Tuesday, March 9, 2021

Marshal: A Quilt with Scars



I finished basting my Jen Kingwell's Marshal. I've actually finished the basting over a week ago, but am just now posting about it. This quilt definitely has a story behind it. I used Tula Pink fabrics in mine along with assorted grays.


The quilt pattern called for it to look like the above. But this arrangement wasn't speaking to me.

I had my mastectomy in November, 2018. Marshal came out as a block of the month pattern in Quiltmania magazine in January, 2019. I thought this would be a great hand piecing and applique project during my recovery. My arms and shoulders were not ready for machine sewing for a few months. But I could sit and stitch these pieces as I felt like it. This became my recovery project. 

Later in the year I saw the finished pattern and had a letdown. It just wasn't ME. I ended up showing to a group of friends and they helped me figure out this arrangement. So then I had to figure out how to stitch it together.

I ended up appliqueing a big section to a large square of the background fabric. The I sewed on the borders. BUT! BUT! BUT! But....

The quilt top didn't lay flat. Uh oh. BIG uh oh. I had too much extra fabric in the background areas. At this point we were living at the lake. I don't have a big floor area there to spread it out and no design wall. I thought about taking the borders off and starting over, but I really didn't want to do that. But I did the best I could and ended up making some tucks in areas and stitched them by machine - sort of like darts. The busy background worked well for this - you don't see them. 

But once we moved into this new home a year ago and I pulled it back out, it still wasn't flat. UGH! And this is why I didn't send it out to be quilted. I knew it would need some extra attention.

So when I started basting it, I was careful to have a long ruler at hand, squaring it up as I went. All was going well until I got the the end. Lots of extra background. So I squared up the border at that end and then dealt with the big puff in the background. A bit of tucking and pinning. A bit of rearranging. But with the quilt mostly basted, I couldn't easily take it to the sewing machine to make the dart. So I simply hand stitch the loooong, curvy tuck in place. And now the quilt is FLAT and SQUARE!


You have to look VERY closely to see the darts and tucks. But you probably won't find them.



Can you see a long tuck?



There is a long tuck just below the word 'BLESSINGS'. Can you see it? I will say that using this background fabric was the real blessing! The tucks do not stand out! 

I found it serendipitous that this was my breast cancer journey quilt. I have SO many scars now. But they don't stand out. And you don't see them. I know they are there, just like on this quilt.

I'm planning some heavy duty custom quilting based on a class I took virtually from Claudia Pfeil. It will take a LONG time. But I'm in no rush. Maybe I will name the quilt, 'Blessings.'

Stay safe!

4 comments:

  1. Good name for this quilt, Julia. That was quite a feat you performed to make it flat and square. I like your version better than the original. Blessings,

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