Sunday, June 3, 2012

Sunday Afternoon Quilt

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Whenever I make a quilt, I always learn a lot.  This continues to be true, even though I’ve made probably thirty or forty quilts in my life.  There is always, always some moment in the process where I’m slapped in the face and a lesson falls into my lap.  This time, the lesson was about tying.  Specifically, that I should not do it.  I don’t mean you shouldn’t do it, but I am just an abject failure at tying a quilt, and for whatever reason, it always makes me wish I’d done it differently. 

DSCF0366a  For the first time, I used wool batting, which I can tell you makes the most wonderfully lofty quilt you’ve ever seen.  Lighter than a cloud, but so warm, oh my.  Cozy.  I thought perhaps the wool batting and the wool ties might felt together in holy matrimony and the ties would stay in place forever…which didn’t exactly happen.  The ones that stayed tied through the first washing did felt into cute little puffballs, which are perfect and sweet and which might stay put, I don’t know. 

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It’s 86” x 96”, which is not the biggest quilt I’ve ever made, but it somehow seems enormous.  It seems much bigger than full size.  I had to rearrange all the furniture in order to make enough room to baste it.  While I crawled around on my knees putting safety pins all over it, my family had to climb over chairs and tables to get through the house.  My husband jumped over my head once, yelling “Parkour!”  which cracked me up.

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This old lady kept me company, and held down that corner while I pinned.  Good girl. 

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When I began working on this, inspired by the freedom of the Gee’s Bend masterpieces, I decided I was just going to let whatever happened happen.  Fiddle music played on NPR.  I made snap decisions regarding color, and tried to think only in terms of value.  I did not concern myself with running out of any fabric, and if it happened, I patched in something else.  I added a mustard yellow and gray binding, and then I tied, then quilted, then tied, then quilted, then finally, again, tied this quilt. 

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I washed it.  Some of the ties came out.  The whole thing rumpled up like an old nightie.   I tossed it over the fence to be photographed, and if you can believe it, I was still debating whether or not to machine quilt.  My indecision about this thing was so complete that I had literally finished it, still unsure about what to do. 

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Then I slept under it.  Oh.   The lofty warmth.  The comfy coziness.  The extravagant luxury of it, soft and lovely. 

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It looks like a pile of laundry, but don’t you just love fresh, clean laundry, warm from the dryer?  Don’t you love to burrow down into that basket of soft, cottony clothes?  I do.  I love that. 

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And just like that, I love this quilt, too.  It doesn’t look so great all folded up and sitting there, but it feels divine.  It might come apart a little, but I don’t care.  I already have a lot of quilts that look great on the shelf.  This one feels heavenly.  This is the coziest quilt I have ever made. 

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It’s too big for my clothesline!  And actually, apart from being asleep underneath it, this is how I enjoy it the most—I can only see the overall design when I look at this photo.  A little Gee’s Bend-ish, maybe?  (she said, hopefully).

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That delicious, slanting, afternoon light is making the house dim and golden.  I think it’s time for a nap. 

40 comments:

  1. I have yet to make my first one! :) I finding them so daunting...but maybe this yard, during the gardening and the canning, I'll sit still and sew a few pieces together...

    Your quilt is lovely, and it looks so pretty on the iron bed :)

    m.

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  2. How lovely and all done in an afternoon. It really looks lovely. I love quilts am yet to make my own it's on my bucket list. One day I will pick up the courage to have a go.

    Pattypan

    x

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  3. Hi Kirsten, your quilt is gorgeous.I love the mix of colours and sizes of squares.
    I've been doing a little patchwork today and one day I'll feel confident enough to try a quilt :0)
    Jacquie x

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  4. The quilt is unbelievably gorgeous, the beach blanket is too. I do not know where you find the time to make such amazing, big project. They are perfect.
    Meredith

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  5. Holy Moley! This is outrageously amazing! The thought of making such a huge quilt is terrifying, but I love it on your bed so much! Great job!!!

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  6. it is absolutely gorgeous!

    I am sorry the tying didn't go better for you :-/

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  7. your quilt is amazing!!!
    xxx Alessandra

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  8. Wow, what a lovely quilt! Enjoy the coziness!

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  9. Fresh clean blankets and sheets remind me of Heidi in the Alps making her bed on sweet fresh straw at Grandfather's. I think that sounds perfect! And your description of your latest quilt took me to that perfect place as well :)
    Thanks for sharing your joy with me, Kristen.
    Gracie <3

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  10. Omg, the parkour thing is hilarious! I love it. Also the quilt is beautiful :)

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  11. Some thoughts on tying quilts...

    Are you tying square knots - or granny? If you are tying square knots and they're coming out, I'd recommend backstitching - stitch in the same place again, so there's a stitch on the the front and the back. Usually you don't even need to tie a knot after that, but you can if you prefer the look.

    I often like to tie on the back of the quilt, so that the front just has the dimple from the stitch, but that's certainly easier when you're just tying at a particular spacing rather than a location on your design.

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    1. I have tried so many different kinds of knots, and all sorts of materials, and I always backstitch, too...despite very good expert advice, they always seem to come undone for me, I don't know why. My grandma made a blanket for my brother when he was little, and she tied it, and it stayed tied forever and ever, so I really think it's just me. ;)

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    2. That's so funny! Maybe this means that knots won't stay tied near you, so if you're ever tied up by villains, the knots will undo themselves....

