Friday, August 10, 2012

Completely Insane!

I’m changing the name of my “Nearly Insane” to “COMPLETELY Insane!” Or Certifiable. Or some such thing.

Not much is known about Salinda Rupp, the original maker of this quilt, just that she was from Lancaster County, Pennsylvania and her quilt was made about 1870 ---yes, and what drew me in was the wild use of Pennsylvania Dutch type colors – I love them! I am “SO” over BROWN ---give me COLOR!

Okay, sometimes I like brown….but I gotta be in a mood for it.

I finished the top last night, but had to wait until this morning when it was daylight to get a decent shot…the floor of my studio just never does it justice. I like the railing on my upper back deck.

It also poured and thundered last night – so this morning it is so very very incredibly green and lush out there. Mornings after a huge drenching rain? I love those too!

nearlyinsane 049

9 years from start to now!

For many years this quilt became a “retreat” project – I had my paper foundations in a binder, with each row in a page protector. I numbered, I crossed off, I assembled into rows as I went ---I had fabrics sorted by color in baggies, and it lived in a tote. When I’d go, it would come with me, and then it would sit---maybe for a year or more ---until the next time I got a hankering to pull it out and work on it some more.

Each little block in this quilt is a project in itself ---I took pics of some of my favorites:

nearlyinsane 051

I don’t remember the piece count. I just know that the pieces are tiny, there are a lot of them in this 6” block, and with all those seams this thing is about as thick as a potholder. OH, and that red polka dot? 1980s. :cD

nearlyinsane 052

I loved the medallion look of this one too….

nearlyinsane 053

And this one with the geese and the little pinwheels in the corners….And yes, I know that is a 1930s repro yellow in the center, but it had the look I wanted. Cross genre? Absolutely! Blocks like this just made me smile as they came together.And yeah, some geese parts may be chopped off. I don’t care.

nearlyinsane 045

I’ve chosen my border fabrics….pink and green.

nearlyinsane 046

This is a photo of Salinda’s quilt. Look at the border and tell me how YOU think it was made?

And please take in the fact that the left upper and lower corners just end where they end! I am wrestling with myself on whether I want to do that or not. This border was made with two rows of quarter square triangles that are offset to give the zig zag look. They end where they end. Her corners are mitered.

The “perfected” quilt in the nearly insane book has the border being made with rectangles with sew and flip corner triangles. Mucho fabric waste-o. Do I want to do that? I don’t know.

I could do the whole thing with two rows of half square triangles, giving me more seams, but less waste ((But more seam allowance)). Do I want to do that? I don’t know.

I changed the width of my sashing because what the nearly insane book said just didn’t look right to me. They were trying to adjust the quilt center to fit their pieced border. And a 1 3/4” finished sashing just didn’t divide well into a 6” block..so their quilting looked a bit strange to me, leaving quilted rectangles in the sashing instead of squares. I went with 2” finished sashings and cornerstones.

So now I have a quilt that is slightly larger, which is okay --- but I have to adjust my border to get it to fit, and that is why I am leaning towards “it ends where it ends” and let it do just what Salinda’s did above.

If a quilt is a reproduction, shouldn't it reproduce it all the way? I don't want to "perfect" out the charm and interest of an already wonderful historical quilt. To me the life is in the wonkiness and her personality shows in how she worked out the problems.

I also think Salinda’s blocks were smaller than 6”. Her whole quilt including the zig zag border, and the wide outer border measure 88” X 87 1/4”. My top already measures 79”. 3” of zig zag all the way around will make it 85”. And THEN how wide to make that outer border? I measured the blocks in the photo and measured the border in the photo, and the outer border is wider than the blocks.

This quilt may get to be ginormous!

I so admire the work that Salinda did in putting her quilt together with the fabrics and tools that were available to her in the 1870s. I don’t think I could have done it. I would have loved to see her work at her quilting. How did she mark? What did she use for templates? How did she come up with her designs? Where did her fabric come from? How long did this quilt take HER to make?

And I really want to know…would the “inner” quilt police in you let YOU do the border as Salinda did above?



