1 January 2013
John W's family
Half-square triangles
Level of completion: 
Sewn, awaiting quilting

We’ve been doing a slow but persistent de-cluttering of our house, and I’ve been looking at lots of items in our house, asking myself “what can I toss, finish, or tidy?” I’ve been staring hard at the beautiful, yet space-gobbling, silk fabrics I’ve had sitting on my top shelf for a couple of years –

– and looking at the pile of backing fabrics I brought back from Europe that needed shelf space, realizing that if I dealt with the one-time pile, these fabrics would have a permanent place to live.

I’m on holiday this week, an enforced break away from work and stress and people and talking in preparation for a six-week stint of talking, teaching, people, and travel; I realized the one thing I wanted most was to give myself a great deal of time in my sewing room to dive into old projects and tackle things.

So far, I’ve finished the top for Delft Punk:

2 Jan 2013 - 15:53 - There was a bit of a sewing marathon over the Christmas and New Year's holidays, coupled with some basting help from Jacob to get the top done.

Now I have to figure out how to quilt it.

Also hell yeah second hand-pieced top. They certainly take eighteen forevers but oh those razor-accurate points are delicious.Delft Punk, finished top

and finished the cutting and assembly for the top of this quilt, which the recipient helpfully named “Aperture.”

These fabrics came from a friend who had worked in an industrial fabric shop for some time. A couple of Thanksgivings ago, she reached out to a mutual friend and offered bags and bags of samples, if we were interested in them. I expected to snag one or two things, but I came home with piles of drapery silk, all figured and patterned, all on the slightly heavy side for quilting but still suitable. 

I gave away some of it last year when I realized I couldn’t use all of it. I sorted through what I had, tidied it by design, and stored it on the top shelf. I knew it was a one-time acquisition, and as soon as I burned through the fabric, I’d have the shelf space back, permanently.

Then I started traveling, and it felt like I didn’t stop for about six months. Not only did it tire me, it made me feel like I was completely and utterly incapable of actually finishing anything. (When you’re gone for weeks on end, you can’t expect your sewing room to do things for you in your absence. Mine certainly didn’t.)

So, this week, I promised myself a few things:

  • I would wrap up at least the hand-sewing of the top for Delft Punk, if not finishing the quilt entirely
  • I would tackle at least one portion of the One Time Use silk fabric
  • I would pull one of my (thankfully few) paused projects and make significant progress on it

I assessed the first pile of silk and realized I couldn’t do fine piecework on it. It was heavy, and textured by little fabric cords running through it about every 1”.

1 Jan 2013 - 19:40 - Where it all begins, the intersection of the light blue and gold.Close up, center point

I thought, oh to hell with this, it’s jewel-toned and textured, let’s cut it large and fat and put together an Amish-inspired design. The half-square triangles were 12” on the longest side, and when I started putting them together on the design wall I immediately thought of the light-and-dark patterns inherent in log cabin quilts, so I started arranging them that way.

1 Jan 2013 - 19:39 - A decent shot of all the colors in the top. Not easy to photograph in my sewing room at night.Center point

and you know what? It was satisfying to actually finish something. I burned through months of backlogged podcasts, played some new-to-me music on endless repeat, and within 48 hours had a finished top. Can’t quilt it until I’m back home again, but it’s now in the Awaiting Quilting pile (current quantity: 3) for when I’m back.

On top of that, I’ve finished the top for Delft Punk, and after wrapping up the top for Aperture, I’ve pulled out another long-languishing unfinished project, and am starting to move it forward in what home time I have left before the next trip.

For the name, I’d been struggling to think of something other than “Red Square,” so I tossed it out for public opinion. The recipient came up with “Aperture” because the center-diamond pattern reminded him of the aperture for the Olympus XA, a camera he owns. (Photo available here.)

It’ll be a little while before it gets finished, but at least it’s moved to the Quilt Me Dammit pile. I feel like I’m getting somewhere, and the backing fabric has already taken up residence. Everyone wins.

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