If this quilt isn't an exactly perfect metaphor for my life over the past month, then there isn't one.
Surprisingly puffy batting meant a one-way ticket to Puckerville, USA when I started quilting he horizontal lines across the quilt. If I ever get the crazy notion to do any kind of grid quilting with wool batting again, I'll (you know, just decide not to, or) know to start from the middle and do all of it from the middle out. This time around, I did all the stitch-in-the-ditch, then all the second lines, then all the third lines. I was still kind of deciding how many to do and how far apart, but turns out I didn't really have that luxury.
Trying to avoid puckers at the quilting crosses meant that I needed to pin the crap out of the quilt before starting. And this yielded only middling results. Bonus: it took forever.
I decided to look at it like a baseball season, with tons of games and no expectation of perfection. Some you win, some you lose, nobody wins every game in every series, even when they're playing well. As I quilted across it, I thought about how working so hard to avoid puckers (and still not being able to many times, aaargh) meant that my ability to quilt straight lines automatically went out the window - and this is much like what happened at work, when I decided to put all of my limited energy toward service provision and then when I had a chance to take a breath, realized I was a month behind on my notes. (Aaargh.)
I will also know that five lines of stitching at each seam is a LOT.
Deciding not to quilt any horizontal lines was a possibility - one that I didn't consider until I'd made a few of them, but I definitely could've turned back. I didn't, partially because I didn't know if only vertical lines would look good, and partially because it didn't feel virtuous. It would've been taking the easy way out. The other factor was wear - I believe that more quilting = more stable batting - but I've never tested this theory over 20 years, so maybe it's true and maybe it's not.
After a big press this morning, the binding is on and being sewn down. The sewing down will take a while, but the end is in sight, which makes me really happy. The young recipient of the quilt greeted every finished row with: Is it done? Can I use it now? I'll be really happy to finally say yes.
So, what do you think? Will horizontal lines make this quilt wear better? Is it better design? Would you have bailed on the horizontal lines when it appeared that the original plan didn't fit the actual quilt? I'd love to hear from other quilters about what they would have done.