Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Vintage Flowers Quilt, the Reveal

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In an effort to have this not be about my two—yes, two—broken sewing machines, I will simply say this:  plastic is not an optimal material to use for machinery gears.  It seems obvious to me, and to you, too, I’m sure, but somebody out there needs to hear it.  Parts have been ordered, but I am machine-less at the moment, which gets me a little panicky.  Okay, let’s distract ourselves from that disaster:

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The Vintage Flowers Quilt is done!  Somebody asked me whether I actually use all my quilts, and I was able to honestly say that yes, I do, although you’ll have to include “it sits there neatly folded and looking pretty for my visual enjoyment” in the definition of use.  I doubt any family of four really needs this many quilts and blankets, but I like to make them, so that makes them useful to me, and for many months of the year, it is cold here in New York, so there’s always room for another quilt. 

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One issue I did not anticipate:  the non-cotton content of these fabrics meant that it was not a super fun sewing experience.  They also don’t snuggle up nicely against the cotton batting, but rather hover over it, making this a puffier quilt than I usually strive for, and somehow it lacks stitch definition.  At least I think that’s what the problem is. 

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For the backing, I used the only 100% cotton sheet in the pile, so it is still soft and nice on the side that faces me.  One sheet was big enough, so no piecing, hooray!  I love the binding, too—that print looks kind of Liberty-ish to me, and it’s probably as close to Liberty as I’ll ever get, alas. 

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As I worked on this blanket, suffering one machine failure after another, I realized that it was never going to be square, flush, plumb, a perfect grid or any other measure of a well-made quilt.  It is crooked.  The seams are crazy.  The fabric biased a little.  It is made of somebody else’s discarded laundry!  I can make a beautiful quilt with perfect points and neat, even stitches, and I have done so, lots of times, but really, that is just not what I’m after, and usually it just happens by accident anyway, since I’m very lucky to have access to beautiful tools and a lovely space in which to use them. 

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I love this motley little mess.  I love the goofy sashing and the knockoff fabric binding and the nostalgic weekend-at-Grandma’s look of the old sheets, and really, I love the hectic nature of the whole process of making a big, floppy, warm, cozy quilt.  There’s blood, sweat, and tears, almost every time.  That’s the mark of something worth doing. 

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Maybe you’ve noticed my new couch?   We went to IKEA again (oh gosh, IKEA, how much I looooooove you) and brought home the least original couch in the world, the couch most loved by fabulous stylish bloggers the world over, and with very good reason, too, because it is the Perfect Couch—yes, we got an Ektorp

Here’s the room now:

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I can only photograph that corner of the room at any given time, because just outside the frame, to the left, is my husband’s chair, which is surrounded by computer cords and the piles of paper which are associated with his doctoral dissertation.  In fact, if you look carefully, you can see his leg; he was diligently working on his formulas even as I clicked away.  You can also see the new quilt, folded on the shelf of my new Hemnes coffee table (IKEA!  Marry me!) and which is now the cat’s new favorite sleeping spot.  See?  Useful. 

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Don’t they look perfect together?  Ah, bliss. 

26 comments:

  1. Your quilt is beautiful and looks great in your new living room! (All my photos have to be carefully framed to avoid all our junk:)

    I sympathize with your plastic gear problem, which is now why I sew on a vintage machine with metal gears. I personally have never done a quilt on a machine, but FWIW my fellow vintage machine enthusiasts recommend a Singer 15-91 for that.

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    1. I would dearly love a vintage sewing machine...oh dear, I can feel the pull of ebay sucking me in right now! :)

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  2. Beautiful!!! Love the looks of your quilt :)

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  3. To me this IS the perfect quilt. It is just beautiful and very inspiring. I have never made a quilt but this is the sort I would like to have. I don't want one where you go to the shop and buy special fabrics and then cut them up. That seems weird to me and not what quilting used to be about. I love everything about this, the colours and the design. I am collecting fabric for a quilt but have a way to go.
    Sara

    I'm a bit frightened of the machine quilting process and now know I am right to be! My machine is OK but not a top end one by any means so I do wonder if it could cope. Anyway, my plan is to hand quilt if I ever get to that point. I have a new machine hardly ever used and one that is about 20 years old. When I bought the older one there were dire warnings that they didn't make them like they used to. Well, in comparison with the new one it's made from granite and steel. Not so clever as the new one but what it does it does well and has not let me down. At the moment though I have lost all ot's bits and pieces when I moved, so am unable to use it.

