Monday, July 9, 2012

Faded Summer Quilt

 

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Here’s something interesting:  if I finish a quilt and I’m not 100% thrilled with it, I have an immediate urge to start another one, to get it right this time.  And if I finish a quilt that turned out just the way I hoped, I have an immediate urge to start another one, probably just to keep the euphoria going.  That’s not the way it is with knitting, which I think I do because I figure I’m going to get cold at some point; nor is that the way it is with crochet, which I do because it brings color to my life.  Quilts are something else, and it’s got the potential to result in too many quilts, and I’m still pondering that.  Anyhoo. 

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This quilt happened because the last one I made was a disappointing experience, but in it there were flashes of what I did want, and that keeps me interested. 

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Success!  This time around, I got it right, and I’m so pleased.  Elements:  wool batting (learned here) simple construction with no triangles (learned here) hand quilt!  Yes!  (learned here) and no poly blends (learned here) which make the hand-quilting un-fun. 

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The top is constructed of 4” squares at 20 x 22—the finished top is 80” x 88”.  I used all lights and neutrals for a soft, faded look, and I couldn’t believe how many light-colored fabrics I already had in the cupboard.  I didn’t have to buy anything.  Which I love, because it means I can start right now, with no waiting!  The inspiration for this came from here.  I piled the fabrics on the work table and spent a few days walking past them, occasionally weeding out the ones that stood out too much, which is the part that takes me the longest, that fabric audition.  It’s hard for me to get that right.

Because we’re in the middle of a heat wave, I spread the pinned quilt over my work table and aimed a fan at my legs and then happily spent the next few hours stitching and unpinning—the pins go in that teacup as I remove them—and singing along with the radio, and before I knew it, I was done.

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I just want to say it again, because it blows my mind a little to think about this:  I hand-quilted this whole thing.  Now, of course, my grandma (she of the perfect triangle points) would not be satisfied with it, and she would perhaps suggest that now the quilt is basted and would I like to spend the next twenty years doing it right, but Grandma is probably out buying more geraniums right now and will not see this, so I feel safe in showing you.  And anyway, if it’s good enough for Jane Brocket, it’s plenty good enough for me—check out her gorgeous book.  She gave me permission to take big chunky stitches using #5 perle cotton, and dang if I didn’t finish this entire thing in one day.  Jane, I love you. 

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I quilted across each row, right down the middle of the squares, first going one way, then across the stitches, going the other way.  The wool batting makes this so easy.  I didn’t use a hoop or anything, just spread the thing over the table and ran the needle through it.  It was speedy and satisfying. 

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This is almost the first full-size quilt I’ve ever hand-quilted.  It’s certainly the first since the time I made that peach-and-teal thing with the stitched-on doilies back in college.  Yes, while everyone else was out drinking tequila and getting arrested, I was at home quilting.  That’s me.  Anyway, there are—blessedly-- no pictures of it.  It was made with dress leftovers in two colors—peach. and. teal.  Because that’s what I had enough of in the instant I felt the need to start making a quilt.  I used three layers of poly batting.  Instead of patches, I quilted the block designs on the plain fabric, using a huge crewel needle (didn’t know better) late into the night, watching The Beverly Hillbillies and The Patty Duke Show on cable.  I poured so many hours of my life into that quilt, and it was soooo ugly—thus my lengthy fabric audition process.  Don’t want to go through that again.  But I digress.

Before washing, the finished quilt looked orderly, if a bit stiff.  It looked like this:

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After washing, it looks considerably more rumpled:

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With this quilt, rumpled is the point.  And it looks like it’s already spent several summers hanging on a clothesline and going on picnics.  It’s soft and floppy and pre-faded. 

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When the kids were little, I sent everyone to their rooms to read for an hour in the afternoons.  I went to my room, too, and drew the shades and lay in the soft light, reading and snoozing.  I didn’t think about what to make for dinner, or laundry or anything else.  I just rested.  So lovely.  This quilt makes me think of that.  Softly resting. 

46 comments:

  1. Very, very nice! My grandmother also taught me how to quilt but haven't had my hand in one for awhile now.. I love all the fabric colors you choose for it... they all seem to "fit" just right together! Now I am really in the mood to make one myself.. one problem... no fabric here.. will have to go shopping and soon!
    XOXO
    Shari!

