I’ve mentioned a few times that I’ve been working on a secret project. Well, I finished it this morning and gave it to my friend this afternoon, and so now I can write about it. This quilt was made for my dear friend Megan, who is undergoing chemotherapy. I wanted to make her a lap quilt that she could cuddle under this summer whenever she is feeling nauseous or tired, and have something special and made with love to wrap around her.
For a pattern I decided to make a subway tile type quilt, made up of strips that are the same width, but variable length. I wanted it to be a scrap quilt so one afternoon I dug into my stash and started sorting. The initial fabric that everything else was based on is this awesome green with big circular purple flowers (I got it in a surprise scrap bundle from Hawthorne Threads.) Isn’t it a great fabric? (And I’m annoyed that I didn’t take a close up of that fabric, but you can see it in the photo below, along with another one I loved of an olive with some fancy rabbits on it.) So, with that in mind as the eye catching fabric I pulled other greens and purples to go with it. My mother supplied me with leftover fabrics of her own, from this quilt she just made. (When I chose my color scheme I didn’t even realize how much it was like the one my Mom used.) I also included a few special pieces that came from fabrics that were my grandmother’s. One of the reasons I like a scrap quilt is because my mom made a quilt for my parents’ bed when I was a kid that was all squares. I loved to lie on it and look at all the pieces and think about which ones were my favorite and the different feelings I had about each of the fabrics. I thinks there’s a lot to enjoy about a scrap quilt.
So, I got all my fabric and started cutting long 3 1/2″ wide strips. Then, I cut those strips into variable lengths ranging from about 6″ to 14″. Initially I thought I’d plan out three lengths and measure carefully, but I ended up just trimming to whatever length I felt like. Then I had a great big pile of rectangles and began laying them. I decided to lay out a row at a time, sew the rows, and then arrange the rows. I was tempted to plan out every piece before stitching but decided that it would probably work out pretty well with my piece as I went plan-and it did! I was mindful of where I placed certain fabrics, and more so when I laid out the rows.
I am very pleased with the overall pattern of this. And most of all for this quilt I am thrilled with the fabrics. While I do love the designer fabric bundles that all coordinate, I think there’s a lot to be said for the charm of finding fabrics from different sources that look good together. And it’s amazing how many do!
Once I got the top done it was time to consider the backing and binding. I stopped in at Joann’s one day (spontaneously-we were driving past one down the shore) and picked out the white with purple butterflies and the purple with purple flowers. It was hard choosing without any of my scraps with me and I couldn’t believe how great they looked when I got them home. I did a piece back and then added a strip of just greens, both for a pop of color, and also to make it wide enough. For the binding I used a combo of both backing fabrics and I added a secret half inch of green.
For the quilting, which was machine, it took a while to decide. I really wanted to preserve the rectangular look so I ended up stitching straight lines (of lavender thread) following the seam lines of the rows. Because I used the presser foot as a guide I made a pattern of thin lines and thick lines. I started in the middle and always sewed outward. Which was a huge pain in the ass to keep turning and wedging the whole quilt into the opening of my machine. It was worth it though because I had no puckers on the front. Alas, the same cannot be said of the back. There was a fairly large gather, but you know what? It’s homemade, made with love, and I think that mostly the quilting on the back looks really great, so it’s ok.
I’ve been working on this for two months and loved it so much that I found it a little hard to give away! That said, it felt good to make something special for someone special and I hope she enjoys and loves it for many years to come and that when she uses it she thinks of all her friends who love her and are rooting for her.