C’est Fini!! by Beverly Hicks Burch

When I first started hand quilting I hated it. It was laborious and I felt it took forever. I also, didn’t believe I was very good at it. So, I made a lot of tops. No, really a whole lot of tops…drawers full…

But, the inevitable had to come. To call my self a quilter, I had to quilt. Take into consideration I started quilting in 1986 before the current machine quilting firestorm took hold in the quilting world. As a matter of fact, when I first started quilting, machine quilting was frowned upon and considered “inferior”…something “real quilters” turned their noses up at. (More on that later.)

Also, I am a tenacious creature.Tall & Handsome says I have a knack for minutia. For example, I am a genealogist and when he watches me go through census records, he says he’d gnaw his arm off if he had to do that. I, on the other hand love the search…and discovery!

It would stand to reason at some point I would discover I truly love quilting. It began to develop when I realized the more I did it the better I became at it and the better I became, the more I liked it…it was kind of like a dog chasing its tail.

Then the cincher for me was when I entered my first local quilt show. This was a highly respected, well known and well attended show. I would have been thrilled with an honorable mention on one quilt. My chin had to be tied up like old Joseph Marley’s to keep it from dragging the floor when I went to the show the last day and I discovered every quilt I entered had won a ribbon, including several first place ribbons and a Best of Show.

A quilting lover (and maybe an addict) was born that day…

After founding and serving as President of the Heart of Dixie Quilt Guild, I developed an inclusive attitude about hand and machine quilting. This developed over time from attending regional and national quilt shows. When the first machine quilted quilt won Best of Show at the AQS show in Paducah, I knew we were in for some radical changes.

My feeling is this: Both quilts…hand quilted and machine quilted should be entered into quilt shows and appreciated, but should not compete against each other. They should be in separate categories and judged in their respective categories.

But, I digress…

Another thing I have discovered over time is…how quickly I am able to hand quilt a quilt!

With that said…C’est fini! Oui, Looking Through Grandmother’s Garden Window is finished…and hung. (Block designs are from Piece O’Cake Designs.) It took me way less than six months…way less…to hand quilt, add a rod pocket and apply binding to the top. A note here: Once I finish a quilt, I run it through the extra delicate cycle in the wash just to make sure any impurities and oils from the hands are removed. I then dry it. The end result is usually a quilt that looks antique.

I have been pleased with the results. I quilted in the ditch around the sashing to create and imply the panes of windows. Each block is quilted basically the same: the design is outline quilted to emphasize the design and the the background is quilted in diagonal lines spaced 1” apart. The diagonal lines represent sun rays coming in the windows.

Since 1986 I have developed chronic health issues…I had a second bout of non-smoking lung cancer in 1995 and lost 60% of my left lung. I’ve developed autoimmune disorders including but not limited to Sjogren’s Syndrome, fibromyalgia and osteoarthritis. Last year I was diagnosed with an aneurysm in my heart. Why do I tell you this? Two reasons…

First, I was always compliments on my very small stitches. People would ask if I had done them on a machine…they were that small. Now, because of the arthritis and other illness, my stitches may not be that small, but they’re not too shabby!

Second, if you too deal with chronic health issues…don’t give up!! Yes, it does hurt to quilt! Some days I just cannot do it and I confess to having to take pain medication…something I never had to do…not even 5 or 10 years ago. But, they say if you don’t use, you loose. So, for as long as I can, I’m going to keep using…

Besides…I still have those drawers full of tops that need quilting and I keep making more…

looking thru granmother's flower garden - finished B

Looking Through Grandmother’s Garden Window

looking thru grandmother's - block 5

Looking Through Grandmother’s Garden Window – block detail

looking thru grandmother's - border detail

Border Detail

looking thru grandmother's - quilting detail

Quilting Detail – my stitches now…

looking thru grandmother's - quilted backing

The quilted backing

© 2012 Beverly Hicks Burch All Rights Reserved

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