Monday, July 7, 2008

Show us ya pink bits!

First off - last post I mentioned the symmetrical braided gauntlets I made for my swap pal, and how much I loved the fit. As it turns out, I had a skein of mmmalabrigo just begging to be made into a pair for me, and truly - who was I to say no? Out came the needles, and out came the malabrigo, and when they bred - they became my new mitts. Super warm, super cosy and just beautiful to wear. (please excuse the dressing gown - it's cold!) I love them a lot!

All in all it has been a really busy week around here. More planning for the Bendigo BBQ has occurred, knitting the gauntlets, the kids have been a smidge on the nutty side, and there's been loads going on. One of the main takers up of time though has been the quilt for my neice, which I wanted finished by Sunday morning, when we were headed to the IL's for a large family get together. I started cutting on Tuesday morning, for a single bed sized quilt. (yes, I can hear the screaming from some from here, and I am well aware many people just thought "you are an idiot!!!")

It is now known as the quilt of many lessons due to the many things that making it has taught me. The first of these lessons is that yes - a single bed sized quilt IS doable in less than a week from start to finish even for a beginner. However - you don't really want to do it quite so quickly. It's far from ideal. I had planned to make the quilt according to the pattern in a charmed quilts book Ihave. I bought one charm pack of 50 squares, then bought other fat quarters in matching and contrasting fabrics, and cut them into the same sized squares. Sewing began in earnest. I then cut out the appliques, and ironed them on. By this point, the squares on top were all sewn together in two halves, and appliques were ironed on, but certainly not sewn. I had the fabric for inner and outer borders and backing and batting sitting there ready to go, but they weren't cut either. It was Saturday morning. It was at this stage I decided to be tricky and satin stitch the appliques down after I had sandwiched the quilt together. I wasnt sold on them to be honest and I wondered if they made the whole thing just, too 'busy'. It was around this point I vividly remember telling online friends *ahh.. I'll be right. If Iend up finishing it at dawn, then thats ok. Won't be the first time I have pulled an all nighter!*

I sewed the two halves of the top together, then began cutting the inner and outer borders, and sewed them on. Ironed it all very carefully, then got Mac to lay out the backing on the loungeroom floor and sticky tape it down, and lay the batting over the top. I brought the quilt top down, lay it over it, and pinned it within an inch of it's life. It was, at this point 12.30am, Sunday morning. I headed back to the machines and began quilting.
By three 3.30am Sunday morning, those appliques were becoming a major issue. They were starting to look REALLY busy and I was itching to rip them off. I still hadn't satin stitched them down and I knew I had a choice to make. Either rip them off, and get it done in time for the gathering - OR - leave them on, go to bed and accept it couldn't be done in time, suck it up and post it in a week or two when I could bear to look at it again. I took a pic of it, partially quilted, appliques still on at this point, for posterity. Tell me - what would you have done?

What did I do? Ten minutes after I took that photo, the quilt top was sans applique. It hurt to pull them off, and I felt bad because pulling them off meant - in my head- admitting defeat or being lazy. However afterward, I hooked up another redbull to the metaphorical IV bag and headed back to the sewing machine, and something odd began to happen. The quilt which I had started off loving, then became less than enamoured with, began to get a nice sheen to it again. Anyone who knows me knows that I am not a real big fan of pink. It's just - not me. So for me to be falling in love with it, ecspecially at 4am, and given it's pinkness - was odd. It was then I realised I really did like the combo of fabrics I picked for the squares. They were pretty, and girly, without being overwhelming in their pinkiness. And the appliques had seriously been overwhelming the plain beauty of the colours and patterns in the squares. Removing them was the best thing I could of done.
I finished the quilt, hung it over the couch and headed to bed at 6.30 am Sunday. By 9.30am I was out on the back deck, taking pics of the finished item.

Then, it was off to the IL's for a family gathering and present the birthday girl with her new quilt which was very well received.

I did learn a lot though. I learned that sometimes, less really IS more. I learned to trust my instincts again - if I had of ditched those appliques when I thought they were going to be a bit busy for the quilt, I would of had it finished a day early, and retained what little modicum of sanity I have left by actually sleeping. And when I finally got to bed last night, while I really did sleep the sleep of the dead, I woke up feeling like I had been hit by a steam train, and entirely unable to bend or twist. The muscles in my back are frozen and burning and I am in quite a bit of pain. And so I learned that I am no longer twenty years of age and able to pull an all nighter without batting an eyelid. Not that that is likely to stop me from doing it again.

Tonight - a long overdue date with my spinning wheel, followed by another rare, and early night for me. I MUST be getting old.


Rell said...

Once again you have pulled off a miracle.

Loving both quilts.

The mitts well what more is to be said... than "Me wants some" :)

Ruth said...

Tara, you have done a great job of the quilt. I loved the applique, but understand your dilemma, and if I'd never seen it with the applique on I'd have still thought it was a gorgeous piece. I love the simplicity line, so delicate and feminine. Be proud of your work - you should be!!!!!

Selina said...

Tara, that is stunning! Much better without the applique!

Lien said...

I found you! Unfortunately work does not let me browse through Ravelry during my spare moments and so had to resort to google-stalking you to let you know I received the fantastic package you sent me. I am totally in love with the mitts and seriously cannot believe that you spun yarn for me. THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU...
I love everything about the package you sent me.