Friday, April 25, 2014

Final Thoughts on Jubilee Tribute

Over the last two years that I've spent working on Jubilee Tribute, there have been many changes in my life. During the last few months as I spent hours each day hand quilting, I have had time to reflect and I started a list.  This is a post to help me remember the journey I've been on.  It all  started with this picture -
from this book.
Then deciding to use this book from my Mom for the border treatment.
Hours were spent trying to create templates for all the little pieces.
I had to learn reverse applique (huge learning curve for this part!!)
Trying to pick fabrics and audition backgrounds.  Finding reds and the perfect pink.
Trying to find the right green and the right cheddar.
With all 16 coxcomb flowers finally done I was ready to start making a block.  Figuring the math out for this part took a while.  I paper pieced the center and hand appliqued this whole thing down.
And then there were 4!  This was a happy day.  The background fabric was perfect and there was some highlight to the center - it looked exactly the way I had hoped it would.
Next came the vines and leaves.  This is always my favorite part - just organically letting the vines go where they want. And there were LOTS of little berries.
And then the day came that the center was done- every flower, every leaf, every berry.  I still had not decided how to handle the center part that would join the vines.
Now it was finally time to start the border.  Trying to decide on the number of petals and the size and shape of the petals took way too long for me.  I got really frustrated during this part.
But then the day came that there were 4 of these!  After they were all done, I realized they did not look right. So after a few more days of pondering, each scallop went from having 9 petals to having 11.  It's a good thing making the petals was fun.
I couldn't wait to lay out the borders and try to get an idea of what it would look like.  It was at this point, I realized that I needed something in between each scallop.  This took quite a while to figure out, and I got really frustrated during this part too.
Especially when I realized that it needed another reverse applique coxcomb and that I would have to draft more templates!  But as I saw it on my design wall the first time, I knew it was perfect.  Something still seemed lacking, so I added berries to finish the space between the scallops.  There were times that I felt it would never be done.
But seeing the glimpse of what it would look like was enough to help me push through. And then, I drafted yet another template for the coxcomb circle and had to do more reverse applique for the very center.  This time red on pink instead of pink on red.
But the day finally came when the quilt was done and it was ready to baste.
  And on May 15, 2013 I started the hand quilting.
After I had outlined all the flowers, vines, leaves and berries, it was time to start the cross hatching.  I started by marking and quilting an overall 6" grid.  Then I did an overall 3" grid.  Then I went to a 1 1/2" grid.
Each step gave me a better glimpse of what it would look like.  So total, I quilted an overall grid pattern over the entire quilt 5 times!
Finally it was time to start the 1/2" grid.  It was at this point that I had hours and hours to reflect on many things.  People have asked me  how long it took.  I didn't keep track because I didn't want to know.  A labor of love should not be measured.
But the day came that the last stitch of the binding was done and the quilt was hanging at our quilt show.
So in closing, here is a list of some of the things that have happened in my life since I started Jubilee Tribute (not in any particular order):
-I have been 3 different ages
-I celebrated my 40th wedding anniversary
-I had a new grandchild - #4
-I got a job and went back to work
-My son lost his job, but has started a new venture
-I agreed to be the Quilt Show Chair for our guild
-I led 1 retreat, 2 workshops, was a guest speaker 6 times and presented 3 programs for my guild
-I was the Grand Prize Winner in the NYC MGQ DWR Challenge
-I designed and help construct "Vintage Blooms" as well as produce a pattern
-I read the Bible through
-I watched the 2012 Summer Olympics and the 2014 Winter Olympics
-I was asked to judge my first quilt show
-I got the Shingles
-I've been hot and cold, frustrated and satisfied, sad and happy, calm and upset
-I read at least 63 books (didn't keep track of all)
-I made and finished 14 baby quilts, 2 large t-shirt quilts, 14 regular sized quilts, 25 mug rugs, 8 wallhangings and of course "Organic Pink Pickles"
-I pieced 5 quilt tops including 2 of Bonnie Hunter's mysteries - Easy Street and Celtic Solstice 
-I finished and quilted Orca Bay
Plus there were many miscellaneous random UFO's in various stages of done-ness.

