Saturday, November 19, 2011

The Reunion Quilt

I finally finished piecing a lap quilt that I started last July (as in 2010). I registered for a quilting class through Western Wyoming Community College's adult education program. A gal from Cokeville taught the class in her basement and it was the perfect opportunity for me to finish the quilt that was originally intended to give away at our Cox family reunion.

Every year for about the last 10 years or so, we have been doing a quilt drawing at our Cox family reunion (my Mom's side). The idea was that whoever won the quilt had to make a quilt the next year to give away in a drawing. Sounds cool, right? Well, it was definitely cool to win the quilt but not so cool if you had to make one, especially if you're not a quilter. So about 4 years into the quilt exchange, people started giving store bought quilts. When it was finally my turn to make a quilt, I decided that I was going to try to make one even though I'd never quilted anything. I had tied a few quilts with my mom's help (and her doing all the sewing) in the past, but that was it.

So when I was visiting Dan on the oil rig in June 2010, I went to this great quilt shop in Pinedale, WY. Oh, before that I checked out a bunch of quilting books from the library, like Quilting for Dummies. Dan thought it was titled Quilting is for Dummies. It wasn't long before I was thinking that was true!

Our 2010 reunion was at Bear Lake on the Utah/Idaho border (and only 45 minutes from Cokeville, how awesome is that?) so I picked out a bunch of fabrics that reminded me of Bear Lake- the aqua blue water, the brown and green mountains. I borrowed quilting supplies from my sweet neighbors and set to work.

"Oh my gosh! Mama's sewing! Quick, get the camera."

I used the strip quilting method where you sew strips together then cut and piece them rather than cutting all the little squares and then sewing them. I was somewhat surprised to realize how much work it was to piece a quilt. So much measuring, so much ironing, so much keeping track.

But I found that I really enjoyed the process. I liked the symmetry, the way things lined up. That's the anal part of me. I really liked the fabrics, the colors I started with. I liked watching it all come together as something beautiful.

I did the majority of the quilting at my Mom's house where I could spread out. My sister Becky was there too and she and Mom helped me sew blocks and figure out how to lay out them all out.

I stayed up late and woke up early trying to finish it in time for the reunion. I rudely worked on it while friends came to visit me from as far as Virginia.

Samantha of the fabulous Compound Eye of a Dragonfly on the left, her mother the Queen Vee on the top right (who we've known since I was 13), and Jenny who I graduated the BYU photography program with (although you'd never know she's a former Zoobie with those dreadlocks!)

But I grossly underestimated how long it takes to make a quilt. I began to realize there was no way I was going to finish it in time. And along the way, something happened.

I fell in love with the quilt.

The selfish part of me came out and I decided, "There's no way I'm giving this thing away." I had spent well over $100 on the materials and I'd poured my heart and soul and a few drops of blood into this quilt. So I decided to keep it for myself and just give a store bought quilt at the reunion. Not one of my finer moments, but if I'm being honest, I don't regret it.

I put the quilt down the day before the reunion and I didn't pick it up again until 3 weeks ago when I started the quilt class.

Did you notice the title of the book I got the quilt pattern from? Nice.

I finally got the front of the quilt finished and I drove up to Afton to choose a nice fuzzy fabric for the back, since we live in cold Wyoming and all. Check out this lusciousness:

Oh baby, it's gonna be perfect for snuggling up in front of the fire!

Here's how the quilt looks right now:

I had originally planned to pay someone to quilt it (fancy stitching that joins the front, batting, and backing fabric) in a fun swirly pattern, but once I found this fluffy fabric with the paisley design, I decided not to do that. I'm going to tie it with a universal stitch which is like tying a quilt but without the little yarn tails sticking out. My quilt teacher said that would be ideal because not only would it eliminate the problem of having two clashing patterns on the back, it will allow the integrity of the design and the fabrics on the front to remain crisp and clean.

My Mom is going to help me tie the quilt next week when we go to her house for Thanksgiving. I'm super excited! I'll be sure to show you the final result when it's done.


Lois Ann said...

I am excited for you to be coming :-)

Becky in Wyo said...

That quilt is so beautiful. And I'm glad, too, that you kept it!

Dianna said...

I've said it before, and I'll say it again and are amazing!

The Donnells said...

While it would have been great to get that quilt, I can appreciate working on something really hard an falling in love with it. Besides the store bought one wasn't that bad and it had matching pillow shams. Bonus.