Sunday, December 27, 2015

Christmas Quilt #6: Also Known As A Very Tardy Wedding Quilt

My brother married his bride, Stephanie, in 2001. Well before-hand, I decided to make a wedding quilt for them, and I twisted our mom's arm into agreeing to hand-quilt it. Mom even purchased a Grace Company quilt frame especially for the purpose. Well, one thing led to another, and it was just over half quilted before Mom was unable to work on it any more due to her arthritis. There were three of seven rows of blocks remaining to quilt, along with the top borders.

Flash forward about 14 years... In all the time that it has been waiting to be finished, I knew I *could* finish hand quilting it, but I just didn't get my mind set to do it. One reluctance was remembering how rough and sore my fingers would get from even just a little bit of hand quilting. Last summer, I came across the "TJ's Quick Quilter" spoon, and I decided it was the answer to the problem. I tried out the spoon technique on a little bit of a small quilt (which I haven't actually finished, yet, either), and then I took the dust cloth off of the wedding quilt (still on its frame), and got to work.

Another problem I had to tackle was that the double extension on the bars of the quilt frame (to make it king size) were pulling in quite a bit, and I was afraid the whole thing would end up extremely wonky. With the outer edges drum tight, the center was not even tight enough to quilt. To address that issue, my father-in-law, Ron, made two small braces to put in the middle of the frame between the first-and-second and second-and-third bars of the frame. (Note that the Grace Company has apparently improved their bar system. Instead of having 2x2 wood bars with overlapping diagonal pieces for extensions, they have what looks like a PVC tube now. That would be far better... But I'm working with a circa 2000 frame. By the way, other than the sagging bar problem, I highly endorse it.)

Below, you can see the quilt on the frame without the braces.

wedding on frame - unsuported

Here's how it looks with the braces inserted on the back... not perfect, but much more "square."

wedding on frame

Ron made the braces in a family-member's wood shop, cutting them out on a jigsaw and sanding them down so they wouldn't rough up the quilt fabric.

Quilt frame braces

I machine embroidered the butterflies on every other block, a different color of thread for each block.

Stephanie and Dave - small butterflies

There is a quilted butterfly on the plain blocks. (Those are hearts in the wings.)

Stephanie and Dave - butterflies

I also embroidered flowers in the corner sashing blocks. All the embroidery was done on a Viking Rose embroidery machine.

Stephanie and Dave - big butterflies

The heart border is machine applique'd die-cuts that I purchased as a group from Keepsake Quilting.

Stephanie and Dave - green heart

The quilting in the sashing is a heart/vine pattern, and there is a frilly heart-feather pattern in the outer border.

I timed myself quilting the different motifs, and then multiplied over the number of each motif. Assuming my mom quilts at the same rate I do, there is about 325 hours of quilting (not counting marking, rolling, and other support time). I have no reasonable way to estimate the time it took to make the top. It seems excessive that it took 14 years to do 325 hours of quilting, but there was a considerable hiatus in there... Once I started, it took under four months to do the less-than-half remaining.

Stephanie and Dave

The tag tells the tale...

Stephanie and Dave - tag

Happy Knitting,
Lisa Kay

1 comment:

DebbieB said...

What a beautiful story of love. It's an amazing quilt, and a beautiful family heirloom.