For having 5 weeks, January whizzed by, nearing getting away from me. As the month came to a close this week, I reviewed my January lists of prospective things to do, and I was quite pleased to see so many items ticked off, or if not totally completed, at least a portion done. One long standing project stood untouched, though, and on the last day of the month I felt a tremendous urge to address it. Surely I could complete the last of the grid quilting on that half-square triangle quilt left in the machine back in August. And I did. For some reason, I thought I had more left to do than the couple of hours it took to finish it up. Woohoo!
It's easy to get bogged down when working on a big project, feel like you will never reach the end of it as session progress appears to amount to little when only looking at the big picture. I think that's the way I was feeling about this quilting when I stepped away from it months ago. Now suddenly, I could see the light at the end of the tunnel and all I wanted to do was rush towards it. So today, I started off February by finishing the rest of the quilting. I'd thought a lot about what I wanted to put out in the borders, everything from a big thick braid (would have to be drawn out and marked on) to clam shells (have a stencil but still would require marking) to free motion leafy vines (didn't really want to free motion anything and didn't think it fit the rest of the quilt). I was beginning to regret not extending the diagonal grid quilting into the border (but that would have required marking - sensing the theme here?).
At some point last year, I finally got around to reading Quilts of Provence by Kathryn Berenson (have had it waiting in the queue for years) where I stumbled upon a possible solution to my dilemma. Several quilts were shown with borders quilted with closely spaced lines parallel to the edge. These were actually channels through which cording was run whereas the rest of the quilt would have more open designs, often grids, acting as a secondary design element to "fanciful printed and woven silks and cottons." This is what caught my attention: "Quilting in the inner body of the piece retained warmth, and the corded border resisted wear." (emphasis mine) Ok, I wasn't about to cord a border, and my parallel lines of stitching are much further apart, but I liked the thought that doing the border this way might have a stabilizing effect. If nothing else, it would be quick, requiring no marking and no free motion wrestling. The guide bar that comes with the walking foot kept me reasonably in line, allowing me to finish up the quilting today.
So all that's left is to bind it (binding strips were cut and set aside at the same time the borders were cut), and that will all be done by machine as well. I'll be washing and air-drying it too to let the batting do its thing of shrinking and puffing and mitigating the many inconsistencies in my workmanship as well as enhancing the reproduction look. It won't be long until I'm out of the tunnel and this quilt, years in the making (started well before my 2006 move to Idaho), will be ready for use. February is off to a good start.