  2. I think you should finish it as if you were Salinda trying to make the borders perfect. Im sure it wasnt her plan to have the ends not meet exactly. She probably hoped they would. If you can make them end perfectly using the method that works best for you...I can here her applauding you now. I dont know that reproduction means reproducing mistakes too. Im sure she was at the -I just want it done stage.

  3. Anonymous8:44 AM EDT

    Decisions decisions - you have a few left to make. One thing for sure - you insane is great.... well done! Now to find me "a tote" to designate to insane.

  4. I don't think i would, Bonnie. Don;t you think that if Salinda had been able to do better, given the tools and fabric she had to work with, she would have? There is no danger that I am going to do better over all than this amazing quilt, but if i could--I would.

  5. Paper piecing all of those blocks!! I can see why it took so long. I have the book, and I take it out once in a while and looks at it.... I'm not sure I'm THAT certifiable yet :o) Thanks so much for sharing!

  6. Ahh the first block picture. I'm too lazy to look up the block #, but I did walk over to the stair railing where mine hangs and TOUCH it. When it's quilted it really does feel like a potholder. I also remember taking my little packages to all of the HS marching band events. When I was working on "THAT" block, the band director walked up to me and asked if I was "INSANE". ROTFL, I replied how did you know? There are no quilt police. By the time I finished my blocks, I just wanted it done. My border is solid, no piecing. Your quilt is stunning Bonnie!!!

  7. I bet you are glad to get this far with this quilt - what a challenge - one day I might make it, not sure what color scheme though, love yours.

  8. Happy Friday Bonnie,
    Congrats on finishing another extreme quilt. Maybe this is a way for me to use up my 70s, 80s, and 90s scraps. But it will likely be 19 years for me to complete. I will be very interested to see if you can reproduce that border as Salinda did. I don't think I could. Brava Bonnie. Nancy in Sunny SC

  9. Anonymous9:02 AM EDT

    I couldn't leave it as Salinda did.I would have to fix it somehow. I have done a border similar to this. Strip pieced and cut on the 45 degree. A border book I have gives you the math to figure out the repeat of the border and to see if it will fit perfectly and how to adjust with coping strips around the quilt (which in your case would ruin the similarity to Salinda's quilt). Just offering up a suggestion. Good luck completing it. It is very bright and although I am more into pastels...something about the quilt makes me want to curl up under it...Good job!!!
    ScrappyNanna from Ontario Canada

  10. I remember that you posted a picture of a block with "wonky" triangles - and I loved the block.
    So why not go for a border that ends where it ends?

    I mean... if we all wanted "perfect" quilts - why do we put humans into the sewing process? Let machines do "perfect" stuff. Handmade things need those little imperfections - but that's just what I think... will I get arrested by the quilt police now??

  11. It looks WONDERFUL Bonnie. I personally would ask Lori. She's done one and probably knows the border things best.

  12. Bonnie, the choice is yours to be made, when I made my "Kentucky Whirligig" quilt, by the time I got done with my borders, they didn't meet either so I just improvised and didn't care because I was done. My quilter cared because my quilt ended up not being square but again, I didn't care because I loved the quilt and that slight angle didn't affect my end product or rule "As long as it doesn't fall apart in the wash and as long as it makes some one feel warm and loved, it's doing what I want it to" :)

  13. Anonymous9:12 AM EDT

    Truly a treasure, thanks for posting the picture. It has been such a treat to watch the progress of Nearly Insane. Magnificent.

    Karen in Corona, CA

  14. And Yes, I Love Your Quilt and the Colors You Chose, Bright and Vibrant is Always a Good Way to Go!

  15. Hmm....I love it the way it is, but agree that if she could have done it better, she would have. You have to look at it - perfect it!

