Wednesday, December 16, 2009

First Quilt at Age 83

I have a delightful new customer who brought me her first quilt before Thanksgiving, and I delivered it to her this week. Her quilt has a story to tell, as do so many.

Gertrude used to help her mother hand-quilt her embroidered quilt tops, but had never made one of her own. She decided to make a quilt for her son, and one for her daughter-in-law. She was going to machine-quilt them, so she pieced them in long strips.

Life intervened, as it so often does. Gertrude's husband became very ill. She spent the next five years nursing him. He passed away in March of this year.

Gertrude decided she would go back to the projects she started many years before- so she would have something to leave behind. Her hands are now affected by arthritis, so it is not easy for her to do handwork. She has finished the first quilt, a lovely green and pink with a very nice oriental-looking floral fabric accent.

There are many different framed blocks making up this sampler quilt,

and lots of nice green "canvas" to fill with artistic freehand flowers and leaves.

This was a very ambitious project for a first quilt. Not only was it LARGE, but it was set on point. That gives many bias edges and opportunities for stretching and fullness. When I first loaded the quilt, the entire right hand side kind of just sagged, instead of stretching taut.

I moved my extra clamp with the perky little "fishy" to the right side,

and also decided to baste horizontally every ten to twelve inches along the length of the quilt as I went along. But Blogger is turning the picture so it looks vertical!

Even after all the basting, extra pinning, smoothing, and lots of curvy quilting to take up the fullness, there was a lot of "extra" by the time I got to the bottom edge.

So- more pinning, basting, and some tight, tight quilting with one hand

while smoothing with the other, and leaning on the "belly bar" for even more control....and the result was pretty flat, although not exactly even.

I think it is beautiful! Let's hear it for Gertrude's first quilt-at age 83!


Angie said...

Hear-Hear! Bravo to Gertrude! Wonderful quilt! Beautiful fabrics! and you added the most beautiful quilting to it all! These kinds of stories warm my heart, and spur me on to to my best. Thank you for sharing the story of the quilt with all the great pictures! Merry Christmas!

Vicki W said...

No kidding! Kudos to her! I hope she makes many more.

Christine Thresh said...

What a wonderful way to do a sampler quilt. The way Gertrude tied all those different blocks together with her colors and the beautiful floral settings is truly clever.
I've never been much for sampler quilts, but Gertrude's is an inspiration.
I loved seeing how you took such care with your quilting so the whole quilt came together.
Such a nice story. Good for both of you.

Unknown said...

good for her and the quilting is beautiful! I bet she was thrilled!