This week, I feel like I have been exercising, something I usually carefully avoid. Okay, I walk the dog once or twice a day, but I am used to walking distances and I never do anything that might require lycra, or cause pain or injuries. Yet, here I am feeling a little stiff and creaky. Why? Because I basted my Dear Jane quilt on the weekend.
Here is what I thought was going to happen:
- Push furniture to one side and roll up carpet.
- Clean and mop wooden floor.
- Tape quilt layers onto clean floor and stitch them together.
On Friday morning, while my husband was at golf, I started shifting furniture. No problem! All the furniture in our upstairs living room has felt under its feet so it slides well and can be moved by one smallish person. This room is perfect for basting as it has wooden floors, like the rest of the house, but it also has a door to keep away helpful pets.
Here is where I started to come unstuck. I thought that while I had the vacuum and mop out, I might as well clean the house. I dusted, cleaned the bathrooms and swept – all the usual stuff. Then I thought that maybe I ought to check the air-conditioning filters and clean those too. Oh, look! The ceiling fans and venetian blinds need a good wipe. I had better do that. What is that hiding in the back of the laundry cupboard? Time to clean the cupboard!
And so it spiralled out of control. A simple plan to clean the floor became an almost full-day cleaning (and then cooking) frenzy.
I needed a good sit down, a glass of wine and an early night after all that cleaning, and I decided to wait until Saturday to start step 3.
On Saturday morning, I started to think that while I had a good area of floor clean and cleared, perhaps I ought to baste the shirt quilt top I recently made too. It could be practice for the real thing. To do that, I first needed to measure, cut and assemble the backing. This went together smoothly. I was able to machine sew the join with the large floral pattern matching perfectly! Oh, happy day!
So, I taped down the backing, wadding and quilt top and started basting. I had a cushion to protect my knees, but I spent a lot of time hunched over and doing squats to work on the quilt on the floor. I had the television on, and, as I sewed, I listened and learned stuff from documentaries about witchdoctors, Cuba, Siberian Sakha horse people and Eveny reindeer herders, and some Canadian guys hiking and freezing in remote Greenland.
It took a while. That is a lot of documentaries, and I still had not started on my Dear Jane. Already I could feel my lower back starting to stiffen from bending and my thighs starting to complain from all those squats. Every now and then, I would come downstairs and stretch by walking around the house and garden. My fingertips were already starting to feel a little raw from pulling a needle up through all the layers at an awkward angle. A thimble helps with pushing but not with pulling!
By the end of Saturday, I had finished basting the shirt quilt and had started laying out Dear Jane. I just had to finish the Dear Jane backing by adding a third strip (two fabric widths were just a fraction, the tiniest whisper, too short) and give the quilt top a good press.
On Sunday morning, I could already feel my lower back complaining, even before I started basting. After many, many more hours of basting, during which Griff Rhys Jones told me about African art and Myf Warhurst explored the kitsch art she loved as a child, I finally finished sewing the last line of stitching. It now has so many rows of basting thread that I feel like I have already quilted the dratted thing.
On Monday morning, I woke up feeling stiff-legged and sore. Thankfully, my fingertips were already feeling better thanks to the cream I coated them in before bed on Sunday night, but I felt like I needed another weekend to recover from my weekend!
I am feeling much less stiff now, but my husband is still laughing at me as he has been doing sport – golf and cycling – all weekend, and yet I am the one with the injuries.
Have you ever given yourself a quilting injury?