Swapped Stories To A Finished Quilt
When you are the one who makes the quilt from start to finish. You know its story; the whys, the hows, the whats—they are all part of the narrative born from your choices (of course, how that narrative is interpreted by others is another story all together). But for this quilt, I don’t know the whole story. I only made ~1/10th of the blocks in this quilt. The rest came from other women who endued them with their own stories that aren’t mine to tell, but I can tell you the story of turning the blocks into a quilt.
My contribution to the story is all about traveling. I travelled outside of my comfort zone to work in Civil War reproductions, and at a level of piecing quality that I felt comfortable handing off to other women.
While some of the fabrics came from the LQS that hosted the swap, others came in my travels around the country—every where from MA to KS, and various parts of NY. The fabric that I included in two corners is one of those; it came from Old Sturbridge Village, and wasn’t intended for this quilt until I realized I had miscalculated how many piano keys I needed when I donated spare blocks back to the group for a charity quilt. I think it works perfectly.
Measurements travelled a bit, too. Particularly with the piano keys, the blocks weren’t all perfectly square. The borders worked out, but not according to my original plan. I had fewer stars than expected, as three women decided not to continue the swap (it was a busy spring!), but it worked out fine in the end.
Our final swap was at the end of June—almost eight months after we started—and much had happened in that time. More travel was in my future, as we moved to VT in July. I finished the block piecing before that final swap, but had to wait for the meeting to collect the piano keys and signature stars. The quilt traveled from NY to VT before it had borders…
…and then back to NY this past weekend as I completed the hand-sewing portion of binding while volunteering at the Mohawk Valley Quilt Club’s biennial show.
I tried photographing it at a beautiful old bridge spanning a river in the Adirondacks as we travelled back to VT, but it was late and the shadows were overwhelming the details.
There was a bit of dye that traveled from red fabrics in the border to the thread and lighter fabric on the back of the quilt (barely noticeable). Because of the cotton batting (Pellon Nature’s Touch), the measurements travelled a few inches after washing, too, shrinking to 58″ x 89″ from the 60″x92″ pre-quilted, pre-washed size (a generous twin-sized bed quilt).
I traveled to the store three separate times for quilting thread. I started with a spool that was previously used, and forgot just how large the quilt was, and how much thread it would take to quilt. I used up the fourth spool while sewing the binding to the front of the quilt.
The quilting is simple, with a grid in the center based on the seams in the uneven nine-patch blocks, and feathering in the borders. The stars are outlined in both locations, with some echoing in the center of the quilt, breaking into the grid.
It’s done traveling for now. Its current home is adding a bit of color to our very neutral bedroom. (There’s a problem with moving from a house full of colorful walls where you buy neutral decor to balance it out to an apartment with beige walls: you end up with one big palette of blah.) But, I’m sure it will have future stories of traveling to tell. After all, I still need to get better photos.