Tuesday, February 16, 2010

The Handcart Quilt

This quilt top was started by my husband’s Mother. The “Bunkhouse” is the farmhouse that she used to live in when my husband was growing up. She moved out here in the early 30’s to teach school in a one room schoolhouse. The family only spent summers up here on the farm and then moved the cattle down into the valley to their home for the winter months. In the early days, there was no indoor running water, no indoor plumbing, no central heat and dirt roads for miles and miles.  Power was generated with a windmill and stored in huge batteries in the basement.  It was a summer dwelling they lived in part-time to take care of the range cattle and harvest the dry farm wheat in the fall.

After being stored lovingly for many years, Grandma Wight’s Lone Star has been finished by others and this week, it is finally ready to quilt!  The original Grandma Wight has passed on, and now, I have the distinction of being “Grandma Wight” to 5 of the cutest little munchkins you have ever seen (and that's a story for another time.)  As I pinned this top on my frame, I had the feeling that the original Grandma Wight would be smiling and she would say, “Land sakes alive! What took you so long?”

The corner setting blocks are 21 inches square and I designed a pattern to fit in the corners and setting triangles. I tried to make it look like one of Grandma Wight’s many quilting patterns she used to do on 18” square pillow tops.
I pinned everything on my design wall to trace my pattern.

So here I am, quilting this wonderful old quilt that Grandma Wight started . . . and I am quilting it in my studio that used to be her house.

Soon . . . the circle will be complete.

Only in recent years, have quilters had wonderful tools like rotary cutters and mats. These quilt strips were all torn from yardage, which I am sure, at the time, was the easiest and most efficient way.  Being pieced with diagonals and a fabric mixture of cotton and polyester, it has a few challenges.  That, and the fact that I was worried if I could actually pull off stitching the corner pattern design I had created.  I was discussing these various issues and concerns with our niece a few weeks ago. Keep in mind--I was discussing, not complaining . . .   My niece (who also sews and quilts) put me in my place after I had itemized all the challenges I faced with this quilt.  She said, “Well, it sounds like you are pioneer coming across the plains with a handcart!”  So from then on, this has been the “handcart” quilt.

I will post more photos as I make my way across the plains . . .

Thread, beautiful thread . . . a whole handcart of thread!
After auditioning several varigated threads and numerous single shades of solid threads, I circled the wagons and decided to simply change thread color for each shade of fabric color.  I like how it looks.  My best friend (who is an awesome quilter) was in my studio and looked at this the other day.  She suggested clear monofilament.  Uh . . . well . . . good idea if I had any . . . .   I actually didn't think of that.  But hey, wouldn't that make it too easy?  *smile*
Four colors of thread so far.

The thread blends the fabric colors nicely.  I used 7 colors of thread and the cream color made 8.

I couldn't decide how I wanted to finish the border until I got to the bottom.  I will roll the quilt back to the top and do the top border and then turn the quilt so I can get better control of the fabric when I do the sides.  I should finish it up tomorrow morning!  I can't wait to get it off the frame and see the whole quilt. 

Almost at my journey's end!  Ready for binding.

The setting sun coming through the window gives the quilting lots of texture.


 . . . the journey's end, the circle complete, a star is born!

1 comment:

  1. Wow!!!! You better get a copyright on that beautiful quilt. Lucky daughter. It is also amazing.
    Is this one of Viola's quilts? So great that you have it to quilt and enjoy. I love to check in and look at all you are doing. I'm trying to get Helen blogging.



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