Wednesday, August 30, 2006
The Mariner's Compass That Time Forgot
Here’s more of the Mariner’s Compass quilt seen underfoot in the boots picture in my last post. This quilt has had a bit of a journey, including having languished as a forgotten UFO for several years.
At least ten years ago, I took a class with Chris Kirsch on drafting and sewing paper-pieced Mariner’s Compass blocks. I was deep in my Smithsonian phase then and loved the process and the blocks so much that I made four of them. I finished this top, and then folded it up on a shelf where it got buried in the pile of to-be-quilted-eventually projects.
A couple years ago, I ran into Chris at an area quilt show. She told me she was submitting a book proposal on the paper-pieced Mariner’s Compass technique, and if it were to be accepted, could she use my quilt in the book? I said, “What quilt?”
Gradually some little remote nagging memory began to surface. I dug through my UFO pile and what should I find but a queen-sized completed Mariner’s Compass top. I had to do the old forehead slap. It really takes an exceptionally addled brain to forget a quilt that was as labor-intensive as this one was.
But it needed work. The original outer border had matched the bedroom curtains, and in the meantime, the curtains had faded badly and had been replaced. I knew I needed to replace the quilt border before quilting it.
Some quilt shops stock all the newest fabrics and turn over their stock quickly. But thank goodness there are shops around that hang onto older fabrics. My favorite shop of this type is Quintessential Quilts in Reedsburg, Wisconsin. It’s in an old house filled with room after room of fabrics old and new. A friend and I trekked to Reedsburg (two and a half hours from here) and I found enough of one of the original fabrics (from RJR’s first Smithsonian repro collection) to make the border. Things were falling into place.That particular shop has saved at least three quilts for me thanks to their tending to hang on to some older fabrics. There are those who say that running out of fabric is a design opportunity, and it can be that. But sometimes you need what you need.
And that’s the story.