Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Celtic Lone Star

As promised, here are some decent pictures of the big quilt for my nephew (click on any pic for a much larger view.). I used the Radiating Lone Star pattern from Template-Free Stars by Jo Parrott, and 4 different applique patterns from Philamena Durkan's book Celtic Spirals. I think some of the quilting designs are from her first book of interlocking Celtic designs. The fabrics represent pretty much every phase of my quilting journey, from pre-1900 reproduction prints to commercial batiks to my own hand-dyed fabric. The border fabric is an African cotton - something I collected for awhile - and the white is a millennium fabric printed with "2000". That fabric was a must as my nephew married in April of 2000, and this is his wedding quilt. It finished to about 87" x 87".

I really did start to plan this in 2000, and bought that millennium fabric that year, but life very much got in the way of me actually starting it until 2004. Then I worked on it in fits and starts, letting more life sidetrack me. My nephew and his beautiful bride have been so patient.

I actually made good progress on it, though, until I moved from Wisconsin to Idaho in 2006. At that point, I'd completed the top and begun the quilting - first some machine stitching to stabilize it, then moving on to the hand quilting with blue Oliver Twist hand-dyed thread. That hand quilting turned out to be a bear what with the batting I chose and some of the quilting done through an extra layer of fabric in the applique sections. Where once I had dreams of sending this off to a quilt show where it might win I prize, now I knew the quality of the quilting would never allow it to be a winner.

No wonder it took me a year to get it out again but only quilted a few days on it in 2007. The same happened in 2008, and in 2009 I didn't work on it at all. Guilt weighed heavy and I determined 2010 was the year I would finish it - for the 10 year anniversary. Ah, but good ol' life said otherwise, and although I did finish the hand quilting (or at least thought I had) and added more machine quilting, there was even more machine quilting to be done (and hand quilting too, it turned out).

Finally this year, it rose to the top of my priority list. Finally life calmed down and let me face the final stitching that had to be done. Finally, after 11 years of promises, the quilt is finished and on its way to my nephew.

Final tallies: I spent parts of 213 days on the design, construction, quilting and binding of this quilt. The various machine construction parts took up 13 days while that hand applique sucked up 76 days. The machine quilting took about 18 days (which includes several days just burying thread tails) while the hand quilting took 87 days. Granted, we are not talking 8 hour days here, but typically, a day of machine work would be 3-4 hrs while hand applique or quilting would be 2-3 hours. Are there a few things I might do differently if I were to make this again? Of course, but overall, I am very pleased with this quilt, and so relieved that it doesn't look dated after all these years. Also relieved to have another piece of unfinished business wrapped up.


Sherrie Spangler said...

WOW!!! Sheila, this is incredible. I think it deserves to go in shows, but I guess the nephew might also appreciate it after 11 years. I wish I could see it in person.

Felicity said...

Gosh, it's absolutely beautiful and looks so precise and perfect! Your nephew and his wife must be thrilled! I'm also trying to get things finished that are taking years - I think we must be very alike! Interesting to note the breakdown of all the hours it took, you just couldn't put a price on a quilt like this. I feel your relief, I just hope I get something finished by the end of the year! ;)