Tuesday, 15 June 2010

No Thanks

Side note: Ah, it's difficult to blog while the world cup is broadcast live on the web... this is the one time I wish I had two monitors :)

At a recent yard sale, I had some baby quilts with me and a lady approached me wondering if I could help her by 'fixing' two of her quilts. It turns out they were quilts that her late mother had made. One quilt needed the backing replaced since it was torn in several places and the other was only 1/3 hand-quilted and needed to be finished and bound.

I checked the quilts out and even did a bit of hand-quilting, but in the end, I decided against this job for a bunch of reasons, the biggest one being that the quilts were absolutely smoky. I had aired them out for over a week with no marked success. I really really hate cigarette smoke and was disgusted at my hands and clothes smelling like cigarettes after an hour of having the quilt on my lap.

This is the quilt that needed hand-quilting:

The flower petals are all hand appliqued, and some of the applique basting stitches are still in the petals.

The quilting is simply stitch-in-the-ditch around the sashing and around the petals.

The quilting stitches in the quilt were fairly large, and I wondered about that until I did one block. Light-bulb moment: the quilt is so thick, it's really difficult to make small stitches by rocking the needle up and down. The loft of the poly batting is quite high, and for some strange reason there are TWO backing sheets, one that feels like an old flanelette, the other a cotton sheet. Makes for a very heavy quilt and extraordinarily tough hand-quilting - my fingers suffered!

After basting the quilt, It took me an hour and a half to complete one block, and that meant that the quilting of the quilt alone would cost more than twice of what the lady was willing to pay. The binding would come on top of that! Aside from all that, the backing and batting materials are about 2" short of the quilt top at the other end. That would be a nightmare to deal with and still match the original fabrics. I really wanted to help this lady with her quilts since they mean a lot to her, but I just didn't enjoy working on the quilt. The green background fabric is either polyester or a poly mix, but not a fabric I like under my fingers...

The second quilt was made of massive half-square triangles using the green fabric and a make-believe pieced-looking multi-coloured fabric (is it legal to put that many hyphenated words in a row???).

The quilt is tied, not quilted and the binding is massive (you'll see farther down).

This is the quilt that needed the backing fixed because of the torn center.

The owner had a flanel bed sheet and wanted me to just put it on top of the old one and redo the binding around it. Sounded simple, but then how would the new backing be attached to the quilt in the middle? I'd have to either re-tie it or add some quilting, and that would involve many layers of fabrics to quilt through again. This quilt also has a second sheet inside the backing sheet for some reason.

Nope, not my idea of fun and relaxed quilting!

So I'm learning how to say no, quite a process, because I have this strange idea that I'm unhelpful if I say no. But I gotta do what I've gotta do, and besides being sensitive to the cigarette smell, I have a lot more fun projects on the go quilting-wise :) I dropped them off yesterday - no problem!


Nichole said...

good for you to say no to a project that you were not interested in completing! it sounds like it would not have been the most enjoyable project either.

Anne at Film and Thread said...

Yuck! There doesn't seem like there could be anything much worse than smoky quilts. Definitely a good idea to abandon the idea of fixing them.

Crispy said...

I would have sent them back too. I wonder why she felt the need for two backings?


Bella Linguini said...

Good for you for saying no! It's really difficult when you want to help someone out but the work is tedious (and stinky). That sounds like it would have turned what you love to do into something you dreaded.

*laugh* That reminds me of my mom saying she should give me her quilt tops to sandwich and quilt. I asked her if she was going to pay me and she said no. Immediately my step-dad jumped in and said "you pay a woman now to do that so why wouldn't you pay your daughter?" Thank goodness for my step-dad or I may have agreed to do it for free!

Rebekah said...

That was sweet of you to see if you could help her out. But, it's good that you ended up saying no. I couldn't handle working with a smoky quilt either. After all, quilting should be fun, right?