    1. I am thinking i need to print out this page and keep it with my book for when i get to this point (hopefully not in nine years time) Congratulations on getting to this point and i shall look forward to your decision. I think for me it will end where it ends. If its "perfect" that would be good, if its like Salinnda's id still be happy.
      I didn't get to start the sashing today as i planned, (i finished my Kim McLean flower Garden applique flimsy instead.) and thats good or i'd have missed your thoughts on the size to cut them

  16. A true masterpiece!

  17. Anonymous9:19 AM EDT

    Gorgeous Quilt...I'd do the border as I wanted. NOBODY except a die hard "INSANE" person would even notice. I've seen this quilt in many places and I don't notice is something is different. I just see all the cute blocks and bold colors and that's fine. Nobody will really KNOW if you don't tell.
    Also stimulated by your basement/sewing room clean. I did the same and now I'm happy to sew in there today. LOVE YOUR BLOGS

  18. Anonymous9:20 AM EDT

    I don't mind that the borders "end where they end," and that is SO unlike me. I do think that, if I were Salinda, I would have massaged that upper left corner into matching. Which would have left the lower left as the only wonky one....hummm. Maybe the wonkyness doesn't bother me because the lower left corner does end rather squarely (the upper left bothers me more.)

    In any case your quilt is wonderful, and I think you should do what would, in the long run, bring you most joy.


  19. it ends where it ends!!!! be true to the spirit of the quilt and just go for it! looks gorgeous, by the way.

  20. So beautiful, Bonnie! I'm so over brown, too, but after inheriting tons of it when my mom and mom-in-law downsized, I feel a bit stuck. You can add it to scrap quilt with bright colors, but that doesn't use up much if you still want the quilts to be bright. I know I need to make some brown quilts to really bring it down...not many of those that I like.

  21. Awesome! I bought the book with this quilt, but it doesn't give any directions!:( I'm not ready for that so I guess I'll have to enjoy your pictures. I love the colors.
    I say do what YOU want with the borders. I'm not experienced enough to know how to make it work, but it would bother me if it were "off". I wish it didn't. Maybe it wouldn't by the time I'd done all that work and just wanted to be done with it, I wouldn't care!

  22. You know, I loved looking at the inner quilt so much I hardly noticed the border corners -- until you said "notice the corners"!! I'm just mesmerized by the color and all the blocks. Maybe I would have tried to make the corners less noticeably 'off' but after the years it probably took, maybe not!

  23. I'm glad you are the insane one and I can just look and enjoy! I made a similar pieced border and I did it with paper piecing. Determine the size of the squares and draft your own block. There isn't much waste if you cut squares and then cut each one on the diagonal for the corners. It went very fast. I like what Tonya said, "be true to the SPIRIT of the quilt". Love it and your quilt!!

  24. Hi Bonnie, I made a border similar to that in three colours. I used Seminole piecing technique. It was a nightmare to get it to fit, but in the end, I made it, then added a plain border between the quilt top and the Seminole in the same colour as the base of the border so that it just melted in. Looks great and the borders go around the corners. I alsways say to my students - "can you live with it" when they ask me questions like that. Me thinks that if you are asking the question, you would hate yourself later for not doing it "right"

  25. That amazing quilt is quite an accomplishment! It is your choice to make, but personally, I would have to nip and tuck and make that border match up! The wonky corners are the main thing catching my eye in that photo, distracting from the beautiful blocks. I would most likely make the border with rectangles and triangles to minimize the seams and the waste.

  26. Anonymous9:39 AM EDT

    Incredible, thanks for sharing both the quilt and the journey

  27. Love it! Absolutely wonderful finish, Bonnie.

  28. wow! that would drive me over the edge! it's beautiful. as far as the borders go, i do not think you should just let it end wherever. i found my eye kept going up to that top left corner on salina's quilt. i think i would just do something simple but symetrical, even if it meant having a cornerstone in that border. i understand wanting to repro it as is, but that corner detracts from the complexity and beauty of the center, at least in my opinion. whatevery you do, bonnie, it will be stunning. it always is! :)

  29. You've already altered the pattern somewhat. If you can do the math to make the corners work out -- and of course you can -- I think you should. Making them exactly as Salinda did is akin to those ersatz primitive embroideries -- the made-now designs with fake prim letterin, 'she done the best she could,' which is just so...so...unauthentic!

  30. Absolutely amazing!

  31. My inner "quilt police" can usually be found at the donut shope.
    Gives me lots of room to play the way I want to on a quilt.

  32. Blew my skirt up! This is just awesome. Thanks for the insight on how you organized your piecing so that it was do-able over time.

