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.