Perfection, it takes 10 years

Ten years ago I was early into my quilting adventures I was on a quilt shop hop and found a Thimbelberries block of the month called Pansy Park. I knew it was the perfect quilt for my mom. Perfect colors, perfect design, perfect size (KING! Yikes).

So I got it. And the fabric I’d need for backing, with a little extra for binding.

And pieced it. In just a few weeks. Hey, it was pre-Mr. Steam and pre mini-steams. I had LOTS of time!

But I really didn’t want to try quilting it on my home machine, and I wanted it to be completely made by me so I didn’t want to send it out to be quilted.

That was when my desire to have my own long arm started. THAT. ONE. QUILT.

Fast forward 9 years and 10 months and I got that long arm. But, I wanted that quilt for my mom to be PERFECT. I mean after all this is my MOM. The person who gave me so much, taught me so much, laughed and cried with me so much. It needed to be PERFECT.

So it couldn’t be my 1st quilt. I needed some practice.

But that whole time I was thinking about Pansy Park. How would it best be quilted? I even brought it with when I had my classes on my new long arm and asked the owner how she would quilt it.

It needed to be PERFECT.

I brought it with me to a class with Karen McTavish where she was giving quilting advice and asked how she would quilt it.

It needed to be PERFECT.

After each quilt that I finished on Millie I got Pansy park out and laid it out. Stewing about how it should be quilted. Was I ready? Did I have a plan for the quilting?

It took 4 quilts and 9 months before I felt ready (that and the pressure of Christmas coming up). So I put it on Millie. But I had NO PLAN. I hadn’t decided anything.

I didn’t know what I was going to do in the borders. No plan for the sashing. Was stumped on how the handle the blocks. I was torn on my options for the setting triangles.

Not Your Normal Steam - Pansy Park

And then as I loaded the quilt, the plan started.

First were the borders.

For the large floral border, I was torn between piano keys, tracing the flowers, or a mix of piano keys and some curved cross hatching.

I had not measured the borders correctly. There were more waves in those borders than on Lake Michigan on a windy day. I knew that piano keys would eat up that extra fabric better than almost anything else. Plus I thing piano keys really give an elegant feel to a quilt. So, piano keys in the border it was. And since I had to finish the top border before I could do anything else, it gave me time to think about the rest of it.
Not Your Normal Steam - Pansy Park

For Second border, I wanted to treat the trees like they were applique. I wanted them to pop out. So I needed some tight stitching to push the cream part. Again, I had lots of ideas in my head.

Pebbles? Ug, they take so long.

Meander? Not very original.

Paisley? PERFECT. I love how they look. They are pretty fast. And mom loves them. DONE!
Not Your Normal Steam - Pansy Park

The next set of borders I stared at for a LONG time. The fabric was too busy to see feathers (green meander & small pansy). I could mimic the meander in the fabric. Again, not original. But I REALLY wanted to do feathers. REALLY. And since my feathers could use some practice, well, feathers it was!

I wasn’t kidding that the fabric was too busy. This is the best shot to see the feathers, you have to look on the backing fabric. And that was PERFECT. I got to do feathers and you couldn’t see them! Grin.
Not Your Normal Steam - Pansy Park

Once the decision to do feathers on that double border, the rest of the design built from that. FEATHERS. This quilt I would practice my feathers. Each area I decided to do a different style of feather.

For the pansy vine I did a hook feather. And for the block border I did a 1/2 feather.
Not Your Normal Steam - Pansy ParkSo now that all the borders were planed (and partially quilted). That only left the blocks and the setting triangles.

Echo stitch all the piecing? That was going to be a lot of starting and stopping.

Add modern quilting that built off the piecing but didn’t align with the piecing? This quilt didn’t really lend itself to modern.

Stitch in the ditch? Not very exciting.

I needed something to pull in all the curves from the feathers, but not feathers. And I had a template that was just right.

Not Your Normal Steam - Pansy ParkFinally the quilt was done!

Not Your Normal Steam - Pansy ParkThen it was time for the big reveal. Christmas.

Mom thought that I had given her a wall hanging and wrapped up some other gifts in the middle.
Not Your Normal Steam - Pansy Park
This is too big to be a wall hanging! IS THIS A KING?
Not Your Normal Steam - Pansy Park
Oh wow! (yea, you see that look on her face?!)
Not Your Normal Steam - Pansy Park
And then the second the quilt was all the way open one of the dogs walked right up and laid down. And we all started laughing. It was PERFECT!Not Your Normal Steam - Pansy ParkNow don’t get me wrong the individual components were FAR from perfect. My feathers still need work. The only reason the borders lay flat is because of the piano keys. Some of the quilting in the blocks left much to be desired.

But everything fit together the combination of the quilting, the colors, the piecing. I made it from start to end. And most importantly my mom loved it. It was perfect.


About NotYourNormalSteam

I love to make things, food, paper, fabric, the medium doesn’t really matter. I am also an obsessive planner. The day after Christmas I am already working out plans for the next year.
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