So, I found two quilt tops at an estate sale near Seattle not too long ago and was instantly in love with them for several reasons; first, because they are completely completed quilt tops (the hard part is done!!!); second, because they show two of my favorite motifs: sun bonnet sue and butterflies; third, because they are hand embroidered applique in great colors and prints (there is clearly a lot of hand embroidery and the applique looks to be a combination of machine and hand stitching); and finally, because they were super cheap.
Seriously. I kind of ran to the car and felt a little like I was doing something wrong. It was great. Plus, it felt so much better to me bringing home a nearly finished fabric project than a pile of fabric to add to the stash that is kind of always weighing on the back of my mind.
I did not want them to just get stuffed somewhere and forgotten so I made immediate plans to quilt them at my mom’s which takes some planning as it’s about a 2-hour drive (with a potentially snowy mountain pass about half the year). And I know I’m not supposed to, but I did buy two cheap sheets for backings. Ugh. I don’t want to hear about it. My reasoning is simple. I sometimes sacrifice quality for savings which is something I’ve spent the better part of my adult life recovering from; but in this case, I figured that I spent very little on them to begin with; the sashing fabrics appear to be not so high quality solids and the block backgrounds are simply muslin, so all in all, I didn’t want to spend a bunch on backing if the things were going to possibly fall apart in the wash. Because I surely planned to use them (and so did the kids and the dogs) and wash them in my washer and dry them in my dryer. Often. To make up for it a tiny bit, I did get good quality cotton batting.
I am a total beginner at free motion long arm quilting so this was another reason not to invest a whole lot of money. I did an all over swirl/squiggle/wave/loop design (I know there’s a name for it, but I’m not a professional) on the butterfly top and it went pretty well.
Next I loaded the sun bonnet sue top and decided to get extra fancy with a free-hand leafy vine through the sashing and a flower at every sashing intersection.
I left the block backgrounds black so I could go back and a stipple pattern. About half way through the vines and flowers, I realized that trying to do two quilts in a day was not a terrific idea. Mostly, my mom told me from then on, I was not allowed to do more than one a day. I think I was stressing us both out. Partially because I don’t know how to troubleshoot that giant machine, I can’t change the bobbin, and I’m pretty sure I don’t know how to thread it correctly.
So, after a very long day of quilting, (with Boyd manually squished into a small basket at my feet – long story), I discovered that I hadn’t lined the backing up well and the bottom edge of the quilt was quilted to the machine. I was pretty much screwed. So, I turned the machine off, closed the doors to the quilting room, and slowly backed away. (I went back a different day to fix the problem and finish the quilt.) Now that it’s all said and done though, I am pretty happy with the results.
These two quilts have quickly become our summertime lawn quilts and they have held up nicely in the washer and dryer.
Plus, the kids invented a new “Butterfly Quilt Twister” game that is pretty awesome. I have to say, they are kind of at a perfect age – big enough to come up with something like this (and actually make it work), and little enough to be adorable doing it.