Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Making quilts from Grandma's clothes

My blog has been pretty boring lately, there are many excuses, or should I say reasons why. First off, my family life is incredibly full right now, which has been so much fun. The kids are involved in all sorts of things, and school started, which means homework has to be done. Sports need practicing, and weekends are packed.

I have been sewing, a lot actually, but just haven’t shared what I am working on. I wasn’t sure if anybody wanted to know about it. I was commissioned to make 3 quilts this summer, to have them done by Christmas. The quilts are made from the clothing of this woman’s mother. She is giving the three quilts to her (grown) children. Basically, a memory quilt. She gave me two bins full of clothing, she had already taken the clothing apart, which was nice, so I had usable pieces right away.

I’ve been slowly, but surely getting these quilts made. First off, I knew it would be a challenge. When somebody says “fabric from my mom’s clothes” I hear “polyester, slippery fabric, pastels” And my assumption was correct. There are some crazy fabrics! I was at first very overwhelmed by the total randomness of the fabrics, they were all so different, and I couldn’t wrap my head around them AT. ALL. I finally spread them all out on the floor and separated them into a “light” category and “dark” category. That helped.

I then started searching through my quilt books and magazines trying to find patterns that emphasized the light/dark methods, using simple shapes. I was also looking for something that looked traditional. After I found several patterns I liked, I emailed them to my “customer” and told her I’d like to do variations of these patterns. She was happy with them, so I took off.

The book Quilts, Quilts & More Quilts came to my rescue!

My first quilt was a trip around the world pattern. I have tried, in every quilt, to use as many of the fabrics as possible. I grouped the fabrics light vs. dark, and then found a light and dark that somewhat matched. I use “match” very loosely here. If a fabric had green, I would find another that had a green, even if it was a green that didn’t match the other, it was just green. Haha! It was killing my color theory, more like torturing it! :) It was agonizing I tell you.

Okay, so after matching my fabrics, I started cutting strips. And when you work with fabric from clothes, there is no strip piecing, no making it faster and easier, you cut one strip at a time and sew it to another. Again agonizing!

Finally I had it all pieced together. I backed this quilt with a lovely flannel, and bound it with a neutral tan. I did simple line quilting on it to hold it all together. I really like how it turned out. My 9 year old, Jessie, told me “that isn’t my favorite quilt you’ve made Mom” I am rather happy with it, using all of those crazy fabrics was quite a challenge.

The second quilt top is complete, I am currently basting it. The third quilt is in the stage of piecing the blocks together to make a top. I’m going to get these knocked out by Christmas for sure!

It has been hard to work on these when I have so many other pretty projects on my plate right now, but it feels good to actually be paid to make a quilt for somebody, let alone 3 of them!


Kathy A. said...

Congratulations girl! I know how much of a challenge it is to work from such fabrics. You have done a wonderful job even if it's not Jessie's favorite.
I look forward to seeing your other two quilts as they come together.

randi said...

i think the family will love this quilt since it reflects the colors worn by the mother. just lovely!

looking forward to seeing the next one!

Just Jenn said...

Wow! For how completely random those fabrics were you did a great job pulling them together and giving them a unity and cohesiveness I wouldn't have thought possible. Well done you! Looks fantastic!

Dirt Road Quilter said...

You've pieced a beautiful quilt filled with precious memories for this family and I'm certain all 3 of them will become family treasures. I can only imagine what a challenge is was to work with such a variety. You've done a wonderful job!

Lizzy said...

It was good to hear from you, Heather and thank you for your sweet encouragement. What an amazing quilt ~ It's beautiful and I'm sure all three of them will be when you are finished with them. And what a wonderful remembrance! Your quilts are always so lovely and your wee babes, just precious!
Blessings always in stitches...

Brigitte said...

Wow, it's incredible what you made out of this pile of randomly gathered fabrics. Stunning!

Linda said...

What a labor of love--even if you are getting payed for it! I think it turned out wonderfully!

MysteryKnitter said...

Wow! You sure have skills!