Saturday, January 31, 2009

Some hand quilting comments

Steadfast and Faithful c2000
approx 50" x 57" overall shot

Steadfast and Faithful is one of two pieces - the other being "Lying Fallow" - that were made to be part of "Celebrate Millenium" - a travelling quilt exhibit sponsored by the Presbyterian Church of Canada from May 2000 - July 2002 to Celebrate the Jubilee Year. It is a portrait of Covenanter Church in Grand Pre, Nova Scotia. Investigating it's history also gave me more information about my own personal past during the process. Covenanter was built between 1804 and 1811. There is lots more information about it but I won't expand on it in this post. It is a National Historic Monument and a NS Provincial Heritage Site. It is a companion piece for Lying Fallow, also part of the Celebrate Millenium exhibit. It was also selected as part of the 2004 Grand National - Constructions at the Kitchener Waterloo Art Gallery and the 2004 Tactile Architecture Exhibit in Houston, TX and travelled for a year before returning home.

Steadfast and Faithful was completely hand done except for machine stitching the binding to the front of the quilt. It was enlarged from a smaller photo and was the first time iit was enlarged via computer. Previously I did my enlarging using a photocopier and the cut and paste method. This meant I would often have several sizes of the same "pattern" which has come in handy on more than one occasion.

The reason I am posting about this piece is that I was chatting in QuiltChat about tiger tape and mentioned that I used to to create larger stitches in my work. It is also a method of helping quilters achieve even stitching in their work. In this piece I specificially used it to create the clapboard on the church. Had I known how long it was going to take when I decided to do this, I don't know that I would have started it! The additional stitching was done AFTER it returned back from it's 2 year plus journeys (at least 4 times) back and forth across Canada. I also requilted the trees, did the cross-hatching in the border, and added more quilting in several other areas. In all I figure I added between 60 - 100 hrs of quilting on this piece. It sure made all the difference!

clapboard detail handquilted using 12 stitches/inch Tiger Tape

close up of clapboard detail

detail of border quilting

The lower left hand corner shows some of the original motif quilting - the cross hatching was added about 3 yrs later. In the interim, I had fallen and torn the ligaments (or whatever) on the saddle joint between my thumb and index finger...........I was unable to do any hand stitching for about a year. This shows that I was able to return to my former quality of hand quilting as there is no difference in the hand stitching.

I was just remembering that I sent the intent to enter form in and a day or so later found out I was going to be moving in 6 weeks as a suitable apt had become available. It was quite the journey to get these pieces done and off to the co-ordinator. In fact, I almost didn't finish Steadfast and Faithful but decided that it's historic value to the exhibit as the oldest extant Presbyterian Church in Canada (meaning it's still being used as a church) was important enough to ask for an extension. I remember sitting in a cleared space amongst the boxes in my house and spending hours stitching to get it done. I think I even slept on the sofa cushions as I didn't want to take the time to makes a larger space to open up the sofa bed. It was an interesting two weeks to say the least. I did manage to get it to her in time for it to be shown with all the others at the World Ecumenical Conference being held in Montreal in May 2000.

Flo, thanks for the trip down memory lane!

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