18 September 2012

Sewing Hearts Over the Holes

When I have posted this line periodically over the years, it has often been mistaken for metaphor; when in fact, I am actually sewing hearts over holes. I finished my bed quilt in 1997; it is a simple squares quilt made from 1930's reproduction prints in bubblegum colours. The first holes appeared about six years ago. Seven hearts over seven holes. (Shown above when you could still see the squares.) Things wear out, and more holes kept appearing. Then the binding wore out, but instead of replacing it, I patched it. At first, I tried to stick to reproduction prints of the same era, but gave up on that, because there were just too any awesome prints. I began collecting quarter yard pieces to make new hearts; retiring fabrics as I didn't want to populate the quilt with any one fabric too heavily. The hearts overlapped, and holes keep appearing. It is the endless project that I can't stop working on. The worst is when I am sick in bed, and can see the tufts of broken threads at eye level.

This last spring the patches of the binding were worn through, and it was time to replace it. I dreaded doing this, because it would involve taking the whole binding off, along with the bits of hearts that overlapped onto it.

Once I decided to commit to taking the binding off, I knew that I would have to be without my quilt, so I chose a week of hot days. I know quilting in the heat doesn't sound very much fun, but those hot days I am not generally productive, as silk and heat do not mix!

Before I could bind the quilt, I had to cover all the holes where the binding would overlap. Turns out, there were starting to be holes on the back too.

For a long time I knew that rebinding was inevitable, I decided that I wanted a red binding. The awesome owner of Cool Cottons talked me back into doing a bias binding (I had almost decided that it wouldn't matter, because this would be a work in progress forever). I have taken this quilt in a few times over the years to pick fabrics for it. It is almost like a history of her shop! I have gotten fabric from all over for this quilt: leftovers from my days at evil Daisy Kingdom, Josephine's (where I have been shopping since I was a small child), Bolt to name a few. Friends have sent me paquets of scraps to add to it too. I end up at Cool Cottons the most, because it is the closest to my house.

Piper helped all along the way.

Of course I will be working on this forever. Every few weeks, I get out the newest stack of calico and start cutting out hearts.

I will post some variation of this literal line to twitter or elsewhere online, as I pin hearts over new holes to heal the wounds this well-loved quilt endures.

That is, if Piper will let me. It is after all, her quilt too.

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