It’s been a while since I wrote about the Great American Quilt but I had conflicts at poignant parts of the process, I had to work, then there was a wake, unfortunately life happens. But during those times the raffle quilt committee moved forward to hand off the quilt top to one of our members Emma Everett who quilted it on a long arm machine. We like to use our members for these projects. She was kind enough to raise her hand and we are sooooooo appreciative of her time and artistic vision.
When you take your first quilt class you will find out about all these techniques. Listed below are the things a long arm quilter needs to complete your quilt. My friend and quilt mentor first described this process to me as, “If you are going to spend hundreds of hours, in making a beautiful top, give it to someone whom has a long arm. You’ll be much happier.” I whole heartedly agree. But, to the purist, our guild will be offering at one of our meetings to learn how to quilt by hand. Can’t wait to take that class.
This is why we offer a raffle quilt, to bring opportunities such as learning to quilt by hand to our members. We take any and all members who would like to learn about quilting and all form of artistic sewing. At our last meeting a very distinguished artisan, author and blogger, Rachel Wetzler, presented a slide show called – “MY Story”. She shared a STUNNING selection of quilts.
We are also a philanthropic organization making baby quilts for the NICU at Advocate Sherman Hospital. Our next meeting is an exchange of fabrics in order to make baby quilts which will be due this November. We make these at our own cost.
Ok, enough about us. What do you have to do to get the top prepped for the long arm quilter.
The “quilting” of the quilt needs:
- a top – the blocks that everyone made and Sue Stanek pieced together with the borders
- a middle – a natural cotton fiber batting
- a backing – material we initially chose that compliments the top.
Emma met with Carlene Moeller and Sue and they discussed their ideas for the design of the quilting. Emma asked that the quilt back and batting be 3 inches larger than the quilt top on all sides. The extra fabric helps ease the stitches for shrinking as it is stitched.
There is an art form to designing patterns that fit within the blocks. Emma did a gorgeous job of highlighting the dynamics of the quilt. Let’s say you have a triangle. Are you going to just stitch lines or will you create a triangle flower?
Sue and Carlene together with Emma discussed the quilting of the larger open spaces, the larger light square in center of star and the large red half square triangles. All the smaller pieces, Emma suggested, would have the scallop stitching you can see on the quilt. As for the border, Emma asked if Carlene and Sue would like feathers. She would follow the curves of the vine in the border fabric and add feathers.
Sue and Carlene delivered the quilt to Emma on April 10. It was back in time for the April guild meeting after 18 hours of work. WOW!
Back in the day people would hand quilt their labors of love. Today, there are machines that can do amazing wonderful things with patterns on fabric. The machine is called a long arm. Judi Madsen of Green Fairy Quilts has wonderful videos, if you care to see them, on how to use a long arm. You can even see what a long arm looks like on her blog. It takes up a room. She has a lovely site and is expanding her business in yardage and notions. I really enjoy seeing young people enjoy sewing.
Moving on, Sue then started the binding. That’s almost 11 yards of binding because the quilt is 96″ x 96″. It was complete but not stitched down by the meeting night on April 24th. The binding was stitched down while watching the Black Hawks games, leaving a small part to finish at the Saturday bee in May. Pat Mesker and I swapped bodies and she was me at the Bee. I had to work.
The last thing to do is label the quilt. The name is Rhapsody in Red. The approximate cost (our cost) is $1,000, which honestly is on the very low side. There are appraisers who will appraise a quilt and depending upon the artistic work, the composition, the detail to perfection, quilting, and numerous other characteristics a quilt could appraise at $2,00 to $2,500. This is a piece of Americana art. We will have it displayed in many places till the drawing time of November 20, 20014. Winner need not be present to win. I’ll be posting those sites soon.
Our raffle quilt is ready to go. You can reach any member of the Algonquin Quilt Guild or contact me and I can get you tickets. They’re SUPER CHEAP! $1 for 1 and 6 for $5. The money raised goes for programs and projects that the Guild performs throughout the year. You can get ahold of me here or on my Facebook and we’ll get you the tickets promptly.
Stay tuned to viewing venues.