Around the World in 8 years

“Make a Trip Around the World,” she said. “It’s easy,” she said.

I don’t recall if she said it was fun, but the plan for a quick baby gift that could be completed in a weekend was delayed by, well let’s just say delayed by life. I wonder if the blessing of quick and easy also carries the ’round-to-it curse, as in, if I can finish it at any time, someday I’ll get around to it. It would be easier if I hadn’t lost the directions twice. Or forgotten which color was the center square. Or if I’d written any notes other than swatches taped to a piece of paper numbered 1 through 6.

Recently that quilt became a priority without the deadline of a new baby in the family.

Much of my time has been focused on designing and sewing the WPA sampler quilt, finishing the Grandma’s Hankie quilt for my aunt, and working my stepdaughter’s wedding quilt. I promised my aunt her long overdue quilt by the end of the summer and the wedding is in September.

Why would a crib quilt suddenly pop to the top of the list? Because I discovered a quilt shop not too far away rents time their longarm quilting machine.

I’ve quilted on my sewing machine with mixed results. Smaller quilts fared better than larger, bed sized quilts. I want the wedding quilt to have even stitches and no puckers and planned on sending it out to be quilted. Instead, I can do it myself on the quilt shop’s longarm. I can’t use the machine until I’ve had the first lesson and I need a small project for practice. They recommend “a crib sized quilt or table runner.”

I spent two hours arranging the strips of squares on my sewing room floor making sure they were all in the right order before sewing them together. Working on the floor is common practice with my design work. I’ve seen pictures of design walls, grand places where blocks are tacked up and rearranged for visual pleasure. While the room I sew in has dedicated space for separate cutting and sewing tables, it also has a workbench where my husband handcrafts guitars. When I have a larger quilt I need to step back from for a good look, I lay the quilt on the living room floor and lean over the banister halfway up the stairs. 

I completed the top, had my longarm lesson, and practiced driving the longarm. I wanted to get a sense of how long it takes and schedule my time because the wedding is September 1 and I want to have the quilting completed and the binding on by mid-August. In two weeks I’ll trek back through the Pennsylvania back roads to the quilt shop with the Hankie quilt and drive the longarm again. In the meantime, I’m working on the wedding quilt, which feels overwhelming when I’m cutting 240 rectangles in half on the diagonal, but doesn’t look so bad stacked up next to the sewing machine.


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