My husband was more succinct when he saw it. "I haven't done any quilting but I've seen a lot of quilts and I'm pretty sure I could do better than that!" and with that he took back everything he had previously said about just going ahead and finishing it.
With a heavy heart I emailed pictures off to Lynn, about a half hour passed and I couldn't stand it...I had to call her. By then, she had already opened my email and had even shown it to Joe. I think she was nearly as heartsick as I, this quilt being her design, and she offered several suggestions that were helpful and also allowed me to hear what my heart was telling me.
In the following days, the consensus by all who viewed this tragic accident of quilting, was that the whole business resembled a picture that a child had carefully colored only to have an angry sibling scribble all over it in a fit of temper.
The feathers on one hand were very heavily spined, but the gaps along the edge created by the arcs in the feathers concerned me as well. I was worried about a ripple effect happening if not extremely cautious about attaching binding.
I really needed to think about it, no matter what my heart said, someone else's head was saying something different. To try to rescue or not. It would be like making it all over again. Maybe I should, as suggested, just move on and start over. Would I be able to find enough of the same prints? Did I want to try and reproduce it? Did I want to spend money on the same prints all over again? After spending all that time picking, would it be salvageable? Could I entrust it to another quilter? (A lovely, knowledgeable & much appreciated offer of assistance has graciously been extended in that department!) Being nearly August, it was too hot to sit with it spread out across my lap and spend the hours picking that it would take to make any headway. I decided to set it aside, allow myself to calm down and revisit it in cooler weather. Anyone who knows me well, also knows I don't give up easily on the underdog. I will fight for the life of this quilt, much the same as I have fought for life for countless little four leggeds who have been born in our barn...sometimes with success, sometimes not.
I took a few days & found my words, what I needed to say to this quilter, and carefully constructed a rather lengthy email to her explaining my position and feelings, trying to be fair and take my share of the responsibility for the way things had turned out. I didn't want to be mean. A week or so later an envelope with no return address arrived in my mail, no note, no nothing, except my uncashed check.
So the fight, the resuscitation, the revival begins...
January 2, 2015
This post is a journal about the makeover of my Country Charmer Quilt. This journey to save my much loved quilt began on New Years Day while watching the Rose Bowl. It all began with using the seam ripper to separate the border from the body of the quilt. The border is quilted with a very heavy spined feather that would be extremely labor intensive to remove and in the end would likely leave me with little more than swiss cheese. Better to discard it.
Since it is so heavily quilted and because I am a "waste not, want not" kind of person, when it suits me, perhaps the borders will be cut into sections and sewn into doggie beds or floor pillows. Can't think of a better use for them than to comfort my loved ones! Besides that I found a new darker green that I think will frame it in better than the original and I'm excited about that!
PS- Maecee loves napping under it while I pick away. I pop up the footrest on the couch to help support the weight and she curls up by my knees and I pull her out, all sleepy and toasty when I stop for a break. She wasn't sure about the noise my battery operated mini clipper made while I undid the seams, it made her a bit nervous and probably bothered her ears some, but she became accustomed to it and finally just let the quilt muffle the sporadic bursts of buzzing noise.
January 3, 2015
Today I scored more of the new fabric that will become the new outer border for Country Charmer. It was on sale and I bought 8 yards. It's deeper green, calmer, more structured and I think will corral all the busyness in the blocks better than the original border. It will also help piece in the parts of the backing that I will have to dissect to keep areas that don't have damaged areas from the picking process. Like the old homes we see on TV, rescued from the wrecking ball by people who want to preserve their history, the resurrection of Country Charmer has become a labor of love.
As I work away stitch by stitch, I find that using the seam ripper is less about frustration and more about dedication & inspiration. It is about rescuing one that I love so much from being buried. I am a woman possessed. A dog with a bone! I dove into it, often having difficulty in finding that stopping place, taking off the glasses and turning off the lamp.
Little Birdie is shaking his tail feathers again!
January 4, 2014 I need to temper this seam ripping passion I've discovered in myself with something on the positive side of the constructive scale. The backing fabric for Country Homecoming has been waiting to be pressed and pieced. If I do that this morning I might venture out to put it in the mail to my regular quilter tomorrow. The back and is pressed and I still love it and the unexpected element it will bring to Country Homecoming. Most of my quilt backs are pieced with leftovers or big novelty prints that have been languishing in storage for years. My quilt backs are made based on the "Use It Up" theory and I've overheard the comment, that my quilts always have really great backs. This one fabric, one seam back is definitely a departure for me!
Pressing is a great time for thinking and planning. First of all, I was grateful for the big pressing area my husband helped me construct last year. Perhaps I should sew on unfinished projects during the day and save the deconstruction project for evenings in front of the TV, there's no need to rush at this point. This also reminds me, I need to crawl around and disconnect my Ottlite with the magnifying glass & relocate it where I can make the best use of it.. I'm finally coming up with some New Years Resolutions. Finish the unfinished. Only entrust my work to well known and preapproved quilters, DUH! (you just saw me do that head thump thing, right?) and harvest my selvages. I keep seeing too many cute quilts and quilty things made with selvages...now where's that tutorial before I start assembling this awesome hunk of fabric into a back? Hmm...that could be a new Pinterest page...how to save selvages and then utilize them! Some days I'm just smart like that! Not many, but some!
January 5, 2015
I'm making progress...slow steady progress. Last evening I draped the quilt across my lap and settled in for the US premiere of Downton Abbey and picked away through it and most of the Manners of Downton Abbey show that followed. Hubby gave up and went to bed without me. There's something about getting a wad of strings loosened up and clipping them all off at the same time. Sort of the same sick pleasure one gets from peeling a sunburn & seeing how much you can remove all at once. Earlier in the day I finished my Country Homecoming back and played with the scraps from that a little bit. Has anyone out there done an Aunt Philly's Toothbrush rug before? The how to start part of the process is tedious, but once you get going it clips along really quick...until you run short on your working strip and have to stop. Today Country Homecoming will go in the mail to the quilter...we chatted back and forth on FB yesterday and I think I frightened her sufficiently with my unusual custom quilting request...based on what she's done in the past for me...I know she's up for the challenge! I eventually just told her to have fun with it...and that's all I'm going to tell you for now!
January 6, 2015
More reverse sewing accomplished last night! I'm working diagonally and have what is equivalent to 2 blocks with sashing unstitched now. Only 33 more to go! This evenings quilt rehab will be severely hampered by cuddling. Baby Girl is bringing her parents for dinner!
January 8, 2015
No journaling yesterday...I spent about 11 hours of my day off picking away! This is worse than eating potato chips! I guarantee you that there is no way I could spend 11 hours eating potato chips! I got out of bed yesterday with an entirely different plan. Work on picking for an hour or so then turn my attention to my daughters quilt...one of many UFO's I want to complete this year! I really shouldn't have done the 11 hours, the pinched nerves by my shoulder blade started registering regular complaints up into my scalp by the time I had reached the 7 hour point. The pain we endure for our art! This morning I'm listening in on Garth Brooks on his 4 hour Today Show stint and admiring the POTC blocks that Lynn just posted over at Sew'n Wild Oaks! Once this picking thing is complete, I think I'm going to experiment with some of those wonderful Lucy Boston blocks myself.
Country Charmer...beginning to breathe again.