Monday, December 04, 2017

Seeing Stars

It almost has the sanctity of a tradition. Each year, in January, I promise myself that, this year, I'll make a big dent in the pile of half-made quilting projects. The clock is ticking louder these days and there's more sand in the bottom of the hourglass than in the top...and I shudder to think of the fate of my beloved UFOs in the event of my kicking the bucket too soon. Unceremonious transportation to the nearest charity shop? My bones rattle at the thought.

It lasts a month, two in a good year. Then I get sidetracked by life, books and other such distractions and, God help me, actually add a few to the pile because babies will be born without first enquiring if their timing fits with my quilting schedule. Because when a baby is born in the family I make a quilt. That's just the reality of it. Those babies are often toddling around by the time they get their quilt but, eventually they do. And usually before they leave for university.

2017 was a good year. Finished two on the list in two months and then pfft! The next nine months flew by and suddenly it was Thanksgiving. 

That's a Christmas tree skirt up there made for our firstborn many decades ago. She had mentioned that she wished it was bigger. "No problem," I blithely said. That was a year ago, almost. And here I am, panicking in November when I could have been chipping away at it slowly and calmly throughout the year. But where's the adrenaline rush in that?

 I started making stars. By chain piecing, components for eight stars were done in a blink.

Look at that sweet four patch in the seams on the back. No one will ever see it, but still it made me smile!

I figured 8 should be enough. Ohio Star is such an easy pattern (take note Pam!)
and so pretty, I was elated at my cleverness, even standing in mute admiration of this for at least 30 seconds....

before a snarky voice in my head broke my reverie with "Hey Genius! You'll be waiting light years to see a star like that in the heavens!" 

What? I blinked. I groaned. I muttered furiously under my breath. I ripped. I re-sewed. 
One - star - at - a - time. 
If I was having such difficulties aligning star points, better not to compound the problem by chain piecing, an advantage only if done right.

It soon became apparent that eight stars would not a satisfactory firmament make, wider circumference and all.... I was loathe to tackle more stars after the pitfalls I had encountered. Maybe I could make something different, an easier, quicker block like Churn Dash. A nod is as good as a wink but 
 eight churn dashes later I knew it would have been better to stick with stars. No turning back now though. It was December already.

The original pattern long gone, I was flying by the seat of my britches.

 And my head was starting to hurt.

I can do quilts. But round quilts? Without a pattern? Maybe not. A lesson in humility.  

"You can do it!" the OC encouraged, simultaneously shaking his head at how I constantly get up to my neck in hot water. I soldiered doggedly on.

And then life interrupted. Spur of the moment plans to go north to keep sister-in-law company while she recovers from surgery.

A little bit of hand wringing, then soothing words from Daughter who knows me too well (the shame of it!) and wasn't expecting to see her tree skirt this year anyway, maybe not even in this lifetime.

(Now I have to be better next year.)

Here's a peek before I fold it all up.

 It'll be at the top of the UFO list for 2018.
Feel free to yell at me month by month to make sure it makes it off the list by next December.


Elephant's Child said...

It looks beautiful.
My UFO pile is, like my unread book towers, huge.
One day...
I hope your sister-in-laws recovery is quick and easy.

Colette said...

Just gorgeous!

gz said...

beautiful work xx

Marigold Jam said...

Great! I admire you for trying so hard and if it had been me (well it wouldn't be me as I would never have got the original done) I might have just added a plain border maybe stitched the original quilt to a round sheet of plain fabric! Just goes to show what a poor quilter I am though. Hope you get it done for next year or maybe start a new family tradition of having a tree for Easter?!!

dianne said...

round is DIFFICULT!!! very, very difficult! i looked for ANY excuse to delay - and the two i finally DID finish (after DECADES of postponement) were for me, which totally defies Reason, being a Selfish Old Woman...

baby quilts are more important, though - your Reasoning is sound, dear one...

Sabine said...

It is gorgeous as it is. I wish I had the patience for quilting.

Unknown said...

I think WIP sounds so much more positive than UFO but I am the same. Time is running out and there is so much to do and finish and use. Sigh. Julie

Lee said...

Oh! It's stunning, Molly...absolutely beautiful! How clever (and patient) you are. I take my virtual hat off to you! Well done!!!!

There are a lot of things I intended doing this year, too, that remain undone. I intended making a large butter cake today...but I've now put that off until tomorrow. And I also intended vacuuming today (not vacuuming "today", but my floors etc.,...that, too, looks like it's going the way of the cake making and baking!!!! ;)

Thimbleanna said...

You're too funny -- BUT, it's BEAUTIFUL! Round is too hard for me -- I make square tree skirts! When would you like us to start nagging LOL?

Pam said...

I made ONE tree skirt out of ONE piece of fabric. I know my limits. That was sufficiently testing on my mathematical skill.

I'm going to do a small number of triangles in my next quilt and if it goes wrong, it's all your fault...

I'd like to add that I have no UFOs. It's enough to do one thing at a time without starting a new one. Call me Mrs Smug. Or possibly Mrs Doesn't Multitask Quilts.

Pauline said...

A friend brought me a lovely (but partially mutilated) matelasse coverlet, wondering if I could make a tree skirt from it. Imagine my astonishment at having to make a square before I could make a circle (math was never my strong point). Thank goodness I did not have to make parts before making a whole as you are doing. All I had to do was hem and stitch on ribbon embellishments!

Dee said...

Dear Molly, I know nothing about quilting but I do have a sister-in-law who quilts as well as two friends who win prizes in contests for the creativity and originality of their quilts. So I appreciate all the work that goes into finishing off a quilt as a gift for someone dearly loved. (It has to be dearly for the quilt takes so much effort!)

I also appreciate how hard it must be to do a round quilt without any sort of pattern. So I find myself in real admiration of you. Perhaps you could have started sooner, but as I say to myself so often, "Life happens." And if we don't respond to life when it is happening, then it passes us by. So just think of all you enjoyed this year when you could have been quilting. The wonderful absolution for you is that your daughter never expected to get the tree skirt for this Christmas. So I would say that 2017 was a good quilting year for you in that you did something. I'm to the point that doing something, no matter how small, rather than nothing is a major achievement.

May this season of hope and expectation be a blessing for you and your family.

baili said...

i loved your place ,sounds serene with spark of faith and glory!

loved your quilt so much ,you are amazing at your skills !