HAPPY NEW YEAR!! Finally, in February, I can post and say that! I have not been able to sew much until just lately, which I am very grateful for...I certainly needed the fabric therapy that these recent bursts of stitching afforded me. But more about that in a minute...let's get to the stitching first!
These are the borders to my "Miss Emilie's Garden" quilt, pattern by Lori Smith. There is a lot of hand applique stitching in those four borders!! This is what they looked like after I stitched them and before I soaked them to remove my glue...
These were very difficult borders for me for some reason...mostly those darn sawtooth strips...I cut them wider than they were supposed to be, then basted the edges before I plunged them into the water to keep them stable. I thought it better to trim them later and waste some fabric in an effort to make sure everything went together well!
I basted any glued-under edges that I didn't stitch down so that they would stay "glued-under" when the glue was soaked out...I found out later, as I was mitering, that I did not need to glue that terminal edge under...that edge was actually caught in the mitered seam...
I was really tempted to invent my own borders that were EASIER, but I was determined to do this quilt AS WRITTEN, which was hard for me...
So I held my breath and plunged the borders into the warm water baths to remove the glue. I pre-wash my fabrics so I wasn't too worried about shrinkage and colorfastness of the reds...I was worried about everything laying straight and not getting distorted in the process, then wondering if I was going to get all those sawtooth borders to line up when I mitered those corners...worry, worry, worry...
So far, so good...nothing ran and things seem pretty straight as I hold my breath and start to press over my towel-lined pressing surface...
I'm not sure I will do these hand appliqued, sawtooth border strips EVER again...the actual applique glue prep and stitching was fine and actually went faster than I thought possible, but I really hated having to be so darn precise while adding those borders to the body of my little quilt. And the corner mitering...yikes!
Finally, I used my sewing machine to stay-stitch around the whole quilt, close to where it needs to be trimmed, ultimately, when I apply the binding.
I feel better about the way the OUTER sawtooth border came together at the mitered corners than the INNER one...no matter how much I fuddled with the top right corner, I could not get it to line up...just...right...this adds character...right?
OOPS! I forgot the final little swag doo-dads in the corners...there we go...NOW it is complete!
All this effort for a quilt that will ONLY MEASURE 42" x 42" when finished! But I think if this had been a large quilt, those sawtooth borders would have killed me with boredom!
Now it is time to baste and get busy with the hand quilting...
OK, here's why I have been so silent for so many weeks...
...I knew going into December, that it was going to be a hard month...we would have our first Christmas after my parents' fatal car accident of May 2014. We chose to spend it in their home in Alabama, as we have the last few years, and my 3 sisters and their young families were there with us. We will be moving this summer to live in their home and be welcoming care-takers to the property so that all family can visit often (I have six brothers and sisters).
But before all that happened, Steve's Dad fell and broke a hip in early December. He had surgery, and we were all taking shifts of being in Philadelphia to cheer him on and take care of Steve's Mom, who suffers from dementia and can't be by herself. So my daughter had a month and more of only having one parent around, which added to her stress level during her senior year of high school.
We were able to be together in Alabama with some of my family for Christmas only because Steve's brother wasn't with his family in Maine, as he took a care-taking shift (thanks Dave!).
We are still sorting out and trying to manage the situation in Philadelphia. Care-givers have been hired to try to keep them together in their home of 50 years, where they are happiest. Due to Mom's dementia, we don't think they could be together if they were in a nursing home situation.
Dad is continuing to get stronger with the help of PT, OT, home nursing, and care-givers. Mom has started having her own issues, but we are limping along, always knowing that at any time one of us will have to jump and run to be in town with them.
Of course, during all this my daughter is in the middle of trying to choose a college, finish a very busy senior year, and deal with on-site auditions for musical theater, French horn, and writing as she tries to settle on a major. (Oh, and then she had her first car accident one snowy morning a couple of weeks ago when Steve was in Philadelphia...nobody hurt, thankfully...).
So, needless to say, I am a complete mess. I have had atopic dermatitis all my life, which flares up in times of great stress and leaves me covered with oozing, very itchy, ugly hives from head to toe. I had handled the stress of last year pretty well, but all that ended in early January when my stress level went through the roof.
So I am on high-powered steroids at the moment in order to get control of my skin...and life... back.
I keep saying "this will pass, this will pass," and I know that many of you are have dealt with, or are dealing with much worse scenarios, but I have definitely struck bottom here lately. And I have had no time to sew, which might have saved me from having a major breakout of my skin condition.
I know the stress is going to continue...graduation, getting our house ready to sell in Michigan, saying good-bye to our life and friends here, relocating to NW Alabama, having to give up my dear kitty when we move, the continued decline and change in my in-laws' lives, and becoming empty-nesters.
I'm still not sure how all this will happen, but I know it will happen and some day I will wake up on the other side of it and discover that I have time to design and enjoy quilting again.
So hang in there with me...I am committed to blogging whenever I can, I have entered my music quilt in AQS Lancaster and AQS Paducah, and I continue to send out music patterns to people who order them. I have started dreaming about quilt design again, and I have started wrapping my head around the monumental task of moving the quilt cave and having it recreate itself in a new, exciting form in Alabama.
Thank you to everyone who has emailed me to check on me...I am so behind on answering emails. I love you all and appreciate your support.
Still In Stitches,