Throw Momma Off the Sofa
November 26, 2007
When I started my version of Denyse Schmidt’s What a Bunch of Squares quilt back in the summer of 2006, I had the modest goal of finishing it by the summer of 2007, so I could put in on the air bed in the new guest room and people who slept there would be going, “DUDE! Did you see that there is a handmade quilt with MATCHING KNITTED TWIN QUILT on the airbed in the guest room?” (I know, that was a lame fantasy, even for me. Trying to be honest here. Sorry.)
As one who has slept on the airbed in 2007, you already know that I did not meet the goal. Overnight guests for 2007 were downgraded to catalog quilts. It was not my fault. Once I had pieced the immense thing, I really had not a clue how to finish it. I needed to learn so much, from making the quilt sandwich, to smoothing it out with 20,000 smoothing movements on hands and knees, to deciding whether to pin-baste or regular-baste, to figuring out how to quilt something so enormous by hand or machine or perhaps with the assistance of fairies. FInally, I learned something really useful: you can send it out, like a jumbo bale of dry cleaning, and if you send it out to the right person, it comes back beautifully machine-quilted (in an overall “square snail” motif), trimmed and ready to sew on the binding.
Once Thanksgiving was over, I basically spent 3 days on the sofa, sewing the binding to the back of the quilt by hand, in hundreds of teeny blind stitches. It seemed like a good idea at the time.
Quilter’s Tip: Personal grooming wastes time. You could be stitching!
Quilter’s Tip: No need to change your t-shirt, as this newby quilter did on Day 3; you are not leaving the house until it’s done.
Once I had machine stitched the binding on (day 1), it really only took me about 12 hours, spread over 2 days, to sew it down. It was satisfying work, to do something so neatly and methodically. So 18th century.
On Sunday, I was racing against the setting sun, so that I could run outside in my “lounge pants” (read: PAJAMAS) and take pictures.
Ma Ingalls would be proud of me. It is a binding for the ages.
Finally the quilted and knitted versions are united.
(Details: The knitted blanket is blogged about encyclopedically here. The quilt is a template-free adaptation of Denyse Schmidt’s What a Bunch of Squares design in this book. The main fabrics are prints that Heather Ross designed for Munki Munki, in particular Pool Party, Farmer’s Market, one depicting kids and fish swimming in the ocean, and a later Heather Ross print for Free Spirit depicting fireflies. I loved Pool Party so much that I bought 5 yards of it before I even owned a sewing machine. When I ran out of plain white fabric, I cut up a sheet. Good times!)
Over the holiday weekend, the squares poured in. The building’s mailroom has upgraded me to “gets her own bin” status. I’m still cataloguing them–pictures soon! Thanks to everyone who has knitted and mailed them. I will start laying them out for real this coming weekend. My sofa-sitting skills are strong for the sew-up. Plant me on upholstery, and I shall not be moved.