Wednesday, December 17, 2014


I've spent the last few days arguing--with my WIP. 

When I started this little row quilt, I really wasn't thinking about how I was going to quilt it. I sort of subscribe to the quilter's notion that when it comes time for quilting, the quilt will tell me what it needs. (I know other quilters feel this way, too.) 

As I got closer to having the top and back finished, I thought it might be nice to use my new walking foot to quilt--but I still wasn't sure what that would mean. Then I thought that some free-motion meandering in the background and some other quilting to make the main parts of the pinwheels pop might work. I tried out several ideas using some new Quilter's Touch preview paper that I had recently won in a giveaway, but all I ended up with was a lot of random scribbling and no definite ideas. And some of my ideas would have required a lot of stops and starts, and I sure didn't want to do that. A diagonal grid would work, but it would slice through parts of the pinwheels and make them look more like half-square triangles. As I looked at my quilt, it dawned on me: this quilt really wanted to be hand quilted--with those little quarter inch lines inside the seams and maybe some decorative designs in the sashes. But I don't have time for that. The baby is due in 3 1/2 weeks, and, and...

I spent several days arguing with the quilt and procrastinating by wrapping Christmas presents and sending out some cards. (Yes, those things needed to get done, but we all know I was avoiding making any decisions about the quilting.) I looked up lots of quilting images and websites for inspiration until I came to a post by Cheryl Arkison of Dining Room Empire. She talked about her experience of trying to quilt something in a way she thought she should and then came to the realization that the quilt was for a child who was going to actually use it--and not in a way that we would want to use a show quilt. Her conclusion was to keep the quilting simple with "something all over so the piecing shines." And there I had my answer. I would go with simple meandering, which is what I've done with most of my machine quilted quilts. It might not be what the quilt wanted, but it will certainly suit the baby boy who gets it. 

I started it today with some yummy mint green thread that I think works with the light turquoise background and the darker and brighter colors in the patchwork. (I usually use white or off white, so this is quite daring for me.) It will look fine on the front and on the "other" quilt on the back. It won't take long, and before you know it, I'll be ready for that little grandbaby to arrive. Thanks to Cheryl, I'm keeping it simple.

But here's a sad side note to this story: Today, while I was quilting, my presser bar lifter suddenly stopped working. (I could move it, but it didn't lift the presser foot.)  When I took the face plate off to see what was going on, a chunk of metal that sticks out on the presser bar fell out. It had snapped clean off. It must have been metal fatigue or something. I was stunned. My machine just celebrated it's 99th "birthday" and had been humming along beautifully. At first I thought that my treadling was ended, but I figured out that I could still raise the foot by hand. I'm so bummed though. I guess after this quilt is finished, I'll start doing some research to see if I can find a "new" presser bar part. Otherwise, there might have to be a new search for another treadle machine--don't really want to do that, but now I understand why people start collecting multiple machines. Anyway, all's okay for now. 

I'm linking up this week with Freshly Pieced for WIP Wednesday and with My Quilt Infatuation for Needle and Thread Thursday. I won't be doing my usual Throwback Thursday post because I have some holiday things going the rest of the week. 

Oh, also Sew Fresh Quilts for Let's Bee Social. (How did I forget that?)

Have a good week, everyone!

Quick update: I looked online and found a replacement part of the same vintage for my treadle. I'll have to hone my mechanical skills to install it, but yippee!


  1. i'm glad you got it all figured out! the simple meandering looks good in the photo and will fit the bill for your quilt's purpose nicely.

    oh, too bad about the presser bar!!! hope you find a good replacement piece.

  2. Oh, I am so glad you found a replacement part *whew*! Your meander quilting looks great, and the thread color choice is fun!

  3. What a bummer! And on her 99th year of use? Glad to hear you are able to get a replacement part. The quilting looks fabulous! I am one of those quilters who waits for the quilt to let me know how it wants to be quilted too!

  4. Glad you're able to fix your machine! I love the pinwheels :)