Monday, June 16, 2014

Miss Scarlet

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I finished it!

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It’s huge!  Ahhhhhhh!  I think it’s 85” x 94”.  And heavy, whoo.  That cotton batting.  That’s got some heft to it.  It isn’t dainty.  I hope it doesn’t bend my feet as I sleep.

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I can’t stop looking at it.  So satisfying.  More than (almost) anything else I’ve done, I can look at this quilt and think, I made that

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I wanted to make a quilt using scraps, and I definitely did not want to iron them all before I cut them out.  So I didn’t.  I just filled a basket with a couple handfuls from my scraps bin, collected together a needle and thread, two pins, a pair of scissors, my little fabric wastebasket, and a 2” square of cardboard.  I simply chose two scraps at a time that looked good-ish together and then cut out five squares from one and four squares from the other, by holding the cardboard template against the fabric and snipping around it.  Some of the fabrics were kinda wrinkled, but I didn’t iron anything, or trace around anything.  It was quick and dirty, and it worked fine.  I know myself, and having to iron everything first would have skunked the whole deal.  So then I just threaded the needle and started sewing little squares together, three rows of three squares, then sew the rows together.  Slowly, while I sat cross-legged on the couch, over many, many episodes of LA Ink, they accumulated, and I occasionally got out the iron and pressed them in batches.  When there were 200 blocks, I hand stitched them together in rows alternating with red squares (Legacy cotton, “scarlet”) and then I hand stitched the rows together to make the top.  I sat outside, underneath the crabapple tree.  Birds sang.  It was peaceful.  This was Slow Craft, perfect for someone like me; someone who loves the workbasket, self-contained with all necessary tools, portable and neat. 

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I hand-seamed two lengths of Kona cotton (“khaki”) and when it fell short by an inch (seriously???) I hand stitched a strip of something else from the stash to the end.  Then I pin-basted the three layers together (cotton batting.  No fun.) and hand-quilted it using a crewel needle and #5 crochet cotton, and attached the binding.  By hand. 

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When I first started talking about this project, somebody pointed out how willing we are to spend weeks or months on knitting a sweater or a blanket, but we want to make a quilt in a day?  Right on.  What’s the rush?  Now, there are times when speed is of the essence, I know, but for the most part, in my crafting life, there is time.  I’m not saying I’ll never again make a quilt with a machine (especially not since the doctor just found a fabulous 1970’s Viking Husqvarna 6030 at the thrift shop for seven dollars) but I can’t even tell you how much I enjoyed this process of handwork—just me and my needle and a spool of thread.  It took a long time, and I loved it. 

Are there still enough scraps for ten more just like it?  Yes!  You know how scraps are. 

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I made that.