  33. You did a marvellous job, Bonnie. Have you thought about making a different border? One that is "you"?

  34. Your center looks really great Bonnie! I could easily do Salinda borders and probably did! lol

  35. I am soooo impressed that you are going to finish this. You are one focused woman. Perhaps you are the quilt version of Larry the cable guy --- git her done! Congrats!

  36. Anonymous10:29 AM EDT

    -How many different machines worked with you on this??
    -How many miles did this project travel?
    -Oh the tales it could tell?
    -Trust yourself to 'see' what it needs. I say go for it as the original quilter did.
    -THANKS FOR SHARING! I can appreciate others who do work I would never attempt. dg

  37. Bonnie -- your quilt top is, well, INSANE!!! Glad you got it together.
    I've done the border for my NI twice (almost)! I was nearly finished with the piecing the first time when I decided I really didn't like my fabric choices. The second time around, I used Inklingo to print the triangles, so I could use the book's method without all the waste. It went together very well.
    I've only put one border onto the quilt center -- but plan to get the others on soon (it's tedious trying to match the borders to the blocks without cutting points off one or the other -- so I put it away for awhile). Judy in VA

  38. My inner quilt police would look out the corner of her eye at my corners. I am always trying to stretch myself, and letting the corner fall where it may is a stretch, but appropriate for the quilt. Such fun.

  39. All I can say is Wow, Amazing, Gorgeous. A definite masterpiece!

  40. Lovely Bonnie. This is a quilt I will not be making in my life time. I do think my inner quilt police would allow me to make corners like that after all look at all the work on the inside and I would so ready to be done I would certainly do it.

  41. You used the original quilt as a guide to re-create the spirit of the quilt, not an exact duplicate; your borders should do the same. Probably Salinda did not plan the mismatched corners, so you shouldn't either. If you can do a better corner match--great! If it comes out not exactly perfect, do as Salinda did and finish it! I love your version, by the way.

  42. Anonymous11:12 AM EDT

    Way to GO, Bonnie - another over the top quilt top to mark off your list. Something I really admire, too - you are yourself a world reknown pattern designer - yet your showcase other people's patterns all the time. We are the beneficiaries of your knowledge and your generosity. I have the "Nearly Insane" book myself and have gotten as far as putting a spiral binding on the book - HEY - that counts for SOMETHING! Now I'm inspired to organize fabrics and schedule some blocks! Thanks, Bonnie!

  43. I think your good friends Tonya and Lori gave you wise counsel. I was actually scanning the comments for theirs because I was pretty sure what they would tell you. : )
    You have done a wonderful job on this, Bonnie. It is a gorgeous quilt--even with chopped off points and 1930s and 1980s fabric. Therein lies the charm!
    If I was doing the border I might make mine using stacked flying geese.

  44. I agree Tonya is right IT ENDS WHERE IT ENDS...the quilt is beautiful....I had a teacher tell me once that if you can't see The little flaws from a galloping horse it's good.....i love that saying because life's too short to worry about the little things...

  45. Oh my gorsh that is one gorgeous quilt!
    Certifiably Insane!

  46. It's crazy. It's insane. It's off the hook! Salinda"s quilt is wonderful, but this is Bonnie Hunter's quilt, not Salinda's. What is your creative mind telling you to do with the borders? The magnificent thing about quilts made by sister quilters of the past is that they INSPIRE us and not force us to copy them.

  47. Anonymous12:41 PM EDT

    Agree with Pat (above) totally! Inspiration is not slavery to be exact! I like the idea of a somewhat wider border.

    How you accomplised this one is well beyond imagination lol - "Cerfiable" is the best name. Just that one you closeup has well over 100 separate pieces, in a 6 IN BLOCK!

    WOWOW BONNIE, someday folks will be still marveling over "That Bonnie K. Hunter" quilt!

  48. Wow...that's all...wow!!!

  49. Nope....my inner quilt police could not leave the corners as Salina did. If I couldn't get the pieced border to "play nicer" and come out smooth, I'd probably have to appliqué something on each corner over the un-matchiness, to make them the same. Love the idea of this quilt. I saw a couple on display recently at the Long Beach Quilt Festival. Just like yours...GORGEOUS!