    Your room looks great and yes I have an Ikea sofa too but a smaller one. It's not doing too badly.

    Sorry for the long comment. Blogger rendered me unable to either see or make comments for a while, so making up for those lost words!

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    1. I have one "fancy" machine, made for quilting, and one cheap-o machine, purchased for $20 at a yard sale, and both failed me on this project. I begin to think maybe it's me! Don't be scared, though, just go slow, keep your machine lubed according to the recommendations, and good luck to you. :)

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  4. i love this quilt for the very reason that it is made of vintage fabric and also the way you've given it a contemporary look with the checked sashing..i just might have to make a similar one..and that's the first time i've ever wanted to make someone else's design..

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    1. Thanks very much! I'd love to see yours. :)

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  5. Love, LOVE, love, LoVe, Love The Quilt!!!!!!! I must dive into my collection of vintage sheets.

    Ektorp ... The Perfect Sofa for us Artsy-Fartsy Types. I have the loveseat and two club chairs. =)

    Hugs ... Erin

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    1. LOL! It is the perfect sofa. It's like a white gallery wall, excellent for staging our crafty crafts. And comfy, too. IKEA has never let me down so far. :)

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  6. Oh my gosh!!!! I love it. The gingham is awesome and look at that blue floral backing! It looks great on your new couch. Everything will look great on your new couch, even your husbands mess. I didn't think about the fabric content of the sheets being an issue, but your right, it would be a different sewing experience. Totally worth it though. Bummer about your sewing machines. I guess you will have to knit or crochet something. Darn :)

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  7. that new sofa tossed with the patchy pillow and new/old quilt is BEGGING to be napped on!!

    FAB as always!!

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  8. I think it turned out great even with all the wonkiness! And the binding! Has to be my favorite part of it. Awesome job!

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  9. You described it perfectly. It is beautiful, imperfections and all.

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  11. Oh I love the muted colours and the browns gingham, was wondering how it will turn out, but indeed, it's lovely!
    A few things...your profile shot blanket is creating quite a stir on our Facebook group "Ons Hekel" - quite a few fans there! (Afrikaans for "We Crochet")
    ...IKEA, oh please, please, please come to South Africa??? We are waiting, many of us...it was one of the good things of living in Aus a while ago...there was an IKEA in Brisbane and I love and still use the small goodies I bought there. Can't wait for my next trip to wherever there might be an Ikea...

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    1. Ooh, the Woodstock has fans? That's exciting! My fingers are crossed for you that IKEA comes to South Africa. :)

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  12. Kristen its just lovely! I love the way the simple squares are offset perfectly by the brown gingham - it works brilliantly, I just love it!Perfect!
    Loving that bright round crocheted cushion too in the first picture.

    Ikea always comes up with the goods doesnt it?
    Gill xx

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    1. Thank you so much, Gill! I do love how it turned out. :)

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  13. Hi Kristen
    Your quilt is fabulous!! Love the gingham sashing so so much!
    I also killed two sewing machines this summer. One was a cheapy plastic machine and the other a not so cheap machine. I don't think it's you :)

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  14. Hi Kristen, I thought of you when I saw this unusual crochet cushion this morning (far to complicated for me!)
    http://karinaandehaak.blogspot.com/

    Gill xx

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  15. My goodness, Kristen! It must be because you just keep crafting and quilting and knitting away. Love the Harvest Moon sweater and the quilt is lovely with its mix of patterns and color. Have a wonderful weekend. Tammy

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  16. Love this quilt. I think the fact that it looks squishy and the fabric doesn't sit smoothly adds to its appeal. I love anything made with vintage fabrics so it's a big thumbs up from me... and your cat obviously!! Have a fab weekend. xx

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  17. This quilt is beautiful!!!! I'm such a quilt fan, especially the ones you make. So cool! Also, the couch looks super comfy. I am looking forward to sitting on it next time I visit :)

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    1. Aw, thanks hon! We are endeavoring to keep this couch cat-free, so you'll appreciate that. ;)

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  18. It is such a gorgeous quilt!!

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  19. I love the combination. I like to quilt and crochet too. Love the blog
    Janice

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