life in balance

The ten-year quilt top

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About ten years ago, early in my college career, I took a quilting class at my alma mater’s extracurricular craft center and started this quilt top.

I don’t remember those years very well a decade out, but I do remember my insistence on doubling the size of the quilt, the breath-taking cost of the fabric (at the time it was a fortune to me) and my determination to pick something that looked simple. I was terrified to cut the fabric, wincing every time my rotary cutter slipped. I ironed my seams every which wonky way – and not the good kind of wonky. And apparently, at the very beginning, I felt the need for basting stitches to help me sew on the machine, which I had pretty much never done before.

I continued to work on it off and on throughout college, and when I left school, it went into deep freeze. I carried it with me through three states, from Ohio to Texas to Maryland, constantly telling myself that when I was braver, better at sewing, more reliable with my rotary cutter – one day when all the stars aligned, basically – I would finish it. And in the meantime, I felt bad. I felt bad about the fabric sitting around doing nothing, and about my own inability to just Get It Done.

This year I went to Squam for the first time – and in some way it lit a fire under me to finish the unfinished. So I pulled the top out of cold storage, spread it out and assessed where things stood with the project after a years-long hiatus. I found that for the most part, I was well over halfway done. Crazily, after such a long wait, I was actually able to knock out the rest of the top in about a month’s worth of weekend work.

I love the paisley border that’s outermost. I’ve been really into modern quilts lately and thought I would hate the borders – nope, they really pulled the piecework (which I wasn’t crazy about initially) together into a coherent whole.

Now the last step is to piece the backing and send it out to a machine quilter for finishing! Well… the last step before binding, anyway. I’d love to break into hand-quilting or quilting on my sewing machine, but for this project, I thought the rush of having it finished was worth more than the satisfaction of doing my own quilting on the top. Plus, it’s quite large – kind of a queen/king size hybrid and probably not the best project to learn to quilt on! For this one I’ll have to be satisfied with being just a piecer.


One thought on “The ten-year quilt top

  1. It is beautiful; nice colors and great pattern.

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