Goodbye 2010, Hello 2011
As the count down begins, I am packing up a gorgeous wedding duvet cover to be delivered to the bride tomorrow morning, before I don my pjs to watch the ball drop. Earlier this evening, I had a good day with my almost dying desk top, and was able to look through the many many photographs I had taken this year…sort of looking at the year at a glance. My desk top has been trying to die for the past four years…no kidding! It has been a good computer, lasted exactly twelve years. My newer version should arrive sometime later next week and I’m babying this puppy till then.
Meanwhile, my last project for 2010 is completed. It started sometime in 2009…I know, that is way too long. My dear friend’s daughter married in late 2008. I asked her what she wanted as a wedding gift and she chose a duvet cover. As duvets go, they are the next best thing to a comforter and if one has a variety of covers, one can easily change the decor of the bedroom. After finishing this project, I am in the mind to make several for myself. Many times, I make the quilt tops but they generally end up in the bottom of a drawer, with the thought that I will quilt them some day. Well….hmmm…I don’t think that day is arriving any time soon, so a duvet cover may be the best way to use the quilt tops that I have created. The duvet cover is king size using bridal satin layered on top with chiffon. There are 49 embroidered quilt blocks, from the Vintage Linen II collection. Vintage Linen II is a cutwork collection, but comes with embroidery blocks as well. For somewhile, I had been thinking of making a quilt with the designs, and this turned out to be the opportunity. When I showed the sample block to the bride, she was sold and thus began the journey in creating this wedding present!
When I started the embroidery, I had never imagined the amount of time that it would take to make the cover. The bridal satin has the tendency to ravel and fray like crazy. That in itself was my biggest challenge, but, I decided to leave it till the end, while I happily embroidered away. Since the fabric had a lot of movement, and there was a lot of embroidery involved, I decided to use medium weight cutaway stabilizer behind each block. Initially, I had calculated 8 yards of satin and chiffon. Half way through embroidering the blocks, I realised that it would not be enough. How many shades of ecru are there? Believe me, there are more than I can count on my two hands. For the life of me, I couldn’t find the same color ecru anywhere. Not only that but I had to also find the same chiffon! After weeks of trying to find the satin and chiffon….in several states, I might add, it was apparent that I would have to come up with another plan, or start my embroidery again. As each block took over three and a half hours to stitch out, there was no way that I was going to start over.
I finally decided upon a satin and chiffon, which came as close to the original colors as possible, with the thought that I can stagger the new blocks with the old, making it look natural. Actually, that is a trick I learned a long while back and the whole effect looked very natural. Came time to put the blocks together, I had to make a decision about the fraying of the fabric. Light bulb went off and I decided to line each block with muslin. Instead of joining the blocks on the sewing machine, I decided to use the serger. By the time all the blocks were joined, it became apparent that this cover was going to be extremely heavy.
The border demanded another decision…stipple quilt it or leave it plain. Placing a sample piece of stipple quilted block next to the finished center, I decided to go for a linear faux quilted look. Since the blocks had stabilizer and muslin added to the back, the border needed to have the same weight. A light weight batting solved that problem. Every time I would take the cover to the sewing table, I groaned under its weight. Finally, I decided, it would be much easier to place my serger on the carpet and save my shoulders and the cover. Once the borders were attached, I laid it out on the carpeted floor to add the back side. For the back, I decided to use two layers of natural muslin, with an embroidered continuous border between the button holes. Not only would that match up with the designs on the front, but it would also add a bit of a twist to the plain button holes. I was lucky to find buttons that almost matched the flowers in the designs. Not only did that, but the buttons were in ecru as well! The label was stitched directly onto the muslin as well.
Once the back was placed right sides matching to the top, I realised that I was in major trouble! To square up the cover, I would have to get it up to my cutting table and as heavy as it was already, there was no way that I was going to be able to keep the layers together. It was the slowest of marking and trimming that I have ever done….with my cutting mat on the carpet and my quilting tape measuring across the width and lenght…every other inch of the 100 inches! John kept saying that he has never seen any one square up anything in this manner. Well, as I told him…he has not met any quilters. Quilters in general have a way of tackling any problem that may come along. Once squared up, I started to pin up the corded trim around the cover, only to find that the multi-colored beige trim didn’t look right with the cover, or should I say the cover didn’t look right with the trim. Whichever way, it was apparent that the trim was not going to work. Another decision to make! After trying several different samples, I placed the satin without the chiffon overlay next to the cover. The cover popped up and my decision was made.The cover is beautiful and I love it. Hopefully it will enhance the bed of the bride and groom (2 years old) and make memories for their future generations. Lessons learned myself from this….never start a quilt project without calculating the yardage. Moreover, always buy more than what will be needed!
Here are a couple of my favorite photographs of 2010. The picture of yours truly with two of my best friends, Carolyn and Evanlee taken at the Sewing and Quilt Expo, Atlanta, GA, is one of my favorites. The show will remain memorable as that is when I lost most of my samples from the back of my truck! The picture on the left is of my favorite actress, whom I was able to meet this year. Shabana Azmi, an Indian actress, is a world class artist, and it was my greatest joy to meet and see her one person show this year. The picture on the right is my baby! I’m not sure how this is possible but Miss Clara stuck out her tongue when I asked if I could take her last picture for 2010. I wonder if there was a message there!
To all my friends and readers, I wish you a Happy New Year! May 2011 bring you joy, happiness and good times. May you have good health, good friends and lots of laughter. For the machine embroiderers, may all your embroideries stitch out beautifully, your bobbin thread never run out when the design is almost completed and the needles never break. For the sewers, may your machines always stitch a perfect straight stitch, may your quilts/garments/and any other item that you are sewing always be perfect.
I would also like to thank everyone for their lovely emails and notes regarding the gift 2010. I appreciate all of them and the kind inquiries about John. John and I both thank everyone.
Goodbye 2010, hello 2011! Hugs, Sadia