Monday, June 16, 2014

Miss Scarlet

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I finished it!

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It’s huge!  Ahhhhhhh!  I think it’s 85” x 94”.  And heavy, whoo.  That cotton batting.  That’s got some heft to it.  It isn’t dainty.  I hope it doesn’t bend my feet as I sleep.

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I can’t stop looking at it.  So satisfying.  More than (almost) anything else I’ve done, I can look at this quilt and think, I made that

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I wanted to make a quilt using scraps, and I definitely did not want to iron them all before I cut them out.  So I didn’t.  I just filled a basket with a couple handfuls from my scraps bin, collected together a needle and thread, two pins, a pair of scissors, my little fabric wastebasket, and a 2” square of cardboard.  I simply chose two scraps at a time that looked good-ish together and then cut out five squares from one and four squares from the other, by holding the cardboard template against the fabric and snipping around it.  Some of the fabrics were kinda wrinkled, but I didn’t iron anything, or trace around anything.  It was quick and dirty, and it worked fine.  I know myself, and having to iron everything first would have skunked the whole deal.  So then I just threaded the needle and started sewing little squares together, three rows of three squares, then sew the rows together.  Slowly, while I sat cross-legged on the couch, over many, many episodes of LA Ink, they accumulated, and I occasionally got out the iron and pressed them in batches.  When there were 200 blocks, I hand stitched them together in rows alternating with red squares (Legacy cotton, “scarlet”) and then I hand stitched the rows together to make the top.  I sat outside, underneath the crabapple tree.  Birds sang.  It was peaceful.  This was Slow Craft, perfect for someone like me; someone who loves the workbasket, self-contained with all necessary tools, portable and neat. 

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I hand-seamed two lengths of Kona cotton (“khaki”) and when it fell short by an inch (seriously???) I hand stitched a strip of something else from the stash to the end.  Then I pin-basted the three layers together (cotton batting.  No fun.) and hand-quilted it using a crewel needle and #5 crochet cotton, and attached the binding.  By hand. 

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When I first started talking about this project, somebody pointed out how willing we are to spend weeks or months on knitting a sweater or a blanket, but we want to make a quilt in a day?  Right on.  What’s the rush?  Now, there are times when speed is of the essence, I know, but for the most part, in my crafting life, there is time.  I’m not saying I’ll never again make a quilt with a machine (especially not since the doctor just found a fabulous 1970’s Viking Husqvarna 6030 at the thrift shop for seven dollars) but I can’t even tell you how much I enjoyed this process of handwork—just me and my needle and a spool of thread.  It took a long time, and I loved it. 

Are there still enough scraps for ten more just like it?  Yes!  You know how scraps are. 

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I made that. 

52 comments:

  1. Kristen, what a treasure you've created! I can appreciate all the hand work involved in stitching all those patches together to made Miss Scarlet...and of course, that was just the top layer. It really is such a pleasure to make something that involves a passage of time. I'm always sort of amazed at how my thoughts wander, while I knit, and suspect that much the same would be true of quilting.

    Bravo! The combination of colors is delightful, and I completely agree with you about not any pre-ironing.

    xo

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  2. Well done Kristen, well done indeed.
    blessings, jill

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  3. Ooh, it's so gorgeous! Along with your Gingham blanket and Tonal Colour Block blanket (which I am currently making, thank you Kristen!), this is high up on my list of favourites from Cozy Things. Thank you for your blog, it makes my heart sing xxx

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  4. Pretty indeed!

    From this blogpost I learned two important things:
    1) a quilt can make your feet bend
    2) a quilt can make your heart sing
    mmm....how interesting...
    two things like that just could NOT be possible in Dutch.
    How I love the English language (and the people that speak !)

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  5. Oh sorry,
    my mistake:
    it is not the quilt, but the blog that makes one's heart sing!

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    1. The blog and the quilt make my heart sing! I knit, crochet and sew and quilts will always be my first love. Thank you for your kind words xxx

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  6. Just beautiful Kristen. So stunning and cheerful and HUGE!
    I love the philosophy behind this quilt too - I love the fact that when you were an inch short on fabric you just bunged another strip on - truly in the proper spirit of the first pioneers quilts, using scraps and making do.
    Gill xx

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  7. Good for you! It's a beauty. You're an inspiration to me. I'll be thinking of you as I continue the work on my first hand pieced quilt that I started almost two years ago!

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  8. Love the quilt. Love that it wasn't a matter of getting it done quickly. I am getting interested in the hand piecing idea of sewing a quilt and you have inspired me. I have a ripple afghan my grandmother crocheted for me many years ago and I think of her every time I use it. She crocheted and braided rugs all of the time.

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  9. It's stunning :-)
    Tracey.

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  10. That is astonishing. You have done a beautiful job. I do love the idea of hand stitching the entire thing. Good on you.

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  11. It's so beautiful, Kristen. You did a wonderful job.

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  12. so perfect in everyway. it's the only way i've ever made a quilt too, everything in a basket by your side. really just perfect kristen, i'm completely inspired. you MADE that!! :) :) :)

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  13. Hello from Scotland! I just discovered your bog and love it. You quilt like me, scraps and by hand......two of my passions.
    Also I had never heard of gee bend and I thank you for opening that whole new world to me. Love this quilt, I love red and I think you have given me the confidence to give it a go....... When I've completed the two I have on the go that is!!! Thank you morag

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  14. So beautiful and so inspiring! It's perfect and thus you have encouraged me to make a quilt by hand with my scraps. I love it.

