Saturday, December 25, 2021

The Merry Christmas quilt

 Merry Christmas!! I hope your day is all you wish for! 

Many have had plans canceled, and the day will be different. But we have two ways of looking at this - We can be sad that we can't be with family members, or we can be glad that those family members are still alive, and we can have a Zoom call with them or call them on the phone. I'll be on the phone this morning since NONE of my family members are close by and haven't been for over 40 years! 

We have plans to go to the movie, but NO food is allowed, and gosh -- the popcorn is the best part, but alas, that is not to be today. Oh well -- more candy I can eat later! Gasp --- did I just say that? I haven't eaten candy in a long time. 

I checked the weather where my parents live, and it's MINUS 25 Celcius this morning with a wind chill of MINUS 34. Good grief -- it's warmer in Iqaluit this morning where it's only MINUS 13 with a windchill of MINUS 24. It's above zero today with rain in the forecast. NO one better complain about that - well, unless they wanted snow! 

I'm a happy little camper in my own world.

I was supposed to post a poem yesterday that someone sent me, but for the life of me, I cannot find the e-mail. OK -- Google can find anything, and here it is.

'Twas the night before Christmas,
And the quilts were not made.
The threads were all tangled, the cookies delayed.
The stocking weren't hung, the pantry was bare.
The poor weary Quilter, was tearing her hair.
Stacks of fat quarters, tipped over in streams.
Visions of Log Cabins, had turned into dreams.

When what to her wondering eyes should appear,
But a bus full of quilters with all of their gear.
They went straight to work with just a few mutters,
Sorting and stitching and brandishing cutters.
The patterns emerged from all of the clutter,
Like magic the fabrics arranged in a flutter.
Log Cabins, Lone Stars, Flying Geese & Bear Tracks
Each quilt was a beauty-even the backs.

Her house how it twinkled, her quilts how they glowed.
The cookies were baking, the stockings were sewed.
Their work was all done, so they folded their frames,
And packed up their needles, without giving their names.
They boarded the bus, and checked the next address.
More quilts to be made, another quilter in distress.

She heard one voice echo, as they drove out of sight,
Happy quilting to all and to all a good night!
~Author Unknown

I have to say that I wasn't stressed yesterday; I had no presents to wrap, no baking to do, no quilts to finish. I spent the day chatting with Katheleen (in person), and it was the best present ever. The gift of friendship, the gift of devoted time  -- nothing beats that!! 

And after she left, I went for my walk and then hit the sewing machine. I really think we all need to stop and smell the roses a bit more, and that's what life is all about. 

OK -- so I promised to chat about another quilt of mine. This is a quilt that I gifted to DH 19 years ago for Christmas. It sits on our family room sofa year-round and has been used outside and inside. It's been used to snuggle under and make forts. It doesn't get washed a whole lot -- I mean, how dirty does a quilt get? 

It's a flannel quilt front and back and very simple  - -squares with two borders. 

I was curious to see how it's stood the test of time. Here's what I found. 

I used invisible thread on the front of the quilt, and obviously, I had some issues when quilting it as I saw huge gobs of invisible thread on the back in one spot. The thread came through during the quilting process, and I never cut it off. 

Big gobs of invisible thread on the back of the quilt

This is very weird as one fabric on the front of the quilt lets the batting beard through. Only one fabric. The flannels came in a kit and obviously from a variety of manufacturers. 

The batting has bearded through the fabric

Other fabric in the red family had no issues with bearding, and it was ONLY that one and yes - every square of that particular one had bearding on it, no others. 

The quilting was simple - no long arm at that time, and I just quilted straight lines to create X's on the quilt. 

Straight lines of quilting

The hand-stitched binding is perfectly INTACT. That's a great sign of a job well done!!! I learned from the master (Gail at The Hobby Horse!). I'll never forget her words - "a quilt is never finished until the binding is hand-stitched in place." OK -- so we've both changed out tunes and are quite happy to do it by machine, but I still agree that a hand-stitched binding is the BEST. And notice that you can't see those stitches. That's the point of hand stitching. Those stitches need to be the same length as you would take with a  sewing machine, NOT ½" and visible, but tiny and invisible!!!

