Monday, August 13, 2007

Of course, after I uttered the statement "I don't think I've ever followed a pattern" I thought of a quilt that I made from Quilters Newsletter, many, many years ago when Matthew was a little boy. It was tremendous fun to make each teddy different, and he followed the progress of his quilt with great excitement.

In fact, when I finished piecing the top, he insisted on having it on his bed that first night, before it was quilted.

I hand quilted this, didn't know how to machine quilt in those days, and it was a very cheerful project, from start to finish. Sometimes my quilts have dark patches in their history, when they're sworn at and hated and grumbled at, and they sulk and refuse to co-operate. (Then we usually start talking to each other again and agree to get over the bad patch) I can't tell you which copy of QNM it was in, the '80's sometime, a long while ago.

When I decided to blog about this quilt I suddenly thought "I wonder what condition it's in?" Matthew has used this quilt for years and years and Years, and I had to go round his place to find it. WELL! just let me say that teenage boys (with dogs) should not use quilts that have a skerrick of white in them anywhere. The next quilt I make him will be mud-brown, grey and black, just to save him the effort of making it look like that in the end.

I regularly wash my quilts (might do a post on that sometime) but this was beyond gentle soakings. I filled the bath, let it get good and wet, then I took a bar of ordinary soap and I scrubbed every single block. I will not describe the water afterwards, but at least all that dirt wasn't in the quilt anymore. I rinsed it three times to make sure the soap was gone, let it spin on the slow cycle in the machine and spread it over two large racks to dry.

And it came up beautifully. Every time I do this I'm impressed at the durability of quilts, and how much strength the quilting lends to the overall piece. If you look at some old quilts, you'll see that it's only the actual quilting stitches that's holding the shredded fabric together. When people say they don't need to do much quilting on their top, I know that any quilt will last decades longer if it's well quilted.

I used poly sheeting for the borders and I regret it now, it's pilled and shabby and spoils the centre of the quilt but I couldn't afford anything else at the time. Another lesson, polyester won't wear beautifully like the cotton fabrics have done. They might last as long, but they'll look like crap.

However, as it's only the borders I might just cut them off and bind it at the red border as a baby quilt. When Matthew saw it spread out to dry he said happily "You washed my quilt, thanks!" I beat him away from it and told him it's being put away for his first child, no way is he going to mess it up again. (A mixed message there- Don't you DARE touch the quilt I lovingly made for you!!!)

Oh look, the wattle's out.


keryn August 13, 2007  

You could never have guessed that Matt would happily use a teddy bear quilt all through his turbulent teen years. It's a real comfort quilt for him.

I thought I was being clever making DS's quilt navy and black and deep blue so the dirt wouldn't show; the fur from the two grey cats shows up beautifully.

Mary Johnson August 13, 2007  

My boys are hard on their quilts too and I found that medium fabrics work best to hide the dirt. As Keryn said, dark fabrics seem to pick every speck of link, dust, and animal hair in the room.

I don't really mind the wear and tear on their quilts (not even the ink blots on Adam's) because they use and love them.

Lynda (Granny K) August 14, 2007  

How good to know that your son has enjoyed and loved his quilt so much. Quilts sure do take some punishment and still come up smiling!

meggie August 14, 2007  

I love your posts! I laughed about your dark patches with your quilts... some of mine have a few of those, but some just seem to flow, & never give a moment's trouble! I guess they are like kids!
I dont care if my kids love their quilts to death, as long as they use them! SG just loves his, & he plays cubbies with them all the time. And uses mine when he comes here.
I do love that cheerful Teddy quilt.

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