When I pinned all of the patches around the quilt ready to sew as the border, I found I had a gaping hole. This was intensely annoying as I had counted and recounted and then counted again all of the patches as I was making them. I KNEW I hadn’t made a mistake. But, as quilting is basically all about counting and ironing, and I am not much good at either, I accepted that I would have to cobble together a replacement patch from my poorly cut leftovers. Then this fell out of the thing while I was sewing the border on.
Perhaps I should use it in my next quilt. Or even build another quilt around it. Maybe I should leave a patch from every quilt I make in future to carry on to the next one, sort of like a quilt version of a chain letter.
Anyway, enough of this procrastinating. I have decisions to make:
1. What shall I use as the batting for the quilt – big, fluffy polyester or thin, dense, warm (expensive) cotton?
2. Am I going to quilt it by hand or by machine? There’s no way polyester would fit under the arm of the machine, and I’m not convinced that even cotton will be easy enough to move around. I need to have a practice at quilting something a bit smaller before I let myself loose on this quilt as I have never done anything like this before and I’m not sure how tricky it’s going to be to sew straight or loopy free-hand lines on something so big. I don’t even have the right feet for my machine yet, although I do have an excellent, Textiles-teaching friend who can source them for me and hopefully show me what to do with them. I like the look of hand-quilting and I am ready with a huge embroidery hoop, but I don’t want it take months.
3. Depending on my choice of quilting style, I will need to baste the batting and the quilt back to the quilt top with safety pins or a needle and thread. Both methods are likely to take hours and I have nowhere at home to lay the quilt out for long as it’s a small place with a small boy running around it.
4. What fabric am I going to use for the back and the border? I can’t decide whether I want to emphasise the bright reds of the quilt or give it a really dark border. I think I need to take the quilt top with me to a fabric shop (and a couple of friends) to hold it up against different options.
These are my conundrums. I enjoy having them. I’ll let them fester for a while. But now I’m going to take a day off quilting and watch Andy Murray play his big match. Bet he doesn’t give a monkeys about quilting.
I wish I had a solution to allowing my creation to fall on the floor while I’m sewing another line to it. Draping it over a chair doesn’t work, but if it’s on the floor, the weight of it pulls it down and drags my sewing line (at least that’s my excuse if it turns out that any of my lines are not dead straight).
The quilt is growing so quickly now; just two more lines and I’ll be on to the border. I have really put the hours in this week. I’ve watched no Swedish crime drama; read none of my Saul Bellow book; watched absolutely no tennis and have even, in writing this list of what I’ve forsaken for quilting, forgotten what I used to do to wind down in the evenings.
I made a galling mistake a couple of nights ago. I was so annoyed about it that I couldn’t post it on here. I have now relaxed about it, realising that the overall quilt design will swallow it up, and can even bring myself to display the horror:
Stupidly, I put together one of the lines of eleven blocks in two halves. I left half for the next day, believing that my elaborate system of pinning would work to remind me which way round to sew the blocks. But, no. What actually happened was that they were all wrong, and this is the result: One large diamond with two of the same pieces of fabric; one large diamond of medium colour value with a triangle of a dark value; and (I know the poor quality of the photo makes it difficult to see, but) too many areas for my liking where small squares of the same fabric are next to each other.
Now, I know all of that makes my desire for order and my necessity to control the minutiae of my world sound just a little unhealthy, but… No, there is no but.
Anyway, I decided not to unpick eighty-eight inches of stitching and to move on. That’s got to be healthy.
Quilting really is therapy.