Saturday, October 8, 2011

Sew While You Wait

Nobody likes to wait.  But it's a necessary evil of life.  Perhaps the time spent in a surgical waiting room is the worst.  

It actually wasn't that bad for me while Beloved was having his knee replacement surgery.  Yes, I will admit that I was a little nervous, and I had shed a few tears before that day when worrisome possibilities about what could happen tried to plague my mind.  But it wasn't heart or brain surgery, and knee replacements are becoming almost a fad, it seems.  It could have been a lot worse.  

Since we decided two months prior to the surgery to go through with it, I had a lot of time to think about what I wanted to do with myself during the nearly 3 hours that would transpire between the before-surgery-good-bye-kiss and watching him get rolled into his hospital room.  

I like to do things with my hands, something simple so I can keep the fingers busy while keeping my mind alert and listening to [whatever].  Elizabeth Elliot has taught Christian homemakers to keep their hands busy so they can meditate on Scripture, pray, or listen to a teaching tape, things like that.

I Thessalonians 4:11-12 ... study to be quiet, and to do your own business, and to work with your own hands, as we commanded you; that ye may walk honestly toward them that are without, and that ye may lack nothing.

My long-time friends know that I have been sewing since I was a little girl (age 9) and the past nearly 30 years have kept me busy with quilting when I wasn't occupied with cooking, cleaning house, and wiping runny noses.  Earlier this year I put away my quilting, supposedly for good, because a serious shoulder injury in 2008 had left a permanent disability that affects my enjoyment of quilting.  However, quilting has been my passion for too long and I decided to change my personal expectations of the hobby and get back into it.  Beloved's surgery was the catalyst for that.

Before the surgery, I worked very hard on assembling a "snuggle quilt" (45 inches square) for the daughter of one of my nieces.  My goal was to get the quilt to the place where I could hand-sew the binding onto the back of the quilt while sitting in the hospital.

When I told Surfer Girl of my plans to sew in the waiting room, she confirmed my thinking with the following:  I never schedule an oil-change or road trip unless I have a quilt binding to attach!  It's such an efficient use of time!  :)  I just pack up a large tote bag (like the beach bags you have sent me).  I fold up the quilt & place it in the bag first, then I have a little sewing "to go baggie" with my needle, thread and a small pair of scissors.  

Quilt blocks have been sewn together;
bent safety pins are very helpful
for holding the 'quilt sandwich' together
in preparation for machine quilting.

The step of pinning the quilt densely is time-consuming and
worth every single minute!
You don't want the top,  middle, and bottom layers crawling apart!!!
 I spread this out on the breakfast bar in my kitchen and
watched an entire afternoon of Food Network
 while doing this tedious chore.
As a result I was delightfully entertained and
we ate well with the new recipes I saw demonstrated!!

The next step was the machine-quilting,
which I chose to do on our breakfast table -- again
while listening to the Food Network!
The smooth surface of the table helped the weight
of the quilt to slide along easily as the machine stitched.  

Grammy Bear stitches straight lines, about 1/4 inch from the seams,
in both directions, all over the quilt's surface.
Upon close inspection you can see a pink rubber finger
on my left hand.  It is helpful to wear these "fingers"
on any or all of the fingers, or a quilting glove
 to give the seamstress helpful traction while
moving the quilt through the machine. 

This is a fabulous tip straight from Surfer Girl (my quilting daughter).
Use the largest size metal hair barrettes (12 in a package at Walgreens)
to hold the binding in place instead of straight pins.
Place the clips about 3 inches apart.
You can buy these at quilting stores, too.
I suspect they cost less at Walgreens.
This makes the project much more comfortable to transport.
This is how it looked when I took the quilt to the hospital.

Beloved models the completed baby quilt the day after his surgery.
He was using oxygen when the picture was taken.


Always label your quilts!!!  (this is my soap box issue)
I have altered this picture for the sake of my great-niece's privacy.
I use the charming illustrations from the quilt label books by Kim Churbuck.
With the aid of a light box and a waterproof  pen,
trace out the design and add any information you want.*
ALWAYS put the name of the recipient, your name, and the date.
A quilt historian will someday thank you for this - even if you're dead by then!
Heat-set the ink and then hand-sew the label onto the back of the quilt.
*Some years ago I made a quilt for a newborn boy in our church.  I think he's about 7 years old now and both he and I go to different churches now.  However, his mother and I remain in contact via Face Book.  She wrote recently to say that he still enjoys his quilt and that the previous night he had read aloud to her the Bible verse I had written on the label.  Don't you know how that warmed my heart!!!

1 comment:

  1. The recipient is already enjoying her quilt!