The invisible hand stitching on the quilt binding

There was ZERO quilting on the border, which I now dislike, but then I didn't know any different. Or, more likely, I wasn't brave enough to do anything else. 

No quilting in the borders

There's a better picture of the quilt top with the quilting. I bet that MANY of you out there will have a similar quilt, as I think this was the MOST popular quilt kit ever made. And I think that backing was also used by many of you! 

Part of the quilt top

There is one fabric that is starting to show signs of wear. There are no holes yet, but it looks like it might happen sooner than later. 

A bit of wear starting to show

But this is the curious thing. I noticed that some stitches had popped. Now, did they pop after the quilt was quilted, or did I have skipped stitches during the quilting process? What was equally mysterious is that they happened in groups of two. 

Popped stitches or skipped stitches?

There weren't that many of them, but it's weird how they always happened in pairs. 

Another pair - I think these popped!

This one was a bit longer, so I suspect that was NOT skipped stitches, but stitches that released over time. But the good news is that the quilt didn't fall apart because those stitches came loose. 

More popped stitches

And one more spot. I suspect the stitch length may have been shortened (due to the drag of the quilt during the quilting process), and that caused them to pop? I'm not sure, but it would be fun to figure that one out. 

The last set of popped stitches

I'm not sure if I did a repair after the fact or during the quilting process, but see how that one end of quilting isn't getting worse. So that is good news. 

A loose thread, but the rest of the stitches are intact

There was some discoloration on the lighter blocks. If I remember correctly, the fabric came in pre-cut strips, so it was impossible to prewash. And it looks like some of the greens and red ran a wee bit. That has probably been there since the first time I washed it, and it doesn't really matter. 


A bit more discoloration. 

A bit more discoloration, but overall considering the fabrics were not prewashed, it's held up well, and it certainly didn't go all wrinkly with shrinkage. 

Little shrinkage

And the label has stood up as well. I'm not sure if maybe the ink formula has changed, as a couple of other labels are slightly more faded than this one, but either way, this labeling method works very well for an ordinary quilt. 

The ink-jet printed label has stood the test of time

Things I've learned looking back at this quilt. I prefer denser quilting. This is nice, but I think the quilting helps to give the quilt body. This poor quilt is rather limp. I'm not sure what batting I used in it, but it's limp, and I think that's in part because of the wide-open quilting on it. 

I also learned that things don't need to be perfect to be loved. This quilt has seen lots of use at our house; while not cold, it can be chilly, and we use it year-round as our family room is cool even in the summer. 

My hand stitching held up better than my machine stitching! How did that happen? 

Have a look at your own quilts - some of your earlier ones and see how they have stood the test of time. Having a label on a quilt is a great way to go back and look at what and when you made things. 

So should I leave you hanging? Or do you want to know about Enchanted Autumn? OK -- I was going to leave you hanging, but I'll share my progress with you. 

Here's one more block. This one was easy as there were not a lot of pieces! That leaves ONE block left. 

One more block of Enchanted Autumn

And then we went out to dinner. Good timing; as we were chatting away, the waitress came over and said that the last call to order food and drink was 6:oo PM, and it was 5:48. Yikes!!! The restaurant closed at 7:00 PM. 

And on that note, I'm going to get my day started. It'll most likely be an ordinary day, so if you receive an e-mail from me, you're allowed to ignore it until tomorrow. I'm trying to get all those confirmations in place and one more wen tout yesterday, and I think that leaves two more. 

Don't forget there is a Virtual Retreat on December 26th. We'll start at 10 AM and go until whenever. I'll be working on a different UFO!!!!

Join Zoom Meeting Meeting ID: 816 2315 9049 Passcode: 799934

Have a super day and a Merry Christmas! 


1 comment:

  1. Had to laugh at the flannel quilt. I can tell you that some of those flannels (the burgandy swirly circle adn the green with leaves sort of fallish)are by Nancy Halverson for Benartex. Those were great flannels. Made both my kids quilts for university (15 years ago) and they do show wear but no holes all the way through, just ripped seams. I still have enough to make a small quilt with the leaf flannel.