Tuesday, 2 December 2014

Far Above Rubies

Amy is the daughter of friends. She is graduating from university this December and has already got a job to start in January, but it's in a community 134 km (about 83 miles) from her parents' home. So she will also be moving into her first apartment. To celebrate these milestones, I'm having a graduation/apartment-warming party for her. This quilt will be my gift to her.
When I started pondering what quilt to make for Amy, I came across this pattern. The title "Far Above Rubies" comes from a phrase in Proverbs 31:
10 Who can find a virtuous woman? for her price is far above rubies11 The heart of her husband doth safely trust in her, so that he shall have no need of spoil. 12 She will do him good and not evil all the days of her life. 13 She seeketh wool, and flax, and worketh willingly with her hands. 14 She is like the merchants' ships; she bringeth her food from afar. 15 She riseth also while it is yet night, and giveth meat to her household, and a portion to her maidens. 16 She considereth a field, and buyeth it: with the fruit of her hands she planteth a vineyard. 17 She girdeth her loins with strength, and strengtheneth her arms. 18 She perceiveth that her merchandise is good: her candle goeth not out by night. 19 She layeth her hands to the spindle, and her hands hold the distaff. 20 She stretcheth out her hand to the poor; yea, she reacheth forth her hands to the needy. 21 She is not afraid of the snow for her household: for all her household are clothed with scarlet. 22 She maketh herself coverings of tapestry; her clothing is silk and purple. 23 Her husband is known in the gates, when he sitteth among the elders of the land. 24 She maketh fine linen, and selleth it; and delivereth girdles unto the merchant. 25 Strength and honour are her clothing; and she shall rejoice in time to come. 26 She openeth her mouth with wisdom; and in her tongue is the law of kindness. 27 She looketh well to the ways of her household, and eateth not the bread of idleness. 28 Her children arise up, and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praiseth her. 29 Many daughters have done virtuously, but thou excellest them all. 30 Favour is deceitful, and beauty is vain: but a woman that feareth the Lord, she shall be praised. 31 Give her of the fruit of her hands; and let her own works praise her in the gates.
Amy is a Christian young woman and it is my wish for her to be a "Proverbs 31 woman." It's also my wish that, when the time comes, she will choose for her life companion a man who will recognize that her value is "far above rubies" and treat her accordingly. So I felt that this was the right quilt for Amy. The name of each block is actually derived from a story in the Old Testament. 
Amy's favourite colour used to be blue, but I double checked with her mother before choosing fabric for this quilt. "Teal" is now her favourite. Do you know how hard it is to find "teal" fabric, especially when you're shopping online? And to make sure that the fabrics you select will actually look good together when they arrive in the mail, and not just looking good on the computer screen? I ended up going with more aqua/turquoise than teal. As I mentioned in a previous post, one of the fabrics I selected was sold out by the time I made my purchase and I ended up making an alternate selection of a polka dot fabric. I just wasn't happy with it when it arrived, so bought a different fabric at my LQS. That's the light aqua fabric and I'm very happy with it. 
If you want to make this quilt, you'll want to print the templates out, even if you, like me, don't like using templates. Some of the blocks, like Job's Tears, have funky shapes, and some of them, like Garden of Eden, have really odd measurements. The weird thing about the templates is that the dotted lines for cutting did not show up when I printed them. I don't know if it's my printer, my computer or the templates that are the problem. Most of the blocks also have rotary cutting instructions, but they are not the easiest to follow. And some of these blocks are very challenging and definitely not ones I would want to do a whole quilt of.. Lots of bias seams and quite a few Y seams as well. 
When I did the Solomon's Puzzle block, I used my
Marti Michell Perfect Patchwork Template, Drunkard's Path, Package of Four. I've had it for a year and a half or longer and this is the first time I've used it. Believe it or not, I only had one pucker that I had to rip out. Beginner's luck? I actually found this block easier than some of the others. But again, I'm not sure if I'd want to do a whole quilt of it. 
If you compare my quilt closely with the sample picture, you'll notice that I substituted the David & Goliath block for the Children of Israel block. I intend to use the Children of Israel block in another quilt, so left it out of this one. 
Here are pictures of all of the blocks, with their names:
Jacob's Ladder  -  Job's Tears
Dove at the Window  -  Garden of Eden
Joseph's Coat  -  Walls of Jericho
Wings of Eagles
David & Goliath  -  Solomon's Puzzle
The pantograph pattern I chose to use on this quilt is called Lily of the Valley, which is not only a lovely little flower, but is also referred to in the Old Testament. Unfortunately, it's got a lot of corners and angles, which require more time than curves on the long arm. It took me 5 hours to complete the quilting. At $30/hour, that was $150! Ouch! If I'd used a really simple pantograph like Bumpity, it would have only taken me about half that time, but I really don't want to have to limit my creative expression because of cost. So I decided to see what I could do differently. Checking online, I found a woman who rents her long arm machine for $75 a day. She lives out in the country, over an hour's drive from here, but I drive that distance to get to Edmonton anyway when I rent at the long arm studio. I will probably be exploring that option with my next quilt. I'll have to provide my own thread and pantographs, but I'll be saving so much on the actual rental that it will be worth it. 
I hope this doesn't sound arrogant, but I think this is one of the prettiest quilts I've made. But, to keep me humble, I got some major puckers in the quilt when I did the quilting. I ripped out a couple, but didn't even notice the others until I got it home and was applying the binding. <sigh> However, at $30 an hour, I probably wouldn't have taken the time to rip them all out anyway!