of research to find a good machine quilter. There are some very talented people out there who could add alot of texture with a machine.
    I suppose it depends on how soon you would also love to have it finsished?
    Anyway it was good to see someone who jumped in and loved the it. I really think your correct in saying it's good to just keep going on somethings.

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  26. I started a Piecemaker quilt in a class..and then the shop closed! You guessed it! NOT DONE! I don't even think it qualifies as a UFO. I have quilted some on hand applique, with success. You COULD hand quilt the thinner parts, and then have a long armer add details on the more layered sections. I can't wait to see what you decide!

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  27. Congratulations on your completion. How about Hawaiian echo style hand quilting in the background - OR - big stitch with Perle cotton thread so you can use a big needle that will push through the layers.

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  28. that's a incredible quilt. i've been looking for inspiration to make an art quilt,,, i think your quilt has done just that. i have many of the fabrics you have used, just need to dig in and pick a pattern. get that beauty finished and enjoy it. my jawed dropped, 80 inches!!!

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  29. It's beautiful!! I remember that pattern, wish I had purchased it! I just finished 2 completely hand appliqued Bunny Hill quilts, however I had them custom machine quilted. I absolutely love them!!!! I have also done a BH quilt done with buttonhole stitch and longarm quilted in an all over pattern - it too is beautiful and does not distract from it at all. Thanks for sharing your journey!!

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  30. Good on you for finishing it. I would machine quilt and hand quilt, that would take care of the parts that are too thick to hand quilt, yet you could still add some nice hand quilting details.

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  31. Wow! What a way to learn to applique. I need to learn the correct way. I have only used the fusible web and then sewn around the shape. I have a new project I have been collecting for and need to learn the turned way, not even sure of the correct title. Beautiful quilt top I think I would send it to a long arm quilter.

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  32. I have seen fabulous machine quilting and awful hand quilting, so I would be mostly concerned with the quality. What is the best quality I can afford? And, as others have said...there is no reason you can't do both. By the way, BEAUTIFUL quilt! You developed fabulous applique skills!

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  33. Heck, what's the difference between hand quilting a machine-pieced top and machine quilting a hand-pieced top?

    Quilt it in whatever way you enjoy best (myself, I'd send it out to a good machine quilter - that sucker is way too big for me to enjoy wrestling under my Bernina's short neck!:)

    Linda

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  34. It was great to see your quilt, I started the Piecmakers 1999(? I think). It is the trains but I only have a block and a half done so not sure it qualifies as a UFO. I love the fabric I bought for it and still have good intentions to complete someday. I would love to machine quilt when mine is done but have trouble picturing it so look forward to seeing what you decide. Congrats on the finish.

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  35. What a GREAT work and the result is gorgeous.

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  36. Hubby loves lighthousese and we have been to many of these places. Most recently to Peggys Cove.

    Ths is breathtaking.

    glen

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  37. What a beautiful quilt! I love lighthouses! :0)

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  38. Wowzer! This quilt is quite impressive. You did an amazing job! I love that you just jumped into applique with such a large undertaking! I can't wait to see this finished!

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  39. I just love this quilt. I say quilt the way you desire. I love hand quilting, but also love machine quilting. I tend to like to hand quilt, when I hand piece a quilt. But I have machine quilted hand pieced quilts with great results. You do what you want. I'm sure it will be gorgeous!!!

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  40. Love allthe detail in this quilt. Beautiful!

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  41. Lovely quilts! Just cannot take my eyes off it!

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  42. Beautiful quilt. I love hand quilting, but do not have the patience to do that. Machine quilting for me.

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  43. I am new here! What a great blog :)

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  44. How come I haven't seen this masterpiece before?! It's fabulous, and you must (machine) quilt it and get it out of your UFO pile! Good luck!

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  45. I'd machine quilt it.....carefully! :-)

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