Cat's Cradle Quilt and Future Plans
I have been working on this vintage Cat's Cradle quilt top for several weeks now. When I purchased it I didn't realize how badly out of square it was. Most vintage tops are not square, so I was expecting an issue with squaring up the top, but not to the extent that this top was.
Above is the "after" picture. After I spent hours desperately trying to quilt this top "as is" and making it square in the quilting process. I finally gave up and decided it needed to be deconstructed in order to be saved. Luckily, I only had to remove the borders to get it back to square.
It is my opinion that this top was left to hang somewhere for years after it was made! Maybe on a hanger, but most likely the center of the quilt was pulled through a decorative hanger and mounted on a wall as a decoration. The reason I think this is because the center of the quilt is faded and it measured 10 inches wider and longer through the middle of the quilt than the edges at it's worst point.
The borders have been discarded and new borders applied. You can still see some fullness in the alternate blocks, but not so much that it can't be dealt with while quilting.
Currently I am designing the quilting for the quilt. I have finished designing the alternate blocks, the setting triangles and corner triangles, and the outer border. I have a plan in my head for the pieced blocks and the two smaller borders. I have posted videos of the entire process on my You Tube channel. https://youtu.be/eeonw_vC9lU is where you will find the video of the process I went through to decided how to deal with the top.
https://youtu.be/gWYmSTUtov0 is the video of how I transferred the designs onto the alternate blocks.
Viewers of my You Tube channel have asked for the patterns I created for this top. I currently don't sell my designs because I haven't had the time or energy to figure out how to do that. Perhaps in the future I will. It may require re-opening my business and focus on patterns instead of longarm quilting. I'm not sure what all it will entail, but at the moment I don't have the energy to get that started. I am feeling better than I have in a long time - chemotherapy really knocked me down in 2018, but I need to take things slowly for a while. I still tire out easily. In the meantime, here is a photo of the setting triangle feather that I drew.
As for my future plans: I have been trying to figure out ways to make the lighting better in videos that show the longarm quilting. That has been a struggle, but I do have a new light that I am going to try on the next video. It is very bright and it attaches to the longarm machine and has a flexible neck so I can angle the light directly onto the quilt top. I am so hoping this will work!
I also have a list of videos I want to make and will focus on working through that list.
I have been reorganizing my studio this month - actually I started right after Christmas. I went through all my fabric stash and removed fabric that I wasn't going to use and all those little scraps that I saved "just in case"! They all have a new home now. The fabric I kept was folded and placed back in the drawers after being sorted by color. I always stored my fabric by color, but the drawers were stuffed! Now the fabrics have room to breath.
The shelf where I store my quilting projects has been reorganized, too. It is much easier to locate the project I want now.
We replaced a cabinet over our kitchen stove to make more room for the microwave, so the old cabinet is slated to be hung on the wall over my domestic sewing machine to store the supplies I use for that machine. Now to get my hubby to hang it for me!
About all that is left is to go through my book shelves and weed out books I no longer use, then clean the studio.
So, organization is the keyword this month. Balancing family, quilting, and my paying job is quite the job in itself. I've pulled out my old planner from 2017 and am making new pages for 2019. I didn't use it in 2018 because the cancer treatment was about all I could focus on. I was able to keep track of all the appointments in my phone calendar. But this year there is much more to juggle. So, the planner is coming back out to help keep me organized.