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    3. LOL! This could actually work in my favor! :D

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  12. Oh, nap time under a cosy quilt sounds wonderful! I have been wanting to do the whole tied quilt thing ever since I read a post by Alicia Paulson about her quilts (she ties hers)... Hmmm what to do?
    Enjoy snuggling under your quilt. And I trust that no other ties come undone. :)

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  13. Oh my god, it's beautiful. I wish I'd knew to sew and to be able to make one. Golden fingers you have!!

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  14. That is stunning, you must have such patience.

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  15. Tying?? Please enlighten this total novice, it's the first time I've heard of it. What do you do??
    The quilt does look lovely :-)

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    1. Tying a quilt is where you just take a length of floss or yarn and tack the three quilt layers together and then tie a knot, working these at regular intervals over the whole quilt. It makes a fluffier, more relaxed blanket than stitched needle-and-thread quilting. :)

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  16. Your quilt looks wonderful! The colorway you used is so cheerful, yet the brown banding really grounds it. Nice work!

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  17. Oooh and yet another beauty!!!
    So lovely pieced. It looks just wonderful, and I would love to know how it feels! What wool batting did you use? The one I tried years ago was rather flat. A fluffy wooly batting must be great.
    Really gorgeous quilt, lovely layout and colors!
    xo Hilde

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    1. Hi Hilde, thank you so much! I guess the batting is kind of a store-brand, bought off the bolt at the fabric store. I have the cardboard it comes on, and there isn't any brand label--it just says "100% Virgin Wool". It's pretty fluffy!

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  18. Oh how I love your quilt!!! :o) So sweet and cozy. Just as a quilt should be. I have never tied a quilt, but you have sent me over the edge. I think I need to do that very soon. :o)

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    1. Thank you, dear. I can't offer you much tying advice, other than to say good luck and that others have had much success with it, so you probably will, too. :)

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  19. Your quilt looks so cozy on your bed with your crochet cushion. Love the look of a tied quilt. I bet you used up quite a bit of stash on this one....time to go get more fabric me thinks.
    Thanks for the Parkour link. I have been doing this through my sons room for years and didn't know what it was called...haha.

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  20. Such a beautiful quilt Kristen and such a gorgeous bed!!!! It doesn't matter if it comes apart (the quilt I mean, not the bed...) - is that not the loveliness of all things handmade?? Just snuggle down, cozy up and ENJOY!!!! xxx

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  21. I love it! And, I love the idea of just going with the flow too - sort of scares the hell out of me - but I think I like the end result better than something overplanned. We have wool duvets and love them.... a wool quilt sounds divine. I'm working up to quilt making, slowly but surely the idea is germinating... this is totally inspiring, unravelling ties and all :)

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  22. You amazing, amazing woman! Your quilt is beyond gorgeous. It's so flippin' cold here today - just looking at your quilt is making me feel toasty and warm.

    Have a fab week hon,
    Leah
    xxxx

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  23. I love your quilt, the colours are gorgeous and the cushion looks perfect with the quilt on the bed. Even though they are warm colours, it looks very springlike and as if it would smell of fresh, clean washing!

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  24. Kristen, your quilt is amazing!!! Very good work. You are really skilful! :-) And... your new opening picture is so fresh, the flowers are wonderful! J.

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  25. I love this quilt, you are very talented. I would love to have this on my bed... I'm just learning about quilting and patchwork and you are an inspiration!

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  26. it´s georgeus! I want to do one of this some day but I´m so bad at cutting straight!

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  27. Kristen, what a fabulous quilt. It looks so, so snuggly warm. Love your helper girl, holding down the corner. Will have to enlist the help of my old pooch next time I'm on my knees basting a quilt!!

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  28. It's just beautiful! Now I am in the mood for quilting! Loved the story behind the making!
    Shari

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  29. That's a lovely quilt. Cozy is the most important thing.

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  30. What can I say.....I'm just green with envy...Its wonderful the quilt of course what else could it be and I'm amazed at your talent such a mixture of colours and patterns yet it goes all together. I wouldn't know where to start....to sum it all up I love it and I love the pic of old girl helping out .

    Amanda :-)

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  31. That is an awesome quilt! I LOVE it. The random piecing of big squares, small squares, rectangles, strips, colors, checks, dots, floral. Just fabulous. It feels like a welcome home quilt. The kind that will always ALWAYS make you feel at home whenever you see it. You should be very proud working on such a large piece. It must have been a great challenge. I am so inspired. Fits perfect on your bed. What batting did you use as you say it is so cuddly? Just love this... Oh, and Ia m not sure how I ended up here. I just kind of stepped in side on my way somewhere. Certainly a nice place to be. ♥ Annette ♥

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  32. hiya! i just came over from pinterest to check out your quilt that used vintage sheets. but then i found this quilt! oh, and then i found more, but i kept coming back to this one. i love it! nice work! i would really like to make my own, same size. would you mind sharing the dimensions of any part of it? i hate to ask you to measure ever bit of such a large quilt, but even the knowing the size of the center squares would give me somewhere to start. i can fudge the rest. my email is whoosk * gmail, should i be lucky enough to receive a response. :) now i'm going to forget about making dinner and look around your blog more! thanks!

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  33. i'm back. never mind about the measurements. i actually printed that photo you posted of your quilt sketched on graph paper and figured it out. thanks again for such lovely quilt inspiration!

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