This summer was the longest break I’ve taken from quilt-making since I started. Maybe it was the effort of producing a queen-sized piece. Or maybe it was having my kids around for summer. Whatever it was, at some point I thought I should make a quilt for my mother. She said yes she would like that, and this project ensued.
She wanted yellows, greens and browns. I gathered stuff from my stash and she gave me a bunch of old fabric from her attic, including what I recognized as curtains that had been in her kitchen long ago. There was also fabric from seat cushions she made for the kitchen chairs. It was fun to see this in its original color saturation — compared to the well-worn cushions which are still there. Best of all, there was a very cheery and flowery yellow bedsheet, the sight of which caused me to bury my nose in its familiar smell. I remember going to her room early in the morning when she was in bed reading before my brother woke up. I’d climb in bed with her and we’d talk or read and play shadow puppets with the light from her bedside lamp. My mother’s bed is her refuge. And it was the secure station where she hunkered down to sleep and wait out six months of radiation and chemotherapy to vanquish a soft-tissue sarcoma. She cares deeply about what she puts on her bed, so I have been privileged to make a quilt for it.
The pattern inspiration for this quilt is one I’ve done several times, the so-called Chinese coin pattern. Ignore the unmade bed and you can see the basic pattern: stacks of narrow horizontal strips (coins) alternating with typically a solid color background.
From a production standpoint, this pattern moves along readily.
Selecting fabrics and grouping them together is the fun part. I end up using a far greater percentage from my own stash than from those my mother gave me, and I realize these may be unconscious choices recalling her fabric history. For instance, the deep blue/greens below are nearly the same color as a fabric she used to reupholster a living room chair — a project she never did finish, though the chair remains with a slipcover.
I also sew narrower but longer rows for an outer border. This should stand out nicely against the brown dust ruffle on her bed.
Once columns are done, a background color is needed to highlight and divide them. This offers the perfect application of those former kitchen curtains. It’s not a solid, but the pattern is small and neutral enough to work in.
I like making ready progress on a project, but the bigger it gets the harder it is to move around. After the alternating columns of strips and solids are sewn together, the solid is added to cap the top and bottom.
At some point I discover that I don’t have a big enough piece of something to use for batting (or fill), so I make a quick run up to City Quilter. This is the first time I’ve purchased any supplies for this quilt — thus far I’ve managed with all found objects. This satisfies the thrifty part of my soul. Now it’s time to make a backing. Cue the cheery yellow floral that brought back so many memories:
Careful readers of Patwig’s Blog may remember that the next step is sewing all three layers together — quilt top, batting, and backing (right side down) — leaving a small opening to pull the whole thing inside out. After pressing, it is “fit to be tied.”
Nearly there. A quick check of photo dates shows this commenced August 5 with fabric selection, and sewing starting September 10 and finishing September 22. After a quick look over by the resident inspector, it’s done.
And here’s how it looks on a bed
Not a bad project for Modest Machine to limber up after the lay off. And now I have officially queen and twin sized quilts under my belt. I do take commissions, and if you’d like to know more, leave a comment and I’ll get back. Caio for now!