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  2. Absolutely gorgeous. You've inspired me to finally learn to sew :) Thanks for sharing your work.

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  3. Beautiful quilt, I love it. The faded colours are so gorgeous. I love the big quilting and can't believe you finished it in a day. And also, you can never have too many quilts. I love to see them all piled up. I haven't got many at the moment but I'm planning to change all that xxx

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  4. Oh my goodness! This is so pretty - I am really loving the summer chilled colours! It honestly is beautiful!

    Kate xxx

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  5. I would be making an excuse to taking a nap with this quilt also. All the colors are so perfectly great together!

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  6. I DESIRE a quilt like this. Wow. It is too beautiful for words.

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  7. Beautiful! Thanks for all your inspiration.

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  8. Beautiful... you are super quilt woman!

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  9. I think your Grandma would be beaming with pride! Simply lovely. You're so talented!
    Have cozy week,
    penny x

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  10. It's wonderful Kristen...thankyou for all the links.
    Jacquie x

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  11. This is my new favourite quilt. It's really beautiful and I love the sneaky bits of red that got in there. Your quilts always look organic and whole and as if they were meant to be. I love the various patterns and colours here. I like the notion that quilts use what we have, that to me is partly what quilts are about.

    I keep getting wrong fabrics for my quilt. I'm buying 'vintage' fabrics on-line as there are no shops around here and it's a bit hit and miss Sometimes the fabric although beautiful is more curtain weight when it arives. I'm getting there though. I'm glad you hand quilted as that is what I intend doing but sometimes it seems such a mammoth unfeasible task. You just made it seem do-able, so thank you.
    Sara

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  12. I love it. I love the faded crumpledness and the colours are perfect. Another blogger who makes it look so easy!
    It's very lovely indeed

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  13. It's absolutely perfect! And an afternoon reading sounds heavenly.

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  14. Hi, lovely things you make. I found your blog through Rebekka Seale's. That quilt is gorgeous!! I've been cutting squares for my next quilt, just using scraps but I'm already thinking of the one I want to do AFTER that. :) Guess there are worse things to be addicted to.

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  15. That is beautiful! I am so inspired to make something similar. But I can't believe that your previous quilt was a disappointment to you as I find it absolutely stunning. You make wonderful things. Thanks for sharing. I've learned something new today - low volume fabric.... Interesting.

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  16. It is a beautiful quilt - so soft and comforting looking. What a nice idea to have an afternoon rest. I am not keen on afternoon naps as i wake up groggy (and a bit evil!) but laying in a tranquil room with the shades closed and nothing to worry about for an hour sounds like bliss. xxx

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  17. What a beautiful quilt. You've done a wonderful job. Perfect for relaxing. Have a lovely week.
    Ali x

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  18. I think your quilt is perfect it reminded me of some I have made with faded preloved fabrics. You may be interested in looking at Kim of worn and washed for inspiration and fabric bundles. She sells bundles of precut rectangles to make scrappy quilts and does really good workshops. I promise I dont work for her as it sounds like I am promoting her. You may already know about it. Well done for hand quilting it too it's quite hard work on your hands.

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  19. Oh my, your quilt is completely gorgeous the colours are perfect ,completely me ,you have inspired me to make another one xxxxxx

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  20. I. am. in. looooooooooooooooove.

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  21. What a soft, happy quilt! You did a wonderful job. And of course now I want to make a quilt!

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  22. Oooooh that is simple GORGEOUS!!! The colours are absolutely perfect. If I could create quilts as beautiful as yours my little mill house would be piled high with them!
    Thank you for such scrummy 'eye candy'!
    Hugs to you! :) x

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  23. WOW Kristen that is one GORGEOUS quilt!! I have a single bed sized quilt waiting for me to tackle the hand quilting (been waiting 18 months - I'm a bit scared!) but you have inspired me to get a copy of that book from the local library & get quilting! Thank you (and my daughter who's waiting for her quilt will thank you too!)! Have a great week :) Helen x

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  24. I love the quilt but I also love how you wrote about your process it was enjoyable thanks for sharing
    RaNae

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  25. I am absolutely in love with your new quilt! I can't believe you have done all that finishing by hand - you are amazing. And what I am loving even more is your comment about sending everyone to their rooms for an hour to read ..... it's the school holidays here and the small people are driving me crazy so that might be a fine idea!!

