The quilt that makes grown men cry

Quite a few years ago, my mentor and I decided to make the same quilt pattern out of the same fabrics.  She had cut her stash into strips and had cut twice as much fabric as she needed.  So, I filled in the slack and bought a copy of the pattern and she sent fabrics and I added some of my own and I pieced and pieced and pieced and pieced and pieced and pieced.

And, pieced.

I got all the blocks assembled and we met to lay the quilts out, but she didn’t bring hers.  We laid mine out and carefully numbered all the blocks and I came home and started assembling. 

She put her sewing machine in the attic and took up gardening. 

For the longest time, I thought it was something I’d done. 

Anyway, the quilt’s been hanging there, mocking me; wagging it’s unfinished tongue at me.  So, last weekend, I pulled it out and gave it a try.  It was rough going.  This is a very difficult quilt to put together, especially in the borders.

Actually, it turns out, it’s not that hard to assemble, but the pattern writer doesn’t give any instructions.  NONE.  And, that’s where the crying came in.  Anyway, years ago, I struggled with it and this time, I struggled with it some more, but finally got the borders assembled and added to the quilt.


I added the first corner and realized I had a huge problem that I couldn’t live with.  In all four corners, I had a black against a black and the bell shaped curves were lost.  See how it looks like a straight line in the picture below?


I looked at it and studied it and finally decided that the best solution was to take ten of the bell shapes out, remake two of them, and put them back together again, alternating the light on the outside curve and the dark, but doing it so that there was a light on all eight ends, so that when I inserted the four corners, the dark corner would be against a light bell shape.


The pattern says to make an even number of dark and light bell shapes, but if you do that, at some corner, the bell curve will be lost, no matter which you choose for the corners. 

Saturday, I ripped and ripped and traced the shapes because there were no extra paper pieces of that.  Yesterday, I put the new bells together and got all 10 bells put back in the borders and am back to where I realized there was a problem, setting in the corners. 

Holy Criminny, that man. 


It was a lot of work, but it is going to make the quilt so much better.  There is no sense in doing this much work on a quilt top and then leaving a big ole nasty flaw in it. 

I’m even thinking about doing a tutorial about how to put the borders together, because once I figured it out, they just flew…but until then, they were an intense struggle.  Much muttered swearing would have been heard. 

Somehow, I think this may be in next year’s Austin quilt show. 

And, not forgetting my Linus commitment, I put the first of the Easy Street quilts together.  I am hopelessly far behind in my commitment to Linus and can only hope that I will get caught up by end of year.  From the blocks I made for Easy Street, I’m going to get three lap sized quilts.  I am pumped about getting to use these and they’ll be much more oriented to younger people than they were to me.  Somehow, my fabrics just never worked for me.


I also got the muslin put together for my coat, made several size adjustments, re-cut the muslin and got it together again.  Last night, I cut the coat from the good fabric.  I even bought a different lining that I liked better than the olive green denim and Syd has asked for a coat from the olive denim.  I’m thinking olive on the outside and a black/white plaid on the inside.  Tune in tomorrow for an update on that. 

Tonight is guild night.  I really look forward to guild night.  Tonight’s speaker is Eileen Urbanek.  She does lots of curved piecing.  Made me wish she’d been at my house when I was trying to put those bells back in over the weekend.

Be well.  Have a great Monday. 



Rebecca Grace said...

WOW, Lane -- that is absolutely spectacular! I would be afraid event to attempt it, and your version is just absolutely gorgeous. I go plodding along through the same quilt project for a year or longer, and somehow you just keep churning out one magnificent piece after another. So I'm curious -- how many projects do you typically have in progress at the same time? I notice that, as in this case, often you're coming back to something and finishing it after having set it aside for awhile. For me, if I have too many pots on the stove or too many projects going on in the sewing room, I start to panic and have to hide under my bed.

Rita said...

Wow! That's amazing!!

Kath said...

I am forever amazed by your energy and determination!

lw said...

I'm so glad you're working on this one again! I can so see that straight line, and understand your need to fix it. This quilt is so stunning, and the work you put into it will pay off.

Love the bright lap quilt for Linus, it's so cheerful.

If your muslin came out so well that Sydney's putting in an order, I can't wait to see the coat.

Becky said...

I HEAR THE ANGEL CHOIR!!!!! I can't wait to see the ribbon on that puppy when you enter it. Go, Lane,go! Go, Lane,go!!! I'm your biggest cheerleader on this one!!

Megan said...

I admire your commitment to doing a good job Lane. I'm afraid I would have stuffed that quilt top back in the cupboard and slammed the door on it.

Sydney, Australia

Elizabeth said...

I hope you enjoyed guild night!

I love that crazy quilt that made you unpick. And the Linus quilt is going to be great. I can see how the colors would not be for everyone, but I think the fabrics you picked are awesome.

xo -E

Piece by Piece said...

A couple of years ago members of our guild went to two workshops to learn how to make this quilt but it is so frustrating to put together. My top is not the complete quilt as you have shown, I lost interest in it, so now it will only be five "circles" square, no outside fans or bells. Incidentally, only three members have completed the entire project.
Yours is beautiful, just as our members quilts are, glad you stuck with it and completed it.

Susan Entwistle said...

Yes, that should absolutely be in the show in Austin...and the State Fair too! Love it.