Monday, January 10, 2011

Tim's quilt

I'm a bit embarrassed putting a picture of this up here now, because it's quite old and worn now and has really seen better days, but that is the nature of quilts, right?  That they are supposed to age gracefully and naturally, like fine wine (and women) and take on a character and story all of their own with each little rip and patch?
And I did set out to document as much as I could, even things that have had a rough life...
This was my first effort at a full bed-sized quilt.  I hadn't really done any quilting prior to this, apart from a little baby floor quilt which was done totally on my machine, posted here.  
So,  in my usual way, I rocked up to Calico House (as it was called then, now Calico and Ivy), just bought a selection of boy-ish type of fabrics and went home to nut it out for myself.  I can recall the ladies in the store were a bit scandalised that I wasn't going to take any lessons, or even buy a book.   How hard could it be, I reasoned?  Patchwork and quilting is hardly rocket science.  Me being a bit gung-ho, I inwardly scoffed at the idea of needing instructions...  I just did up a rough mud map of what I wanted and then made some measurements of numbers of squares times dimensions, added all up, to work out how much fabric I would need.  The backing is a single sized navy blue flat sheet.
It's a very simple design.  The edging is very amateurish, I turned under the edges and overstitched by hand all around the edge.  I only quilted around the edges of the quilt; both in the ditch and a few stars, moons, suns and swirls in the border by hand, the middle part of the quilt is knotted at the corners of each square with surgeon's knots.  Right now I will confess that this is an inferior method to traditional quilting; it looked nice but did not make for a robust quilt.  As a toddler Tim used to love to sit on the side of his bed and slide himself along with the quilt on to the floor... yeah... Activities like this, coupled with the flimsy knotting do make for a short life-span... and as you can tell, some of the fabrics in the middle have worn and ripped with use and been patched with other fabrics.  
And, early in its life I used to carefully handwash in the bath tub, but nowadays I just toss it in the washing machine.
C'est la vie.  I'm a big one for believing things should be used and loved on a daily basis and not tucked away preciously for special occasions, and this quilt has definitely been much loved and used, and still is to this day.  That's all that counts for me.


  1. My grandmother was a champion quilter--made all the more so by arthritis in her hands. Everything was stitched by hand. And now, the ONE that I have inherited is never used!

  2. Oh this looks like the "Around the World" quilt I started when I was pregnant with my first boy. I was so nauseated while making it, that I put it away because I couldn't stand to look at it when the nausea passed. (Even though I originally loved the colors in it) You've inspired me. I need to pull it out and finish it. Maybe if I post it on my blog, I will follow through! and maybe it won't make me sick anymore.

  3. This is a timely post, since I - equally gung-ho about how-tos and instructions - am right now making a quilt/blanket. Out of huge pieces, and I'm not sure about the quilting part. I was considering knots, but it's for my boy as well, so maybe I should bite the bullet and do some real quilting after all! Your quilt is lovely, and how nice that it's been used and loved so well.

  4. Lovely! I especially like the cheeky red flower fabric you used for patching. I always wanted to quilt, but they don't work with my decor (clean, modern, Asian-inspired neutrals). Maybe it's time to change my decor?

  5. It's a beautiful quilt - great memories - great conviction - well loved - perfect!!

  6. This looks how I would want a quilt to look if I ever had the time to take up quilting :-)

    Enjoy your holiday - Japan! - lucky you!

  7. he he, sliding off the bed. Would happen at our house too! I'm going to make one of these someday too. It does seem the knotting method is a bunch easier than quilting the whole thing, I was planning to do that too. ... And no, I won't take lessons either, the whole purpose is to use up stuff, not to make an outlay of cash ...

  8. Wow that must have taken ages! I would love to be able to something like that!

  9. I guess, the value of a certain craft that you did, especially a quilt, isn’t counted on the day that you finished it. It’s on how it was preserved by time, regardless of how it was made. I think, hand-sewn quilts are more durable than those that are factory-made due to their sentimental value. :)

    Brad Tingle