It's really interesting to try and catalog your life over a two year span. For a lot of 2012 I was without a job and got to spend happy hours each day creating.
I will probably never spend 2 years of my life on a quilt again, I've done it.  But it was totally worth it and when I look at Jubilee Tribute, it brings such joy.
In the end, that's really the secret of quilting - the joy.
Happy stitching,


Jan said...

So cool to have these memories attached to your truly beautiful quilt.

Carolyn said...

Well in all that time you have created an heirloom. I hope you have healed completely from your shingles. I had them 2.5 years ago and have post herpetic neuralgia. The pain is often excruciating. I've done little quilting since having them. I wish you great happiness every time you look at your beautiful quilt!

Vivian said...

It was a joy for me to follow your progress on your Jubilee Tribute, from start to finish. You should be totally, supremely, utterly thrilled with the end results. It's indeed very special, an heirloom quilt for your family.
Loved your rundown of the past two years. That's a lot of ups and downs. But that's life, isn't it?

Debra said...

Oh my gosh....terrific post. I am constantly amazed by your tenacity!!! This indeed was a labour of love and it makes me so happy to think of you next winter bundled up under this truly beautiful quilt!��I love you and I am so proud of your accomplishments.

Ruth said...

The quilt is a beautiful accomplishment and the fact that you had to figure out all the aspects of the design and then execute each new part really demonstrates that your lifetime of quilting has given you so much knowledge and patience in sticking with it to the finish! Quilters like you are an inspiration to the rest of us!

Diane said...

Your quilt is a treasure and all the work that went into it, I really can not imagine.

Janet said...

What a great post on the process of making a masterpiece! There is a lot of time to contemplate when you sit and handquilt :0)

Janan said...

And so well worth it,what an awesome quilt this is!

audrey said...

What a great post. Loved reading about your journey through the creation of your very fabulous quilt. I think it's a wonderful thing to have at least one quilt that is so detailed and time intensive. Very impressive that you designed it yourself too--I am in awe at what you ended up with. Such an inspiration! I have plans to make a jubilee quilt of my own some day.:)

Cathy said...


Karen said...

I didn't realize that your design started with the Kentucky quilt book. Interesting post today.

Pokey said...

Oh, my, your quilt is such a wonderful accomplishment! I am so happy for you and that beautiful piece of art, but it is wonderful how you kept up on it's progress, too. Blessings to your day!
hugs, pokey

pandchintz said...

Well done! It is truly beautiful and a wonderful achievement.

Dianne Mitzel said...

This is a beautiful tribute to the love and joy you put into your work of art! I am so impressed with the hours and detail that you put into the making of this masterpiece. It was worth it all! I know you will draw peace from this journey for years to come.

MamaT said...

What a lovely blog post. And a lovely quilt! So interesting to hear so much that you've done the last two years. Quilting truly does make us happy!

paulette said...

OMGosh!! Amazingly beautiful quilt!! What an incredible journey!!! Thanks for sharing!!

Becky said...

You are just AMAZING!!!!

OTquilter said...

Karen, this is truly one of the best quilt blog posts I've ever read. Thank you so much for such a wonderful look back at the whole process. (I love the list of happenings, too!) Your quilt is a masterpiece!

quilting Jeannet said...

Wonderful Karen, even your blog, I wil put them on my bloglist.

Carla said...

Karen, I so enjoyed reading your post! How great to take inventory of all you have accomplished in the last two years...and all that while you were working on the gorgeous Jubilee Tribute.

Barbara Sindlinger said...

This is so beautiful and an inspiration. I will be taking Anita Shaklefords Coxcomb class at Road2 California in 2015 and was looking at other peoples quilts (google search) and found this one. Beautiful! Thank you.