Friday, January 28, 2011

Marley's chains

In the midst of moving ahead with all the exciting projects for the farm, I've come to realize that there are many unfinished projects whispering, sometimes shouting "What about me?" Though I hesitate to say I made a new year's resolution to finish everything in 2011 that I've previously started, I do have a nearly painless plan to choose one item at a time and take it in hand in the evenings when Anne and I are watching a movie, especially one I don't need to pay too much attention to. (The nice thing about this plan is we can always go in reverse with the film and catch the bits either of us missed while concentrating on our handwork.) This morning I took the time to photograph two of the things I've finished in January and it struck me as I was preparing this entry that my unfinished projects are very much like Marley's chains, the things that weigh us down that we've brought upon ourselves.
So here are my January completions.
First, my grandmother's crocheted tablecloth. (Displayed for the photo shoot only, lying across my bed here at the farm.)

My father's mother bore 8 children. She died less than 2 weeks after her husband when I was 12. I remember her as quiet, serious, almost sad. I wish we had had conversations about things girls like to talk about. I was just one of her 24 grandchildren. She always pronounced my name incorrectly, calling me Sharilyn. Curiously that memory has become very precious to me.
When I was grown and with children of my own, for some reason 3 of her hand crocheted tablecloths came to be in my possession. I guess because I was the only one in the family who could crochet! Each was identical except for the trim color. Each was badly stained and full of holes where the crochet cotton had been damaged. I gently washed all three, painstakingly repaired them, and then gave the blue and purple ones to my sisters. I kept, used, and laundered the green one over and over. Needless to say, that lovely tablecloth was quickly becoming too fragile for everyday. The last time I washed it I put it away until I could repair it once again. I brought it with me to the farmhouse thinking it would be a lovely sight on a table here with a nice garden bouquet perhaps displayed in an enamelware pitcher or a glass oil lamp base. Maybe looking at all the garden catalogs of flower seeds was the catalyst. Maybe it's the quickly growing collection of embroidered handkerchiefs I've been finding at the local antique stores that has stirred my love of everything handmade from my childhood. It became my very first finished object in this new year. I wonder how many links on my ponderous chain were dissolved with this accomplishment?

And my second item!
Anne has been almost obsessed with finishing her current quilt. It is coming along absolutely beautifully. I have to give her credit for inspiring me to finish a miniature quilt top I started in a class I took at Quilters Destination. I had bought the pattern years ago hoping to learn the technique of paper piecing.
This video gives you an idea of the technique.

Patti's shop was offering a class and was using the exact pattern I already had (MH Designs #MH922, Floral Wreath.) I registered immediately! I fell in love with the technique. As I mentioned in my entry about my paper passion , the patterns work just as well for paper quilts. Wahoo!
Here is the now completed quilt top which measures only 15 inches square.

If you look closely at the block in the bottom left hand corner, the rectangular white on white print piece looks darker than the rest of the quilt. I removed the paper behind this piece.  I still have all the rest to remove, but I'll save that job for evening when I'm in front of the video screen. When all the paper is removed I'll decide how to quilt it. But all the piecing is done. I can't wait to do another mini quilt, and now I won't worry about all the UFOs still calling.
Because now, Marley, I'm already feeling so much lighter.

1 comment:

  1. Sharon -
    Marley's Chains - I love that!
    Such a wonderful feeling to actually finish a project. I think we need to celebrate that feeling more!
    What a beautiful tablecloth. I have a large crochet tablecloth from my grandmother also, but it, too, has holes and some damage. I don't crochet myself, but may offer to pay a friend to repair it.
    Your paper piecing is just lovely. How patient you are! I really hope you'll show it again when it is quilted!
    I admire the progress you are making!