I am LONG overdue writing this post. LONG overdue. I finished piecing this quilt June 1 and basting it on June 6. Then my poor little machine got hungry and started trying to eat it. So I panicked and stopped. Two weeks to Grandma's birthday and no way to finish my quilt. I was crushed!
I am learning as I go and while I was sulking over my naughty machine I stared flipping through my bookmarks, looking for inspiration. One quilt I had really wanted to make was Posy Gets Cosy's Rectangle Quilt (how darling is baby Amelia?!) As I was re-reading the post, the part about the quilt being finished by someone other than Alicia really jumped out at me. You could send your quilts out? And someone else would do the quilting? This was an option?! I was shocked. Not sure why this surprised me so much, but it was a revelation.
Up until recently, I had always hand-quilted my quilts. I just hadn't hand pieced them! That's actually what this quilt is all about. With the exception of the nine-patches, all of the squares (the hearts and the dresden plates and the little pictures) are cheater panels. When I was small, my grandma used to buy these by the dozen and we would put together four to make a square, sometimes put borders or binding on them, and then we would sew on the backing, stick them in a frame and I would spend the summer hand stitching around the picture. We made some beautiful lap quilts and tablecloths that way and I am proud to say that when I choose to use the skill, my hand-quilting is not too shabby! I just really didn't have time in this case.
When I went to buy the backing fabric for this quilt a woman in the shop (I don't think she worked there) COMPLETELY snobbed me for using cheater panels. She actually looked down her nose at me and sniffed! It was crazy. I tried to explain that the panels had been part of my Grandma's stash and that I was putting them together for her because she had loved them and couldn't really quilt anymore. Then the woman said "Oh, well in that case you should pick a backing YOU like, you'll get the quilt back soon enough". Seriously!? Seriously?!
Anyway, back on point, little Amelia's rectangle quilt got me thinking about finding someone here who could finish Grandma's quilt for me. So off to Google I went after a bit of searching I found a link for Rougemont Quilting Services. It was close to nine on a Friday night and I dialed the number fully expecting to get an answering service. Instead, I got Nancy. Nancy is awesome. She was very nice on the phone, laughed at a few of my bad jokes, didn't hang up when Little A started screaming, and reassured me that she would be happy to look at my quilt and could most likely help me out...on time :) I sent her some photos, we talked about threads and quilting options, pricing (totally reasonable) and what I had in mind for the finished quilt. I dropped it off and with time to spare she returned it to me all done and beautiful and even better than I had hoped for.
WAY better than I could have done myself in such a panic
(and with a $40 machine and NO experience!!).
I've done my best to show off the gorgeous stitching - it's tiny and perfect and lovely and smooth. And the binding has nice mitered corners and lays and smoothly and evenly on both sides (mine doesn't usually even come close).
That's Grandma holding the quilt in place so I can take the picture. After Nancy brought it o me I wrapped it up and gave it to Grandma the next day at High Tea at the Windsor Arms. She cried and showed it off to everyone there. She totally loved it. She loved it so much she wouldn't bring it to the cottage for me to photograph. She loves it so much she wouldn't let me take it outside to photograph by myself. She held onto it the whole time like I was going to take it back or something.
As promised she is using it (her antique one from her grandmother rests on an antique rocking chair and no one is allowed to touch it!) and it is spread out on her bed. But Grandpa says she wont let him use it at night. It's HERS and she loves it. Just what I was going for :)
So thank you to Nancy. Thank you thank you thank you. Without your help Grandma would have gotten another book for her birthday. This was WAY better!