  50. I think I'd do HST's. They are easy peasy and it will come out great w/o too much math involved :)

  51. Anonymous1:15 PM EDT

    My inner quilt police take bribes from drivers they stop for speeding and sell drugs on the side. They suggest putting the wonky corner under the pillow.

  52. Insane- YES! Done is better than perfect, I've heard. I have never taken 9 years to do one quilt. 9 months to do my Sylvia's Bridal Sampler and 8 months so far on my Farmers Wife. The NI and Dear Jane are not even on my bucket list, thank heavens. No quilt police at my house to tell you what to do. Follow your inner Salinda and go for it! I love all the Color and the light sashing with red cornerstones make each block stand out and pop.

  53. You raise a lot of interesting questions and thoughts on this
    quilt.....I wonder if she started with a plan or just started taking her little bits and making a few blocks to use them up and slowly
    the blocks added up to a quilt top. There is so much we'll never know about quilting history and the fabulous women that laid the foundation for the quilting art that we are all so passionate about.

    I can't wait for the next project to begin!

    Happy Sewing

  54. Bonnie, you've completed gone over the edge! But, in a good way! I'm in total AWE, SHOCK, JAW-DROPPING state of mind. Your work on this is exquisite. I hope you called your home owners insurance agent and got a rider added to your policy to cover this quilt! It truly is amazing to say the least! It must be so satisfying to you to be able to complete it.

  55. Your quilt is stupendous! I LOVE IT! My daughter and I just finished the "Civil War Love Letters' quilt and we used Rile Blake fabric with teal, brown, yellow and orange. We gave it to middle daughter for her wedding. It was 121 6" blocks so I understand your work involved in this quilt. I love your choice of colors...awesome.

  56. MIchelle3:49 PM EDT

    I know you are still working on borders....but how will you quilt this?? As a longarm quilter....I'm sometimes baffled as to how this type of quilt should be quilted. I'll be looking for the finished piece. You must be so proud...love it!!

  57. wow bonnie, its sooooo beautiful....I would have to change borders myself...just because, I couldn't let them end where they may...but both quilts are very beautiful...love them..

  58. Imagine in 50-75 years, someone in your family will be showing off this quilt. "My aunt/cousin/grandmother made this quilt. Look at the attention to all the details and all the teeny tiny pieces. She was such an awesome quilter, but she had a sense of humor and humility, too. Look at the wonky borders!"

    How many times have you said that about antique quilts?!?! Let the borders fall where they will!!!!!

    I love this whole quilt!

  59. I love the look of the less than perfect botders. I am working on a red and green applique reproduction and sorta free formed the vine around the corners cause that it how the original looked. I know it bothers some people when they see it but I love it.

  60. This quilt is F A B U L O U S - it just says FUN to me. The zig zag border is such a great fit - I think it ends where it may in keeping with the quilt. This comes from the person who immediately noticed that a ceiling fixture was not "centered". When measured, it turned out to be off by an inch over an 11 foot span!!

  61. Great job getting the center done! I also did this quilt - I'm not sure it's been in progress for 9 years, but it could be. I'm at the exact same stage you are. My advice for the borders is: do them in whatever way seems easiest...but DO them. I have had those silly little pink and green units done for as long as I can remember, and have yet to sew them together into zigzags. For some reason, it seems like the most boring thing to do in the world, so I haven't done it. I think they've travelled to 3-4 retreats, and came back (still) a bag full of pieces.

    =MAYBE seeing yours will make me want to finish mine...?

    I'm also curious as to how you'll quilt it. As it's made of 50 million seams, long arming seems like the way to go.

    Diane (PhabPhanNYC@aol.com)

  62. Anonymous8:17 PM EDT

    lol - by the time she got to the border, she probably just wanted it DONE! You have done a beautiful job and I love the colors that you have chosen for the borders. What if you made corner squares instead of following the zig zag around the corners (out of the red sashing squares?). I'm also curious to see how you will quilt it, will you do an all over pattern or mostly in the sashing? Many choices out there, but it will be stunning when finished!

    Found this link about zig zag borders very interesting!

  63. I wouldn't let the quilt police near it. Finish it so it ends you want to move on to something else now. It will look good anyway you decide to use. Love it.

