Saturday, December 24, 2016

A Diamond in the Rough
70" x 84"
A Christmas Story

We used to joke that my dad could find a golf ball hidden under 4 inches of mud in the middle of a lake!  It wasn't far from the truth.  Each Sunday when my dad came home from playing golf, he brought with him about 70-80 found golf balls.  He like to walk the course, and he walked on the sides, the roughs.  He always found a lot of lost golf balls.  He cleaned them up, played with the best ones, traded some for golf equipment, and also saved most of them.  It grew to quite the collection over the years as you can imagine.

Well, this quilt is all about my dad, but not just because of all the balls he found.  I also think of him as a diamond in the rough.  He grew up in a household with a lot of kids and a mom to take care of everyone.  She frequently had 2 jobs to make ends meet.  There were lots of stories of fighting over food and collecting bottles to get extra money.  He went from these modest beginnings to pursue a lifelong career of entrepreneurship.  He could always see a way to make money and save money in unusual ways.  He owned a chain of stores, he rented properties, he made deals.  He had a type of stewardship of property and money that was just brilliant, and all with only a 10th grade education.  He also earned his GED, and got an international consumer credit credential.  He joined the army during the Korean War, and was very proud of the time he served there.

It was the later part, about being a veteran that he talks about a lot today.  When I was a kid he never mentioned it.  But now, in assisted living, he bonds with other veterans.  So, I was inspired to make this quilt for him, in red, white, and blue.  It is a log cabin block, because that is both the first block I ever learned how to make, and also because it is about home, and this is his new home.  The choice of red for the center traditionally symbolized the hearth of the home.  The arrangement of the blocks, that part is the offset diamond, or a diamond in the rough, that's my dad.

I went to see my dad this week and gave him his quilt.  He was quite pleased with it, and also very gracious about accepting it.  I am so glad.  I hope it will keep him warm and give him comfort.

Thursday, December 01, 2016

Big quilts and quilting....

What I've been up to. 
I have finished HAND quilting this giant 96" x 96" quilt.  I had planned to enter it into QuiltCon, but alas, the cold winter season is upon us.  I have already entered 3 other quilts, and though I doubt all 3 will get in, if they do, my bed will be cold this winter!  So, I am saving this one to use, just for me.  This is the back of it.  Like a dog in the grass, I simply adore rolling in the colors of this quilt.  It makes me HAPPY.
folded up view of the back of the quilt
I quilted it by hand because it was so heavy, I didn't have the heart to push it through the machine. My initial plan was to machine quilt it.  I made up a small sample to test my idea of what that would look like:
This is a sample piece that resembles the front of the quilt.
The very dense quilting lines look fantastic!  It was, unfortunately, a lot of quilt to push through the machine so many times.  Heavy and daunting.  And, the issue of texture.  Though, I love the texture of this machine quilting, I don't like to touch it, I don't like the way it feels.  I wanted this quilt to be useful, as in touching and keeping me warm.  And so it may seem that the hand quilting would take longer, that would not have been the case. 
This is the actual quilting of the front of the quilt.
One could make the argument to machine quilt it in a much looser pattern so that I could complete the task quicker and get the texture I wanted.  Possibly true, but that is not what my Muse was insisting upon.  I try not to argue with the Muse.  So hand quilting it was.  And, I really enjoyed the process.  It is slow, and meditative and relaxing. I will get around to photographing the entire quilt and posting, so please, check back with me later.

As for the Giveaway!
...  and the winner of the MQG calendar is Karen (who posted comment #6)!  I have already emailed her, so hopefully she will receive the calendar soon!

Thanks for stopping by!