Thursday, June 11, 2009

Three strikes - you're OUT!

I've been maintaining a quilting blog at for nearly 3 years now. I loved it there. It was easy to manage, it was a small, close community of bloggers with similar interests, and I made some great online friends that I hope to continue to know. But for the third time, the site has crashed and I have lost everything. I hate to be a rat, abandoning a sinking ship, but I started blogging to chronicle my quilting adventures, and I tire of starting over again and again. I know that I should backup my work somehow, perhaps even print it out, but I really thought that the blog host would be backing everything up. Oh well.

So, a fresh start - that can be fun! I've moved nearly 40 times in my nearly 38 years, and I like change. I am a restless sort, which is glaringly obvious when you follow my quilting pursuits - starts and stops, bursts of activity on one project, and then it languishes forgotten on a shelf for months while I work on my next "must-do". Somehow, there are many projects in the "must-do" category, but not many projects make it into the "must-finish" category.

Here's one that tops the "must-finish" pile, though. While visiting my mother on Mother's Day, she pulled out some quilts that had been her mother's, made by her grandmother. They're beyond well worn, falling to pieces with gaping holes that you can put your torso through. My mom is not a quilter (I was introduced to quilting by my mother-in-law; that's a story for another day), but she really wants to be able to display, if not use, these pieces of her family's history. Being the dutiful daughter and adventuresome quilter that I am, I volunteered to try to salvage one. Note that I have absolutely no experience with quilt restoration, and am, in truth, still a novice quilter myself. However, I can't resist a good challenge!
As soon as I brought this quilt home, thoughts of it pushed all the other quilts-in-progress aside and demanded attention. After mulling over my options, I decided that it would have to be taken apart and put back together again in order to be saved. And since so much of the fabric is no longer useable, new fabric will need to be added.

Taking apart the layers was a cinch - it had been tied, and I had the top separated from the batting and backing within a day. Then, I started taking apart the blocks themselves. At first, I thought I could just separate them into useable sections to put back together, but I soon realized that I would have to actually take it apart piece by piece. The original fabric squares were 2 3/4" each, but because of wear on the seams, most of them only have about 2 1/4" of useable fabric in them. So, I am now in the process of completely disassembling the top and cutting each square down to 2". The half-square triangles I am leaving intact and cutting down to 2" also. When I put it all back together, I think I am going to have fun with the layout, maybe adding a pinwheel here and a star there whereas before the layout seemed completely random.

When finished, I would also like to quilt it, rather than tie it, so that it will hold up better over time. It is an ambitious project, I know, but I'm feeling really energized by it. And since I work best with deadlines, let me just put this out there - wouldn't it be great if I could have this ready for my mother at Christmas? Even with the job, the kids, the house renovations, the cub scout den leader responsibilities, and the things that come up every day that cut into my quilting time, I think I can do this. And I think I can do this without sacrificing spending some time on my other quilting projects. Being able to post my progress will help keep me motivated. Let's see if Blogger is better to me that