Last December I needed something to occupy my mind and hands. Late in the month I discovered Pat Sloan’s upcoming Solstice Quilt Along project. Each week from the winter solstice to the summer solstice she would release a quilt block. If one followed along with her asymmetrical blocks and completed the various borders, the final quilt would be 86” square. I decided to jump on board!
I started out with one layer cake that my mom bought for me when we went to Amish country for my birthday last fall. When I picked it out, I knew I wanted to use it for something in our bedroom – the colors went well with our wall color.
Several weeks into the QAL I realized this one layer cake was not nearly enough! So, I searched and searched for another fabric line that would blend well with what I had already started. I eventually settled on Amanda Herring’s line. I think the combination is perfect.
There are several momentous parts to this quilt.
1. This is the largest quilt top I’ve ever put together.
2. This is my first quilt along.
3. Before this quilt, I think the largest project I’ve quilted is an oversized throw.
After completing the quilt top, then finding the right fabric for the backing, then spray basting it with the help of Brad, it sat for a very long time in my sewing room. I was nervous to tackle the quilting. From the beginning, I told myself I would do this one all on my own – I wouldn’t pay someone else to do the quilting. However, I’ve never quilted anything near this size before and the idea of putting it in my machine was causing me anxiety. What if I screwed it up after spending 6 months creating all the blocks? What if the quilting ruined the look of the quilt? What it, what if, what if?
These what ifs weren’t getting the quilt done.
I finally decided that a finished, imperfect quilt would be better than a never completed, and therefore still imperfect quilt. So, one day, I gathered my nerves and set it on my sewing table. I took it one straight line at a time. That’s all I did – one line at a time. Not all at once. Not in one day. But, one line at a time. And, eventually, the quilt was done. There was no one telling me how many lines to sew. There was no one critiquing the uneven spacing or the uneven stitches. Somehow I just let myself be okay with the imperfections and when the quilt was done, I knew.
On Friday, the day after Thanksgiving, the quilt went in the washer. I beat my deadline, which was to have the whole quilt done by the winter solstice – a year after I started. I have always been an overachiever 😉
This quilt holds my tears and anger and frustration and all the brokenness the last year brought. This quilt represents my strength and bravery and vulnerability and openness to life. This quilt represents all the women in my family who quilted by hand and in churches and together. This quilt represents me. I’m so glad I took this challenge. I’m so glad I have a quilt that will always remind me of this time in my life. Stitch by stitch I am becoming someone new. All the old pieces are still there – they just look a little different now. Maybe even more beautiful than before.
Enough with the words, just enjoy the beauty of this creation. One of my proudest creations yet.