here goes with keeping my promise. I have started a new quilt. This is quite unlike my other quilts because this one is just for me. I'm not going to pattern it, I'm not going to stress about if anyone will like it or not, I'm just going to make it for the shear joy of quilting! I will document my progress here, but I'm going to do it somewhat as a mystery quilt in that I'll talk about how it's coming along, but I'm not going to divulge what it will ultimately be until closer to the end. I will tell you it's red and white and it will be the most technically challenging quilt I've probably ever made.
I have an older quilt book, from the late '80s. In it is a quilt (c. 1880-1890) I have been fascinated with since I first laid eyes on it about 20 years ago. But then I didn't have the skills or time or, frankly, the initiative to make it. A couple of weeks ago I picked the book up again just to flip through it and there it was! Only this time the light bulb went off and the voice in my head said: "You can do this now!"
So, I quickly formulated a plan. The quilt has four large piece blocks (38" square) and lovely hand-embroidered botanical-themed motifs in the white spaces surrounding the blocks. I immediately studied the quilt to see how to copy the embroidery. I was busy drawing these beauties when it hit me, if I'm going to make an heirloom-quality quilt, it should probably mean something to me personally rather than being a strict reproduction. So I wrote down all the things that are important to my family and came up with a list of about 20 things. From this list, I will draw my own motifs that my husband and kids will recognize.
Since the embroidery will take longer than the piecing, I am starting that first. I got some beautiful red DMC #5 variegated red floss for the embroidery. Under the advisement of a knowledgeable friend, I checked for colorfastness first. I guess DMC red has a penchant for bleeding. I'm glad I did, because my floss did bleed. I dipped it in Retayne, let it air dry and rinsed it off in warm water. After it dried for a second time, I stitched a sample on white Kona cotton. Once done, I ran it under warm water to see if it would bleed and, as you can see, it's perfect!
So, I'm ready to start the embroidery! I'm going to use Kona cotton for the fabrics. I have a bolt of cream I bought ages ago and I picked out a nice red at the LQS, which she'll order for me right after the first of the year. I like to buy bolts of solid fabrics in the basic colors. It's just easier when you live 20 miles from the nearest quilt shop! I will show you the embroidery as I go along, it's the pieced blocks that will be the big surprise!