I decided to approach social distancing and this time of isolation with an attitude of gratitude. I have lots to be thankful for – that I had started my own stash of fabrics – some may call it a ‘hoard’ but, just like that, it went from hoarding to being prepared!
I also decided to live in the learning/growing zone of this experience, expanding my learning from last month’s baby quilt and look for opportunities and ask myself, “When I look back at all, what do I want this moment to have been?”
Luckily, we have SO MANY ways to stay connected so, through the magic of Facebook messenger and Zoom and texting, I still managed to stay connected to my quilters and, now, my dear friends.
I had expressed a desire to create a spring table runner and prior to isolation, we headed out to shop for some spring fabrics. I have now experienced several ‘quilting group’ fabric shopping trips that include great advice, lunch, laughs and connection and friendship.
In a bit of pre-isolation wisdom, I even purchased a hexagon-maker I found NOT in the fabric section of the craft store (as we were chastised by the salesperson – apparently hexagons are not real quilting???) but instead, in the scrap booking/paper craft section. Today’s lesson: Don’t let anyone – ever – make you feel bad about your project. If you use batting, it’s quilting.
So, with my fabrics, purchased and some from my stash, I consulted my online sources for ideas (thanks, QUILTsocial).
My quilting mentor guided me into the world of hexies, both a time consuming and satisfying way to spend days, weeks, months! At the moment, time is definitely my friend and besides – I was enthralled with this new project idea. I began by making cardboard hexies…using my hexi-maker.
I decided that I would make 10 flowers and use the butterfly fabric for the background. I picked 7 fabrics for the flowers and began cutting and ironing my fabric into hexies. I looked up on YouTube how to baste them, picture my sad face because I couldn’t just go over and ask my mentors to show me. Sometimes, however, it’s good to figure things out for yourself and then brag about it.
I think for most of us, we miss the physical closeness of the groups we had during ‘real’ life – although this is feeling pretty real at the moment…
I decided some online chatting and show and tell would help, so we had a sharing Wednesday morning meeting. I got to ask a few questions, like… How does one sew these flower petals together?
I was also inspired by new projects that were being completed, started, and those considered.
Now, I find that when I complete a piece of a project or a project completely, I text a picture for feedback, praise and suggestions. Staying connected is the important thing and feeling grateful to have quilting as something to fill my days is a thought I have daily and often share with my quilting friends. Even if we are apart, the joy of our connectedness through quilting is still there.
Eventually, after a couple of tries, I figured out how to create my flowers without the threads showing through where I had sewn them.
Now, with the flowers nearly completed, I needed to figure out how to display them on my runner. I texted for advice. I felt I needed to add a background to my flowers so they didn’t get lost in the butterflies and my quilting friends completely agreed, so now for cutting bigger sized hexies for the background with a different sort of ruler.
With the hexie flowers stitched to the background, I was ready to sew them to my runner.
Do you know that feeling when you find a piece of matching fabric that’s exactly the right size for the back of your runner? I do…because during a pandemic, you don’t just run out to search for a new piece of fabric!
Now, I find that I don’t have enough batting, so with spray basting and patience, I made a big enough piece of batting.
Background, quilt batting and butterfly front pinned together….now to add the hexies in a pattern.
It takes a LOT of attempts to figure out how you want to arrange your hexies on the quilt – that’s fine. It’s the balance between showing off the background and arranging them (using a ruler) to look appropriately spaced on the background. You can be the judge of my success with this!!
Now to quilt – machine quilting – thanks to my mentors and some confidence from doing it and doing it and doing it, I quilted around the large hexie shape…three times.
OK, now for binding…time to watch a video to remind me how to do it.
I cut the strip, pieced it together and ironed it in half. Attaching the raw edge to the right side of my runner, I sewed a ¼” seam to attach the binding to the runner. Oh, and just to be clear, I did NOT plan ahead so, it was a bit of a scramble to find a piece of fabric with enough on it to make the binding. Not to mention, cutting it the WRONG width to start with and then having to re-cut…just enough fabric…luck was definitely on my side.
The final step…another project almost complete…picture me celebrating by text and Zoom with my quilting group.
I folded and pressed the binding around to the back of the quilt and the blind stitching began. I chose blind stitching because I don’t think I would be able to sew the binding on by machine to my satisfaction. I know, that’s pretty crazy but, the more I quilt, the higher my standards get.
What is up next for me? The Dresden Plate…yes, I looked it up and it’s beautiful. I’m hoping that if it all works out, I’ll give it to my friend and mentor (although not a quilting mentor) for her 80th birthday.
Quilting allows you so many opportunities to connect with people – from the online conversations, the texts and the phone calls, to the opportunity to give your hard work and love-filled pieces to some of your favorite people.