Thursday, December 16, 2010

The One Where Elizabeth Does Machine Quilting for Hire And Decides To Make A Last-Minute Gift

The supreme accomplishment is to blur the line between work and play. –Arnold Toynbee

I have this cute friend, Pink. Pink's father-in-law passed away very unexpectedly last spring and so Pink gathered up all of his clothes and began cutting them up to make quilts {and the most adorable stuffed animals} to remember him by, as gifts for his family members. She started with a lovely quilt for her husband for his birthday. And she just finished two more quilt tops for Christmas; one for her husband's sister and one for her husband's brother. She asked me if I would machine quilt them for her. I had to stop and think about that. My sewing time is my 'therapy' time. I've done sewing for hire before and when I'm on someone else's deadline it loses all its fun-ness and becomes work and I hate it. But I decided that a little extra money for Christmas might be a good thing, so I agreed to it.

And then I procrastinated for a whole week after I got the quilts from Pink. I think I was afraid of messing them up, or possibly having it take so long that the hourly rate would be laughable {we agreed on a price per inch, like they do it at the quilt shops :cool:}. But finally the time came where I could no longer procrastinate, because if I did, then Pink wouldn't have time to get them bound and wrapped up for Christmas. Nothing like a deadline to motivate me :rolleyes:. So Monday night, I got all set up and started quilting. It was marvelous. I was on a roll. And then my free motion foot cracked {it is a combination of plastic and metal} beyond repair, putting a serious crimp in my style. I was able to get a new foot on Tuesday, but had so many other things to do that I only got to the ¾-mark before I had to leave off for the night. I finished it up on Wednesday afternoon and am so happy with how it turned out.

I was enjoying myself so much that after I finished the first quilt, I got the second quilt basted and about ⅔ of the quilting finished on it before going to bed {admittedly a bit late} last night. I was up early this morning and had the quilting all finished by 9:15 am. And that makes two December finishes for me :biggrin:.

As I worked, and the crisscross pattern emerged in this second quilt, an idea began forming in my mind. I loved the thoughtfulness of the memory quilts that Pink had made for her family and was inspired by another blogger, Mary, who decided 12 days before Christmas that she was going to make a t-shirt quilt for her husband :bug eyes:. She posted yesterday to report her progress and she'll have that quilt finished by the weekend. I started thinking about a pile of old t-shirts and sweatshirts from Mr. Bug's Navy days that I came across while I was straightening the shelves in our closet a few months ago. There was a t-shirt quilt at the quilt show in town this summer and when I found Mr. Bug's shirts, I thought to myself, hmmmmm, these might make a neat t-shirt quilt . . . someday . . .

The tangibility of Pink's memory quilts and the quick progress of Mary's t-shirt quilt collided in my head and an insane idea for a quilt for Mr. Bug began to take shape. I knew I'd seen some US Navy themed fabric at Wal-Mart and so I went straight there {after work} today to get it. Only in my head, the print was opposite — the background was navy blue {because it is the Navy, after all} and the circles were red. And that threw off my plan. There were about eight yards left on the bolt, so I figured it would be safe for me to leave it and do a little shopping around and then come back, if necessary. Because who would decide to make a quilt {or use up those eight yards in some other way} with only nine days until Christmas? That is just plain crazy. I came home and clickety-clicked until I found the most fantastic Navy fabric ever. It was even on sale {if you think $8.89 a yard is a deal :rolleyes:}, so I ordered up 4½ yards of it. I'm crossing my fingers that they ship it tomorrow {their FAQ's said same-day, but I ordered after hours} and that the postal workers just know that I need that package on Monday, because this quilt is not going to be a gift for Mr. Bug for Christmas. It is going to be a gift for Mr. Bug's birthday, which is two days before Christmas :faint:.

You see, Mr. Bug has gotten the shaft on his last five birthdays. I'm always running around like a crazy person trying to get the last-minute Christmas things finished and he doesn't get much attention on his birthday. Besides that, I never know what to get Mr. Bug. He likes fancy video cards and mother boards and stuff like that and he likes to pick them out. That kind of takes me out of the whole gift giving process. I always get him a new pair of jeans {which I usually have to return because he doesn't like the cut or something} and a shirt or a sweater. But after 15 years, that gets kind of old. This year, I want to do something special. I only wish I would have thought of it, um, like, four months ago!

Today I got his shirts rough-cut and figured out the layout. I'll stop in at JoAnn's tomorrow to get some woven interfacing so that I can get that fused to the blocks and get them cut to exact size. Then I'll cross my fingers some more and hold my breath and hope that the fabric comes on Monday so that I can get the top put together. I want to quilt on Tuesday and bind and wash on Wednesday. Is it possible to get this {and the sixty-eleven other things I need to do before Christmas} done? Yes. Is it likely? Let's just say that I might be wrapping up a partially-finished quilt for his birthday this year. And I'll have plenty of time to finish it for his next birthday :lol:.

P.S. Santa, if you're reading this, I would really love to find a long-arm quilting machine {and a room added onto my house to fit it in} under my tree this year. xo –El

10 comments:

Amber said...

Oh the joy of starting projects at the last minute! :) Maybe I'll see you at Joanns tomorrow -- I'll be there too.

P. said...

You are on a roll, Elizabeth! Two quilts quilted before Christmas (one would be impressive enough, but two!), and now you're aiming to make one for before Christmas. Whew! When will you sleep?

I do think it's an excellent idea, though, and I hope it all goes smoothly. My hubs gets the short end of the stick too with his birthday the day after Christmas. I forget until about halfway through the day, usually, poor guy.

Good luck on your project(s)!

Wanda said...

I am sitting here feeling sorry for myself because I am wondering if I will have enough time in the rest of today to put the binding on a baby quilt for my daughter's shower tomorrow and then I read your accomplishments that are taking place right in the middle of Christmas and well you just gave me hope and I feel all better. Of course I can! Love all that you are doing!

QuilterMary said...

I'm in awe ... a t-shirt quilt 2 days before Christmas AND you quilt on your sewing machine!? You Go Girl!!!

pinksuedeshoe said...

You are wonder woman! I am so excited to see these today. And I can't wait to see their faces when they open them on Christmas! It might be my best idea ever. Good luck on your quilt, I'll be sending speedy speedy stitching thoughts your way!

Quilting in My Pyjamas said...

Oh I like the new doodads on your blog E.

Are you insane? You sound like me last year still binding a quilt at 3am on Christmas Eve.

I am sure with your determination and guts it'll be finished. See you when you surface for some air. Talk about pressure, but Im sure Mr. Bug will love it.

Michelle said...

Wow! Way to go on the quilting for Pink. It looks so nice. :-)

Love the idea for the quilt for your husband, but your deadline is insane! I'm keeping fingers AND toes crossed it all goes as planned.

Going back to admire your new blog look. I'm thinking I might try a change for the New Year, but it will be tough because I really like the one I have. :-)

whimsyfox said...

Crazy woman! ;)

whimsyfox said...

I'm trying to make a fabric wallhanging to fill a large empty frame my husband made for me 10 yrs ago that has been hanging empty in the entryway since we moved in 2 1/2 yrs ago. I wonder what people think when they come in and stare at an empty frame on the wall? So I thought I was nuts starting that today. (had sketched the design and picked fabrics last month) You take the cake....

It will be awesome to see though. =D

Rhonda said...

the quilts look great!