  64. This is wonderful! I did some online sleuthing & learned that a blogger named Lisa Caryl taught this class for a quilt shop in Iowa a few years ago using the book. To help her students she provided cutting instructions & had drafted some paper pieced blocks. Did you draft your own blocks

  65. I am just blown away, Bonnie!- How did you find the time with your incredibly busy schedule to do this one? Just got back from Alaska and went into an incredible quilt shop in Anchorage called, Seams Like Home. WOW!! I will send you a picture. It was the biggest and best I have been to.
    Susan from New Paltz

  66. Anonymous11:11 PM EDT

    Bonnie, I think you need to ignore both the quilt police and those who say just finish it. What you need to ask yourself is, after 9 years of hard work, will YOU be happy in another 9 years if you don't try to match up the borders? Everyone here is quite happy to admire pictures and offer advice but remember: we don't have to live with the quilt, you do. In the future will you be happy with a wonky border or will it be something you always regret?

    As for my view? As much as I would want to finish it as quickly as posssible I know I would regret not taking a little extra time and matching up the border.

    Such a beautiful quilt...

  67. Absolutely stunning! I l♥ve your color combinations. I don't know how you do all you do. 9 years! I don't feel so bad about my UFO's now. You're my heroine!

  68. Okay here are my WOW's WOW WOW WOW WOW WOW - you are amazing Bonnie but you know that - or at least I hope you do. I LOVE your quilt buy why wouldn't I? I'm going upstairs to my sewing room in like 30 minutes to work on my granddaughters quilt top again. Your top is just STUNNING. Oh yeah have I said WOW yet!!

  69. I would suggest half square triangles for the ric rack border. As anal as I am, I would go with the original quilt. After all a reproduction is a reproduction.

  70. I would suggest half square triangles for the ric rack border. As anal as I am, I would go with the original quilt. After all a reproduction is a reproduction.

  71. Anonymous4:20 PM EDT

    Do you have enough green and pink to do the original border? If the answer is yes, go for it. Your pink and green make it your's and I like the border size as well.

    Okay, it will fit my bed and I'll love it to death. Remember our mattresses are deeper these days. As always your quilt is to die for.

  72. I love your interpretation of this quilt and I know how wonderfully skilled you are so that being said, I would do the math and make stacked flying geese, one less seam and paper-piece the four corners. Now that being said, I am a perfectionist so do whatever makes you happy and take this as just one more of many opinions. BTW fabulous!!!!!! I don't know where you get the energy to keep us all in awe of your production as well as ingenuity, you are one talented lady!!

  73. Your photo makes me want to pull out my Dear Jane and get it put together! Blocks are all done, just need to put the sashing on and do the rows.... I also have a Nearly Insane kitted in my wanna bees... I'm thinking that I definitely need to get motivated and fast!
    When I first looked at the border, I thought it was purchased ric-rac that was sewn on top.... not, they wouldn't have had it that easy way back when. Then I read your comment about half-square triangles and thought what a neat idea but alot of work! I too say, do what makes you happy - you're the one that will live with it and when it comes to future comments, you can say "I did it my way" or, "this is a reproduction but the copier wasn't working way back then..." - just follow your heart.

  74. I'm only 27 blocks into this quilt, so I've got lots of time to think about how complex I'll get at the end. I'm leaning towards a spacer strip between the blocks and the zig-zag that will even up the dimensions for the zig-zag. Bonus that it keeps the zig-zag from running into those half blocks, I think that looks a little muddly on the original. I'm also working with completely different colors, so I'm not really concerned about exact reproduction.

  75. Whatever you decide to do, enjoy the process and don't let the quilt police get you down.

  76. Anonymous5:00 PM EDT

    Hi Bonnie,
    Congratulations on finishing the inside of your NEARLY INSANE quilt.
    I have enjoyed watching your progress and reading your comments.
    It' s a great quilt.
    Liz Lois
    Author of NEARLY INSANE


If you are commenting as "anonymous" please leave your name at the end of your comment.

Did you know that ad space on this blog provides for all of the free patterns and free mysteries and challenges at no cost to you? Without ads, this blog would not be possible.

Thank you for understanding the many hours that go into this blog 6 days a week, 52 weeks a year. :)