So, I have been quilting. I have mentioned before that I was a quilter before I was a knitter, actually, quilting is probably the first craft that I learned and practiced with any sort of zealousness. I learned how to do simple crochet stitches as a kid, but I didn’t get excited about crochet until, well, last year. But quilting, it’s something I have always enjoyed, sort of.
Every time I start working on a quilt, I wonder why I don’t quilt more. But then I get to the part where I have to actually quilt the quilt, I remember why I don’t quilt as often as my fabric stash would lead one to believe I do. I love piecing the blocks together, I love sewing the quilt top, I like the whole basting process where you make the quilt sandwich with the quilt top, batting and backing; and really, the binding isn’t even so bad, I guess. It’s the whole quilting bit that gets me. I do not find shoving the quilt into my sewing machine and dragging it through to stitch everything together a particularly joyful experience. Perhaps if I had one of those long arm contraptions with a frame, it wouldn’t be so bad, but I don’t have one of those, and I can’t fit one of those things anywhere in my house (because the basement is kind of out now, because, well flooding), and also, they are a wee pricey for the capricious crafter, which, if we are being honest, is what I am.
Despite all of my complaints of how much I hated this quilt while I was quilting it, I actually like it. I like it quite a lot. As it is with most of the awesome things that I make, this quilt is not for me. I made this quilt, which I am calling Mansfield, for my friends Emily and Tim. They bought a house last year, conveniently down the street and around the corner from us, and they are really great friends (they loaned us a sump pump last week when our basement flooded—while their basement was flooded as well, in New England, that is friendship!). In any case, I was excited to have them as neighbors and wanted to make them something as a housewarming gift, and since I don’t knit blankets (because for me, that’s like watching grass grow), and I had just crocheted two blankets, I figured I could make them a quilt.
Emily wanted something modern, which worked out well since my quilting aesthetic can probably be best described as such. She didn’t want prints, which was fine, since I have been wanting to make a quilt with a nice selection of Kona Cotton solids. Originally, Emily and Tim gave me a very limited color palette to work with (4 colors!), I told them I couldn’t make that work, so they told me to do what I wanted. As I watched their living room take shape, I was able to build a suitable color palette to, I think, compliment the other colors in their living room.
Each block was pieced improvisationally, “on the fly” as it were. To start out, I simply cut strips (in thirteen colors!) of fabric ranging in width from 1-inch to 4-inches (and 42 inches long) and just cut and pieced as the fabric and colors moved me. It was fun, and I am really pleased with the results.
The quilt measures approximately 65” x 64”. I used Osnaburg (100% cotton) for the sashing and the background because I like it’s rusticity (while some may refer to it as the “poor (wo)man’s linen” I prefer to think of it as “easily acquired and affordable”. It toned the modernist edge of the quilt down a bit, and makes for a nice balance between modern and cozy, I think.
I washed all of the fabric I used before I cut and pieced everything. I didn’t want there to be as much shrinkage after washing. After finishing the quilt and taking all the fun pictures of it, I washed it and then tumble dried it on low. I really hate giving people quilts that are crisp and “newish” because I find that it’s sort of an unrealistic representation of what the quilt will look like if it’s actually used and washed. Also, I find that if you, the maker and giver of the quilt feel good about washing it, the new owners, or the giftees, won’t be so nervous about the use and care of their new quilt. But you know, you should probably advise that they don’t do frequent washes (which I usually do), it’s a handmade quilt, not underpants.
So that was my weekend. Making Mansfield. I, and by I, I mostly mean K, also dragged all the damaged stuff from our basement, and we chased Easter bunnies. I hope your weekend was as productive.