Saturday, September 19, 2015

In Quilting There's Always Plan B

Sometimes things turn out the way they are supposed to. Case in point:  I bought some yardage of a fabric by Brenda Manges Papadakis of "Dear Jane" fame. The printed cloth, inspired by quilt blocks of the famous quilt in the collection of the Bennington Museum in Vermont, was to serve as "cheater cloth" or "imitation patchwork." In other words, the quilter did not have to spend her life piecing tiny blocks. From a distance, the quilt would appear pieced although it is one piece of continuous wholecloth. I purchased border fabric at the same time. Both fabrics are updated, color-wise, to reflect pastel and other clear, upbeat colors favored by today's quilters; not the browns and dark colors present in the original quilt made in 1863 by Jane A. Stickle, a Vermont invalid who won a prize for her Civil War quilt "In Time of War" and certainly had time on her hands to make such an intricate masterpiece.

First, I trimmed up the main part of the quilt, making sure the edges were straight and true. Then, when I went to cut the borders, I had made the first cut when I realized that I was cutting in the wrong place. A Plan B was in order. I re-thought how I could cut the borders so that I could avoid having to make bias binding to go around each of the very small scallops that were to form the outside perimeter of the quilt. I continued working and sewed the borders on, my way.

"Imitation Patchwork" quilt assembled by Patricia Cummings;
machine-quilted by Tracy Szanto of Dreamland Machine Quilting, Penacook, NH

The quilt does not look like that of Jane Stickle. It is rectangular and does not have corners that jut out. Ultimately, I decided that I preferred my way of putting the quilt together. I decided to have the quilt machine-quilted with an Easy Loop stitch and I bound the quilt with the same fabric used for the backing, kind of a mottled cream-color fabric. In the end, I really like the quilt about which I'd had reservations. Perhaps it is "one-of-a-kind." I had to think outside the box to solve a problem and I like the result. Isn't quilting about having fun?

Happy Quilting!

Patricia Cummings
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