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  15. I spent 6 weeks crocheting my blanket and you are right, no one thinks anything of that. 2 Weeks to make a scarf is common but yes sewing is expected to take minutes or hours at the most. I love to hand sew, anything that is usually machined can be hand stitched. I like knowing that I made it all, in the same way that I make every stitch when I crochet or knit. When it is made it lasts for such a long time, that why should it matter that it took days or months to make? I love your quilt very much and it seems to me that it didn't take that long. Such a thing is an organic and involving process and I think a very enjoyable and rewarding one. I have yet to make something so big as a hand quilt though! This is just beautiful.
    Sara

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  16. Oh my......well done Kristen. What a tribute to crafting and quilting. I love that you didn't iron the fabric first (such a buzz kill), added a strip to the backing, and sewed the binding on by hand.
    And it's beautiful.
    I'm in awe.

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  17. I love this! I may do this on a smaller scale to create a headboard.

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  18. This has been inspiring every step of the way and now it's the most heart warming quilt I have seen. I will check back to see what your seam allowance was, and can you tell me, did you use backstitch (do you call it that in US, the one that goes backward and forwards) to sew the seams? I like Angela's idea above about the headboard.

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    1. My seams are all 1/4" (eyeballed, not measured) and yes, I did backstitch at the ends of all the seams. :)

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  19. So beautiful! About 20 years ago I made something similar for my mom's 50th birthday in shades of green and cream. She still has it on her bed and whenever I see it I think "I made that"!!! Such a satisfying feeling knowing I did it all by hand, stitch by stitch.... Well done you! xxx ♥

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  20. I absolutely LOVE it! And I love the whole process of how you made it too <3 What an inspiration :)
    Smiles, DianeM

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  21. That quilt is stunning and I love how bright and heavy it looks. Something beautiful to dream under. Inspiring!

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  22. Beautiful! Well done you :-)
    Tracey xxx

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  23. Wow!! It's amazing!!
    I must be honest, when I first saw you were joining it with red I didn't know what to think.
    But it really turned out great, well done you.

    Chris Xx

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  24. Your quilt is wonderful! I so appreciate that you did it all by hand...what a treasure! I have a redwork quilt that my grandmother and her sister embroidered the squares for when they were girls, to pass the time on hot summer days over 100 years ago! Years later, my my grandmother put the squares together into the quilt. I have it now and it is too fragile to use, but I love looking at the stitches and thinking of the women who stitched it. You have created a similar heirloom that will be treasured for years to come!

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  25. I agree with you. There is a feeling of satisfaction when one makes something that no one else has and one can say I made that:) Well done!

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  26. Pure Perfection, Love and Joy! Oh and its RED! (as in: Red is Best ~ a Beloved children's book I shared copious amounts of time with my Girls....)
    This piece is an Heirloom to Be! D I V I N E! Miss Scarlet makes my heart sing!

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  27. What a delightful treasure you have created! Beautiful!

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  28. That is one incredible quilt! I am so glad you posted about the process of hand quilting - I love your sentiments about the simplicity and time to make it. I've made one quilt by machine, I loved making it, but I am really interested in hand quilting - to me the process is just as important and enjoyable as the result! I think my friends think I'm nuts, but I'm going to start collecting scraps to do one by hand...but maybe a wee bit smaller than yours... ;-) Chrissie x

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  29. It is gorgeous! My favorite color, too. If I were to make a quilt, it would have to be by hand as I don't know how to use a machine. But then again, my sewing skills are pretty much nada. I can't believe you did the whole thing by hand. Kudos to you. That is truly awesome. Have a great week. Tammy

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  30. Congratulations! Just good the way it is and how it has been made. I know the feeling very well of having an inch short at the back :) My solution is the same as yours...just ad some strip and it is all fine.
    I loved reading your post!
    Groetjes
    Annemieke

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  31. Good for you! I do love your quilt and truly a handmade item. Sincerely, Paula K.

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  32. So wonderful ! Congratulations ♥

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  33. The quilt is gorgeous. Well done for making such a great job of it. I don't do much quilting but when I do, I prefer to hand stitch.

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  34. Beautiful!!! It sounds like a far quieter and more peaceful operation than machine quilting and all that it entails. I hope that you enjoy making some more! xx

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  35. I am glad you are so chuffed with your quilt. It is a fabulous labour of love ;)
    Jilly

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  36. Hi, I love your craft, is beauty, I love a colors, I follow your blog, hugs from Brazil.
    Visit my blog - Tita Carré - crochet

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  37. Absolutely gorgeous! A family heirloom, but one that gets used. And used and used. Inspiring. J :-)

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  38. Kirsten, it's gorgeous!! Enjoy your creation!

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  39. Beautiful quilt, and I love your process. I'm not usually in a rush to make a quilt, but without my rotary cutter and sewing machine, I'm afraid I'd lost interest very soon. I admire what you've done.

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  40. When I read about the scraps that were so crumpled they sprang from the basket and then read NO IRON and then I saw HOW BEAUTIFUL I ran to my scrap basket and started snipping away-no ironing-no tracing--freeing bliss! It's the thought of ironing that stops so many projects from getting started. Thanks for the inspiration. Got 10 squares done-I love to hand piece because it is so portable.
    Annie (crazy duck lady)

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  41. So, so wonderful! I have a busy life (three children 6 and under will do that to you), and I nearly constantly have the WHAT ELSE CAN I ACCOMPLISH IN THE NEXT 4 MINUTES? mentality, so reading about your long-term crafts somehow soothes me, and I think it is lovely. Also, the first quilts I ever knew were made by my great-grandmother in Mississippi, who picked cotton for extra money and used actual stretched-out cotton bolls as batting. Her quilts are extremely heavy, and to this day, I can't help but feel that lightweight quilts are a sham. I'm always slightly disappointed when I crawl under them. :)

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  42. Suuuper!! ♥ Really great job :-)

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