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.
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.
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.
This old lady kept me company, and held down that corner while I pinned. Good girl.
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.
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.
Then I slept under it. Oh. The lofty warmth. The comfy coziness. The extravagant luxury of it, soft and lovely.
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.
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.
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).
That delicious, slanting, afternoon light is making the house dim and golden. I think it’s time for a nap.