I’ve plugged on, gritted my teeth, and finally, finally, I have the centre quilted. Just the facing, hanging pocket and final line of quilting around the outside to go. It’s been long. It’s been boring. It’s been painful. But it’s done.
I felt that at this stage a small celebration was called for. You can’t go wrong with cupcakes and coffee to celebrate a quilty milestone. The fact that I enjoyed them in solitary state means there aren’t quite as many left as you see here. Oh, and I make no claim to skill at piping frosting. It’s on. That’s all I ask.
The next phase is finishing the edges and installing hanging loops. This is definitely going to be a wall hanging rather than a bed quilt, so I don’t mind having loops. Here’s how the facing will go on: I lay out the facing hexies, following the outline of the flower edges on the front. I then whip-stitch together a manageable strip of facing, ladder-stitch it to the outer edge, remove the papers, and then add the next strip of facing to the side of the first and repeat. Once the full length of the edge is done, I’ll hem down the inner free edge of the facing to the reverse of the quilt.
It’ll go like that around three edges, starting at the bottom and working up the sides. On the top edge, I first have to sew the hanging loops to the straight edge of the quilt body (ie, the backing and batting), in the dips between hexie flowers before starting the facing. Once that’s attached, I proceed as before, except that I need to hem the free edge to both sides of the hanging loops, so there’s a little extra work along the top edge. I need to dig out a long piece of dowel to use to ensure that the loops are even in length, otherwise the thing will hang wonky, not a good look at either the Show or on the wall at home.
And here is the result of several evenings’ work on facing hexies. There are 182 of these babies, enough for the whole facing. I needed some dark red thread to stitch the facing together; oh dear, a visit to the LQS… Why is it I cannot go into that shop without coming out with something I didn’t know I needed?
It’s difficult to maintain momentum with this quilt. If it were machine made, I’d look at it and think that I had just a couple more days of work to go, but because it’s all done by hand, it does seem to be interminable and I get discouraged and demotivated, and it’s all too easy to walk away and think of things I want to do more. If I’m ever tempted again to submit a large hand-stitched hexie quilt to a show only 6 months after starting it, will you guys out there please talk some sense into me? Although it’s adequately quilted in terms of holding layers together, it’s not quite as fully quilted as I’d like, and if after the Show is over I still feel that way strongly enough to dedicate hours more work to tweaking it, I may revisit the quilting.
That said, it’s just gorgeous, thick and warm and beautiful, and I love it and the generosity and friendship it represents! I like it even better after several vanilla cupcakes…