Linda is a nurse who happens to be caring for her elderly mother at home. Years ago after her father died, she started to weave a blanket from his old ties for a way to remember him.
She’s also a neighbor, and one day she saw some quilts I made from old clothes, and asked if I could make a quilt using the blanket she’d started and her mother’s old scarves. She planned to keep it at a vacation home her family has had for generations in Maine. I was delighted to have a new commission!
After showing her a Chinese Coin pattern quilt I made for my mother, she chose that style as the primary design. With a plan in place, Patwig got busy: all materials washed, ties cut up, and fusible interfacing pressed to all ties and scarves.
Dad’s ties were myriad browns, featuring the small, repeating patterns typical of ties, in a handful of muted color variations. In contrast, Mom’s scarves packed saturated jewel tones in a variety of splashy prints. I was having trouble at first seeing how to work the two styles in together, until I pinned the jazziest scarves to the wall and mated the ties by color to each
Then I cut and laid out just enough to show Linda how a Chinese Coin stack from her fabrics might look
She wanted a finished square of 84 by 84 inches for a full size bed. I made enough rows to fill the bed top, which ended up a 54 x 62 inch rectangle.
Lots of border was needed all the way around to bring this out to 84 x 84. Ideally I might have bordered this in all black or navy to corral the rowdy colors. But I had to work with the fabric I had. After consulting one of the quilting reference books I’ve picked up over the years, I thought I’d give the “basic braid” border a try. Luckily Linda liked that idea
I ended up grouping the lights on the inside and darks at the outside to highlight the center.
Once I had a critical mass, I sent a picture to Linda just to be sure I was still barking up the right tree. Fortunately her answer was “it’s awesome,” so I continued full steam ahead.
It helps to be happy with how a project is turning out, but this work moved at a slow pace, one step at a time. That’s the nature of craft, I suppose. It always takes longer than I think it will.
Linda dropped the fabrics to me on New Year’s Eve. At this stage it’s mid-February. If I had worked all day every day I would have finished well before the end of January.
As a project gets bigger, the pace slows because it’s harder physically to move the whole thing around. I have a son in college so I use his room and floor down the hall from my workroom to lay it out … thanks Pete!
Once all borders are sewn around the center, it is a finished quiltop.
… and then it needs a back. I combined the handful of cotton clothing items Linda provided with old sheet sections from my stash to piece a back together.
I stopped counting when my estimated hours on this project neared 90. This is an info nugget for those who always ask me how long it takes to make a quilt. Answer: it depends, but usually a long time!
I used 16 yarn ties to secure the layers together (thanks Ellen Banner for your yarn donation!)
I think it’s on its way to Maine. Next project will be an experiment using recent fabric donations.