Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Yiayia's Quilt Block Scrapbook and The Christmas Quilt from Hell

The newspaper used to publish quilt patterns every week.  My grandmother neatly clipped pictures of the blocks she liked and kept them in a scrapbook.

Here's one of the pages . . . 

 . . . and another page

Early in my quilting life I decided to make one of the quilts.  I chose Philadelphia Pavement, which If you don't pay mind to how you cut the pieces, you can have lots of bias edges to deal with.

I didn't pay any mind and learned a great lesson: Pay Attention to Bias Edges!  That is one reason why this quilt is called The Christmas Quilt from Hell. It ended up being a nightmare to put together.  I love it now, but the process was oh so painful.

When I started sewing the blocks together I could not get the pieces in the block to align: they were so distorted from stretching that alignment was not an option unless I took them all apart.

So I had to go shop for more fabric for sashing to mask my inexperience.

The sashing worked . . . it got the blocks together and camouflaged the distortions.

Some of the effect of the pattern was lost by using sashing which disappointed me at the time, but at least it was not all a total loss.

The Philadelphia Pavement Block

See the little red and white half square triangles in the border?

They were s'posed to be in the block but I made them all too small and had to make more.  This was before I had EQ and did my own (mis)calculations.
This may be my very first attempt at free motion quilting.
The stitches are testimony to my struggle . . . wildly uneven and jerky.
This was before the Bernina.  It was done on the Singer 501a  utilizing the 'darning' feature which meant loosening the needle shaft to no tension.

In the back of the scrapbook was a 1943 Christmas calendar
of the Dionne quintuplets, which I still keep in the back of the scrapbook.

It's taken a decade to forget the aggravations of miscalculations, stretchy bias edges, points that never had a prayer of matching and jerky quilting.

But I look at my Christmas Quilt from Hell now and actually like it.

And it's a good marker as to how far I've come in learning my craft.

Not that I still don't make mistakes. I do.

But I never struggle with every step of the process like I did with this quilt.

Praise be to all who watch over me . . . maybe that is Yiayia, looking down and encouraging me along.

Bah Humbug . . . a fitting end for a post on The Christmas Quilt from Hell.

This was a gift for me years ago.

It hangs in the basement year round
to remind me of the things that really matter.

This time of year, everyone remember what really matters in your lives.
It's so easy to get wrapped up in the trappings and the expectations.

But it's really about the simple things.
And what lives in your heart.