|Miscellaneous parts and pieces laid out on beds and chairs as my friend started looking at what might be done to complete this Grandmother's Flower Garden quilt top for her daughter-in-law.|
What appeared before me was a rather large puzzle with various pieces that needed to be connected by machine stitching, with a Y-seam at every junction. There was a fairly good sized section with 6 flowers that was already assembled minus several of the setting diamonds, that provided a good starting place. There was also a whole bag full of other parts and pieces that needed to be incorporated in order to make a complete top. Several of the bud blossoms that made up the setting diamonds didn't yet have the surrounding white hexies attached to make them the proper size and shape to fit into the bigger quilt. Most of the remaining flower and setting diamonds were not sewn together or had random strips of white hexies stitched on that needed to be finished. The first step was to complete the "blocks" or sub-units that would need to be put together into the whole later.
|Already assembled top section with setting diamonds added.|
Over a period of almost three weeks, I came and went from this project. Every day I would wander into the sewing room and look at the design wall where all of the parts and pieces were pinned up in what would become a final layout, and contemplate what step to take next. Thankfully, last night I finished the process and am now ready to hand it off to be quilted and bound for my friend.
Here's another view of the stitch 2", pivot and turn to line up the new seam, stitch 2", pivot...
The original maker had not left 1/4" open at either end of any seam. All seams had been stitched all the way to the edges of the hexies and joins were forced to flex into the Y-seam when pressed, often unsuccessfully. I spent a significant amount of time clipping seams open 1/4" before I could pivot and stitch as I added new sections to the flowers and setting diamonds. There was one flower in the original partially made section that had some real troubling seams. Not only were they sewn from edge to edge, there appears to have been a problem with tension on the machine as the hexies seemed to be gathered rather than stitched together. An entire evening was dedicated to this one block where I removed the center of the flower between the red ring and light blue outside ring, pressed each piece well with Best Press to help it regain and hold its original shape, and then reinserted the flower into the surrounding ring. As you can see in these before & after pictures, the difference is dramatic! It was also a lesson in patience as I worked the center back into an existing ring praying it would all fit properly when stitched.
|This flower had more problems than just the ill-fitting Y-seams. The machine tension must have been off as it actually was gathered along the seams that attached the red ring to the light blue ring.|
After reinserting the flower center into the blue ring, the flower laid completely flat and fit nicely into the rest of the quilt top. Whew! What a relief!
|Oops! I stitched too far and made a pocket! Unsewing time...|
More snippets from the sewing room soon,