Wednesday, 19 January 2011

WIP Wednesday: Dealing with the Fireplace of Shame

Can you believe it’s WIP Wednesday again, no nor can I, but thanks anyway Tami for hosting, and as ever go to Tami’s blog to see WIPs by lots of talented people. Well, I have measured out my life in WIP Wednesdays rather than coffee spoons, but, this is what I’m working on at the moment. First a clue.
Today we had The Kills. Good for quilting to. And how cool are those slippers, hey hey hey?
Yes. That combination of one foot properly shod in a fluffy slipper against the cold and one foot naked in order to feel the foot pedal, along with the fabric, mess, and loud music can only mean one thing. I am digging out my quilt tops and I am backing and binding those suckers. Hurrah! So, today I have managed to finish my small art quilt which I am going to hang over the dodgy fireplace. I have decided we are going to have honest photographs on this blog and I am not going to pretend I am an attractive person leading a stylish life because, I am not. So, I am going to show you just how dodgy the fireplace is, and you will see that it is not conceivably possible for me to screw up the binding on this quilt enough that it will look worse than what it is going to cover.
No part of this house is too depressing for Partner to sneak a stack of books in
I know I should get a builder in to deal with the fireplace, but, in my defence, I am dealing with the garden at the moment. I had a man round today to quote for a new fence, and all the time he was measuring, I could see he was thinking, ‘oh, God, look at this ivy. Just move. That would be easier’. I could see it in his eyes. Anyway, that is enough of my Home Improvements Angst and we will move on to Quilt Binding Angst. I am not good at binding quilts, and I am confused by mitred corners. I used this tutorial, which I thought was helpful and straightforward, but, (and this may make sense to quilters or it may not), I do not understand how to vary the depth of my corners. Does it vary according to how far you stop before the end of the seam, or, how big a seam allowance you use when you are sewing the binding to the edge? Does that make sense? Only, I seem to get what I am given, which is fine, but sometimes in life it is nice to be able to make a choice. This is what I ended up with,
The corner is slightly too short. Why? How? What to do? It is a mystery. What does it all mean?
which is passable, but, I don’t entirely feel in control of the process. I might try binding the next quilt with square corners, I don’t know. I dug out my quilt which was made by my grandmother (Nana Bessie) to look how she had bound hers, and, she hadn’t! She hadn’t at all! It is two quilt tops sewn together, with no batting.
No batting! No binding! Call the Quilt Police
This is anarchy! Sadly Nana Bessie is no longer with us, so I can’t ask her why she made the decision to finish her quilts like this, but if she was still here, she would probably say ‘Oh, Susie, that’s the way you’re supposed to do it’ in a brisk and dismissive kind of way, then she would purse her lips at me and give me the News Of The World and a polony sandwich. Then she might make a trenchant remark about the size of my hips and wander off to landscape the garden and bring peace to the Middle East before putting some beetroot on for lunch.
If you look at it from a distance the rows almost look lined up properly. This is not true though
Anyway, this is what I ended up with. It’s ok, isn’t it? It’ll serve its purpose. One thing it did do, which I think is going to save me a lot of heartache and despair later, is make me realise that quilting without a long-arm machine and a quilting foot actually isn’t all that easy. I’m eyeing up the Very Ugly Quilt Top next, and I’m wondering if I might just hand quilt it. That’s a way off, though, because I’ve got to scrabble about and piece the back together next. God! When I could just buy one from Debenhams! (I’m joking, honestly. Go the DIY revolution! Even when it bloody takes forever!).


Gertie said...

Lovely quilt.
Really should dig my machine out and finish the quilt I promised my youngest daughter 18 months ago!!

Vivianne said...

Very pretty :-)

Kathleen said...

Hooray for the Kills---I don't quilt, but I love their music for walking to. :D

I love the quilt, the colours and patterns are like a gorgeous fruit salad for the eyes.

Countess Ablaze said...

It's a beautiful quilt! I'm the same with mitered corners - mine always come out looking scruffy and not flush.

Tami Klockau said...

Love Love Love it! It looks great! I actually don't see anything wrong with the corner!

CraftyCripple said...

Gorgeous quilt. I have yet to actually finish a quilt top so I can't help on the binding front. If you ever find out then please share!

Anonymous said...

Looks lovely :)

Denise said...

I think it looks great. I can't explain the no batting. I have, however, just folded the raw edges back and stitched up the sides like your grandma with some quilts. Why? I just didn't feel like messing with a binding.

I'm thinking your grandma might have made hers during The War and maybe didn't have a batting available.

I never did mitered corner binding. Yeah, that lazy. I just made strips for each side and tucked the raw edges in on the end. I show you the first week in February when I post the only quilt I have that I made. I've made about twenty, but only have one in my possession.

I tried machine quilting without a walking foot once but came out with a mess in the backing. I used to hand quilt all my quilts. My 44 yr old hands asked me if I was nuts when I tried that recently. So, I'm waiting for a walking foot before I finish the top I have.

autumngeisha said...

The quilt is lovely. I'm glad that you have a place of honor for it, although I've seen pictures of fireplaces that look just like that in some ultra chic industrial lofts. It's the wabi sabi trend.

Marushka C. said...

I attended my first quilting class tonight. I blame you, Susie, you and your quilted inspirations.

Susie said...

Thank you everyone, it is not a technically wonderful quilt but it is better than the fireplace (although I am encouraged to learn I could think of the fireplace as wabi-sabi).

Denise, I think she made it after the war, but I suspect she couldn't afford batting because it is made entirely of scraps. My mother and my Aunty Kath (who gave it to me) could recognise bits of all their old clothes in it. Twenty quilts! I think I'm going to do square-edge binding next time and see if I like it any better.

Marushka, you have come over to the dark side ;-). Welcome.

electric fireplace said...

I like your spirit that You want to make some creative for your fireplace. I hope that You will do square-edge binding as soon as possible.

rachel said...

The quilt looks pretty lovely to me, but I'm sure you'd say I have untrained eyes. :) I am now itching to break out my old sewing machine and give it all a try again!