Sometimes you make things, and you get so invested in its creation that it’s a part of you–and when it’s intended as a gift letting go of it is a bit sad–and that’s certainly true for this latest project. This holiday season, between the two of us, we only made a single gift–a quilt for Josh’s grandmother, Viola. Life’s just been too hectic to possibly do the uber-sewing dash toward to holidays like we’ve done the last few years. (Everyone else got gifts of books and shoes–both of which we think are very handy.) But, the one thing that we did make (and really, the vast majority of this work was Josh’s–Sarah did all the binding, but the piecing and quilting was 95% Josh), turned out pretty special.
If you’ve seen the Denyse Schmidt Quilts book, you know that it’s not an ordinary quilting book. There are not strict rules, no precisely-matching corners, it’s all organic and free-flowing–akin to the quilt’s from Gee’s Bend. The designs and style have really captivated Josh and he’s actually done all of the piecing for a crazy (and huge) version of The Big Zig (progress on that has pretty much been thwarted by both our having to move across town–ugh–and the fact that the thing’s so big that it’s practically impossible for a mere mortal to quilt). Josh decided that the Hop, Skip & a Jump quilt from the book would be perfect for Viola.
Josh went with a gray and blue palette–most of them from random fat quarters from Bolt, some gray shot cotton (also from Bolt) and some bits of an old blue shirt (more on that adventure in a minute). A pretty nice combo, eh?
The old blue shirt fabric proved to be a bit of a “challenge.” (“Challenge” always sounds so much more positive than, say, “pain in the ass,” doesn’t it?) Because the aforementioned old blue shirt was, you know, really old–hence, it was a good candidate for being hacked up and given new life in a quilt. However, there’s a minor detail we failed to consider: sometimes, when fabric is really hold, it doesn’t really have the structural integrity to hold up to sewing. So Josh had a hell of a time with those pieces, they just frayed and frayed as he sewed. Ugh. You can see in the photo below the nubby blue shirting that had to be whip-stitched to the gray fabric because it unraveled after the top was pieced together.
Once that excitement was over, Josh quilted the top. Since neither one of us is down with anything so insane as hand-quilting, Josh went with a free-form, random vertical strip for his quilting. It turned out pretty fantastic, actually. It’s funny, something so unconventional can really make a rather simple design like this quilt very distinctive and kind of arty-looking. The cheap-ish natural color cotton quilting thread helped too, since it looked kind of rustic.
Oh, yeah, and then we backed the thing in a pretty dark red. (And put dark red thread in the bobbin, so the quilting on the back is barely noticeable.)
Finally, Sarah bound it in bright blue using a patented no hand-sewing technique that’s a combination of a trick Susan taught us and Sarah’s method for binding sleeves (it’s hard to explain, but it’s a two-step process and involves monofilament/invisible thread).
Here’s the finished quilt…
It hung out on our Old Man Chair (Have we ever told y’all about the Old Man Chair?) that we found on the street last year (seriously–it even came with Old Man Smell) for a week or so, and we got really, really attached to the quilt. So Josh is just has to make one for us. Perhaps in Denyse’ awesome new Hope Valley?
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