    Have a fabulous week hon.
    Leah
    xx

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  26. Oh wow..that is just beautiful! The colors and fabrics you chose are perfect. This makes me want to go out and buy a sewing machine just so I can teach myself how to quilt.

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  27. Lovely! I love the soft colors. I haven't tried wool batting or quilting with perle cotton, but I think I will try both on my next quilt.

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  28. Soo beautiful. You are so vey talented in so many ways. The colors are so peaceful and quiet it really invites you for a nap. Wonderful work Kirsten. You are an artist!

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  29. love this quilt.....and love ur descriptions they capture a moment in time.....

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  30. You are AMAZING!!! I love this quilt and your talent! Keep up the great work!

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  31. I don't think anything handmade has to be done perfectly perfect. The fact that it is handmade already makes it special. You are amazing! I can't believe you hand quilted the whole thing in a day. I love the faded, muted colors. It looks like it's already been used and washed a thousand times. Comfy and cozy. Best wishes, Tammy

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  32. Woweee! I LOVE it. Perfectly soft and rumpled, and the colors looks great! Can't wait to finish mine. The hand quilting you did is the best. No hoop or thimble, just plop it down and go for it.
    Beeee u tif ul!
    Lynne

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  33. I love your quilt!! Now I want to start one! I love Jane Brocket too! She is the best!

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  34. I went to me room this afternoon and just rested - until I fell asleep and remained so for a bit over 3 hours!!!! Mama Needed a nap!!!! Those subdued soft colors are not ones I often use but that quilt was just so soothing.....

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  35. You did a fabulous job! I just love a fresh out of the wash quilt....all bumpy and lumpy, with cozy softness! Yours is perfect.
    Hugs,
    Kris

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  36. OOOHHH! I want one, I really want one of those. Your choice of fabrics is perfect.

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  37. Lovely!!! Fabrics, hand quilting... great result! :-) Jolana

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  38. Kristen its lovely! So soft and feminine and it looks vintage because of the random squares, no matchy matchy fabrics or formal pattern - and i love how you've hand quilted it too, and in a day!!!!It si lovely once washed, all soft and cosy looking.
    As ever you inspire me, I have a quilt half finished which I am hand quilting for my daughter, now I want to tatke it up and see if I can finish it too.
    Thanks for sharing this and inspiring me, it is a gorgeous quilt!
    Gill xx

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  39. OMG..I love this quilt...love the fabrics and the quilting and just want to cuddle up in that amazing quilt! Great job!

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  40. this is truly a gorgeous post, i want to step into every photo. i love the quilt, the title of this post, and gosh darn it kristen, i want to make one of these too. how is it i want to make every thing you do?

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  41. Beautiful quilt.... I have visions of you guys lying in the shade of a sprawling tree on a hot summer's day eating the most delish picnic...! Enjoy. xxx

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  42. I absolutely adore your quilt, beautifully loved air to it, reminds me of liberty fabrics....gorgeous. Fiona

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  43. What a gorgeous quilt!
    I just discovered your blog today and I'm really enjoying it.
    Greetings from The Netherlands,
    Thara

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  44. Oh, I LOVE this. Thank you for sharing your process and links. I feel inspired! I've only made two other "real" quilts in my life (not counting the baby comforters), and the last one, if you are so inclined, I blogged about here:

    http://simplyhomemaking60.blogspot.com/2012/09/i-am-not-quilter.html

    I had no idea what I was getting into when I started that one. Now I really want to try to make one similar to yours. Thank you thank you!!!

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  45. that is absolutely perfectly gorgeous!! i just pulled a bunch of fabric fpr a "low volume" quilt myself, and now i want to reconsider my choices...yours is soooooo pretty, and i can't believe you quilted it that fast! so glad i discovered your blog :)

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  46. Just saw this the other day and had to rush up to my fabric stash despite having a million er billion other projects (quilt, cross st, embroidery, knit and crochet) started. This long winter just begs for a summery quilt. AnnieL

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