This morning I woke at 8:30 from having gone to sleep at an unreasonably early 3am, to see the Amazing Vomiting Cat attack my quilt project. My one and only completely handmade to be quilted like an antique quilt project. I made it with the Homeless Quilt pattern and real, new, fabric, at the workshop -- and since it was the second one I made with that design I decided to pull out all the stops and hand quilt it. I also skipped using a plain sheet for a backing and did a second top to make it reversible -- it's kind of cool looking on both sides since one is a dramatic combination of black and red patterned calicoes but the other is made up of all the leftovers from everyone else's projects. I didn't manage to get a piece of Tweety Bird fabric from the Puerto Rican mom who did hers as a baby quilt because she used hers up completely, but I do have all the fabrics from the two ladies who finished theirs and the guy who reinvented cutting by "I know I cut sloppy so I'll just cut real huge and mark the seams straight with a ruler" and the rest.
It's basted thoroughly and a small fraction of it is hand quilted the same way all the old time people who did not have sewing machines quilted, or maybe people conserving electricity in the Depression, or purists who got good at it. I knew that I would not have the patience to do more than one of these, though I like tufting. Tufting is just as legitimate. Thing is for a reversible it didn't work as well. So I'm doing all the little 6" squares first to get the dull part of "same design over and over" done first, then the long strips with their design and the really long border stripes. When I've got all that quilted, I get hte fun of grabbing tailors chalk and making up designs. Like the feather wreaths and bowls of fruit and other complicated quilting designs on old time quilts.
Except that being me they will be pagan religious and weird stuff. I mean, if it was Christian Americana then it would be traditional to put a Bible or a cross or something in with that, so, hey, I might as well do a pentacle and the seasons and the elements. This means I get to do some cool things with rendering the designs and it's not like I can't do this stitch on a line thing. It's like embroidery, right? It's just granny stitch, right?
Actually, this is reason for me to get that silly microphone thingie for Toshi. There's software to let me voice command the computer. But I am not likely to finish projects in my time slobbing off unless I use it, because you can't hang out in a chat room and still put your hands on the project. You can glance back and forth to chat from the project easily, but a voice control system is a necessity if I want to rest my hands by straining them poking a needle through layers of fabric that look like they're really easy because they're soft and wind up after four stitches feeling like you're trying to sew leather by hand.
This made the two-sided quilt project leap into the "pick on it for years" category, but I don't think the basting will stand up to throwing it in the washing machine. So I will have to actually finish it sooner than planned. I got the mess fast and I don't think it will stain. The fabrics and batting are definitely machine washable though, so when it's done it can go in the wash and start becoming one of those soft quilts like the ones assorted friends have as gifts from family members who do quilting. I'm still angry at my uncle, Dad's brother, or at my family in general, that when my dad's mother died I did not get the promised family quilt. She made quilts for all the kids in the family and some left over. She completed that project when I was about eight. We talked about it and she knew I was on the list to get some of the extra quilt tops that didn't get assembled yet, which included some spectacular piecework tops with, yes, some of them antique fabric. I actually thought their hobbies were cool -- I wanted Grandpa's lapidary setup too or at least some of the stuff but as an adult I can see where my uncle might have sold that for the money -- he could.
Same lesson as my great grandmother -- once you're dead they do not have to honor any promise you made and will do what they want to.
So the handmade one is kind of in memory of my grandmother Sloan, who at least showed me how to make those quilts and told me the story about the ones she did in the Depression that had old newspaper for batting, though she never did explain how you were supposed to wash them. When asked she just said "wash it and hang it on the line, like any other quilt." I have always imagined soggy paper pulp getting mouldy inside those -- but I can also understand how in the absence of resources that meant warmth when there wasn't anything to be had, it was a huge difference between not enough blankets and some.
I suppose I could try that for an experiment someday -- with something the size of a placemat.
The problem is logistically solved. The project is back on the corner of my bed, not in a Cat Spot, while the rest of the blankets up there now have an easily washed little synthetic throw as the top layer for the next time Ari goes on a catnip bender. It's his lookout spot and it's fair for him to like having the spare bedding under him -- but not when he's using it as a vomitorium.
Hmm. That's a thought. I could actually try some of these hand quilting techniques with smaller projects like, the size of potholders. That would let me do delicate piecework with very small pieces and hand quilt all fancy and still be done within the same decade. I got some advice in Think Tank that if I'm feeling overwhelmed by how much sick time I've had and how far behind I am, it would help to spend some time actually doing my hobbies.
I don't have as much time for hobbies as say, the homemaker female relations I knew of like Grandma Sloan and Nanny. Gods, no one does. But once I am on my feet, I do have the materials to make more quilts and I like designing them. Having got the extreme authenticity project in hand and rescued, I could actually do up a couple more that aren't authenticity projects -- go to the more modern end of the quilting range, create bold designs with cool fabrics and bang them out on the sewing machine like "Quilt in a Day" and other TV shows I've seen. Then use the machine to its fullest and quilt them with cool metallic threads and shimmery threads and silky shaded color machine embroidery threads in creative ways, do art quilts for a while. And for hand projects create small designs that actually fit in the hand and get finished in a weekend.
These also make sense in terms of my multigenre career, because every single month a significant number of slick magazines buy crafts articles. Any project I design for fun that I could finish in a weekend could also be charted and turned into a salable crafts article on Monday.
Site's back up. I think I'll finish blathering about cats and quilts and see what's up...