Thursday, January 16, 2014

The Vintage CQ: Borders Constructed, 5 Years Later....

This quilt was begun in the summer of 2009.  I have made 45 blog posts about it!  If anyone is really curious and wants to see the individual flower blocks being made, and then the outer blocks, you can poke around
here, where the posts are all in one link.

This is the vintage crazy quilt that started it all.

How I wish I knew who made it or who owns it!  All I know is that when I first saw it, I instantly realized that I had to attempt a quilt based on it. Who knows why?  Love is not reasonable!

It was the border that made me put this quilt into hibernation from 2010 until 2014.

Not being a piecer, you can see why.  My friend Maureen Greeson even drafted the border pattern for me, but still I waited.

I think collaborating on our new book with my co-author, Valerie Bothell, whose work is so precise and logical, (and gorgeous) must have helped me tune up for this challenge.  Thanks, Val!

There are lots of technical issues, as you can imagine.  Working with wiggly, easily fraying fabric in small pieces was the main one; being accurate to the diagram, of course, was the other.  I'll share how I approached my task.

Because I am so used to working with a foundation, I decided to combine some "pre-piecing" of the units with machine applique.  Others would do this very differently, I am sure, but this is the only way that I could get a handle on this.  After tracing Maureen's diagram onto the muslin, and then interfacing it, this is the first "quadrant" being laid out.  I had traced freezer paper templates off the pattern for cutting out my shapes, and this worked very well.
I had sewn the units together...along their vertical lines.  That made the sewing easy.  The rest of the seams were ironed under, with the whole thing pinned to the foundation for sewing with clear thread.

Lots of pins....

For those chevron shapes along the outer edge, I sewed the fabrics together first, then ironed on the template and cut the shape out as one piece.  Then I joined the two halves of the chevron together by machine, matching where the seams came together in the center. This was doable!  The yellow triangles are appliqued on last.

One of the things I loved most about making these borders was that I got to revisit my fancy fabric stash, digging into the bins for just the right color and texture.

No scrap was too small, either!  I was right to save them all!

I used interfacing ALOT as I went along, sometimes before cutting the shapes out, sometimes after.

I will not even attempt to cut silk charmeuse without interfacing it first.

But more stable fabrics, like the silk tie fabric on the left, are ok to sew but they will fray like mad.  So I interfaced that chevron wedge after sewing but before cutting.

The other fabric that demanded strict and non-negotiable handling was that notorious diva, velvet.

Interfacing and then pinning it about every 1/2" did the trick.

Take that, you velvet, you!

By the time I finished the second quadrant, things were going very smoothly.

Here I've started playing around with using vintage velvet ribbon to cover the raw edges between the rows of units.

By the fourth quadrant, I really didn't want this phase of my Vintage CQ to end...

You can see I've got ironing, cutting and sewing all within reach.  What you can't see are the piles of fabric all over the rest of my sewing room!

There were many sweet memories as I used fabrics from so many friends and from family, too. This is a distinct advantage of working slowly.  It gives plenty of time for reflection....

I call this the "Seidman Corner".  My Uncle Bill Seidman was in government under Ford and Bush 1...his FDIC and Treasury Department ties are in there, an American flag eagle, a medal from his time as an economic adviser to the President in the White House.  I am very proud of his public service.
The ribbon is from my Aunt Sally's sewing box, a beautifully woven commemoration of the Bi-Centennial in 1976.

So this is where I am now:

The quadrants and ribbons are all pinned into place on the design wall, just so I can see that everything will eventually fit together alright. (Again, thanks Maureen!!!!)
When it comes time to sew it all together, I will have those rulers handy so I can get everything exactly the same size, not just eyeball it like here.  (Again, thanks Val!)

But first I need to embrodier those quadrants....

I'll be using the same fly stitch that is featured in all the center flower blocks, in DMC's Satin Floss, which is rayon and therefore nice and glimmery.

With that, and all the tremendous amount of finish work ahead of me, this quilt has a long ways to go.  But it will be done this year, for sure!