Wednesday, October 13, 2010

on quilting a treasure, and WIP Wednesday

One afternoon when I was about 16, I was rooting around in my grandmother's closet, probably bored and looking for a project, and found a box of fabric. Amazingly, the fabric I found turned out to be remnants from clothes my grandmother had made over the years, and most of those clothes were for me! Some of the remnants were more than a decade old since I could remember having dresses made out of several of the pastel fabrics when I was in kindergarten or first grade. She had no plans to make anything from these remnants so I asked if I could have them. I then painstakingly cut out 5 inch squares every day on my long car ride to and from school.

When I graduated from high school, I had finished my very first quilt. I still treasure this quilt, less because it's the first one I made and more because I have so many memories attached to these fabrics. I can remember falling in love with the black fabric with peach roses and the skirt Granny made from it. I can remember the jumper I had made from the wild and feathered tan, purple and aqua fabric that no one liked but me. I can remember the shorts made from the light blue striped fabric, and the jumper with the pastel kitties and bunnies, and the dress from purple calico. Nearly every piece of fabric is woven from my history and is now used to warm my family and houseguests. Quite a treasure, indeed.

Since so many of the early clothes Granny made me were pastel, I had enough pastel fabrics leftover for another quilt. This became my third quilt, and the last quilt I completed. It became Elizabeth's baby quilt.

With many soft pastels of my youth and cozy flannel on the underside, Elizabeth used this quilt daily for the first several years of her life, including dragging it to preschool for use in her daily naptime.

Although this quilt is now largely used to aid in fort building, the corners still bear the years of use when Elizabeth used to suck on her quilt while falling asleep. Her quilt is now faded and worn with the love she bestowed upon her treasured blanket.

When Finn transitioned to his new big boy bed last winter, he began asking for a blanket with cars on it. I'm sure that wouldn't have been a tall order to fill at nearly any store, but I thought it might be time to make another quilt. I know I'm not likely to make a log cabin or pinwheel quilt anytime in the near future, but I can make a quilt with cars. And clearly, I can make treasures.

So I set to work scouring my stash for leftover car fabrics and searching through etsy for prints I thought Finn might like. I found a few Alexander Henry, Michael Miller, Riley Blake and a few random Japanese prints. Slowly, a variety of colors and types of cars, trucks, buses and vans emerged.

And eventually, I managed to get all of my 11 inch squares cut, all 63, to make a 70" x 90" quilt which should fit nicely on Finn's twin size bed. This is definitely still a work in progress. I have all the blocks sewn into strips and plan to sew the strips into the quilt top in the next day or two. Only today did I decide exactly which flannel I wanted for the back of the quilt and order it so there is still much work to be done.

But I'm already so excited for my little boy to open his gift on Christmas morning. Somehow I know it's destined to be a treasure.

And now, trailing on the heels of Finn's quilt is this little bed, picked out at our local farmer's market as just the right size of a certain American Girl who lives in Elizabeth's room and currently sleeps on a pillow beside Elizabeth's bed.

She might need a quilt too, don't you think?


  1. i love that you starting cutting squares for your first quilt when you were 16. what an incredible quilt of memories, such warmth and love to be wrapped in. the pastel quilt is beautiful and so very sweet to know it's history with your daughter. you littlest guy is so lucky to create memories of his own with this new quilt!

  2. Oh Joy this is a wonderful post! What memories your quilts must hold for you. I love that you are making Finn a car quilt and even one for Elizabeth's doll. I made a quilt for each of my children about 8 years ago; they were certainly treasured before they completely wore out.

    Have fun quilting! :)

  3. I love your quilts, the most special ones are the ones made from memories. My mum made a quilt when she was about 18 out of beautiful scraps and I loved it.I asked about it recently only to find it had been cut up for rags:( Your new quilt looks great so far and doll quilts are fun to make (if only all quilts could be so quick and easy!)

  4. WONDERFUL!!!! Both of them are going to love these-- I can just picture Finn's face now!

  5. Gorgeous! I really really really need to learn how to make a quilt...perhaps this winter???!!! What a wonderful present for your children though...truly I'm inspired!
    xo maureen

  6. I love your quilts! I am too making a quilt for my boy for Christmas - It's my first quilt and I am a little nervous.

    I can't wait to see your finished projects!

  7. Such a treasure! All of your quilts are gorgeous and have such special stories behind them. And the little doll bed is precious. You'll have such a wonderful Christmas full of excitement and happy faces!!

  8. So beautiful ;)
    I love all the details. He will go nuts over each square...
    OOhh and I love the little doll bed.

  9. Just discovered your blog and was admiring your beautiful quilts. I recently completed my first quilt, funnily enough for my little boy's 'big boy bed' - thought you might like to see it:
    Now I have a baby girl too and I really like the idea of a memory quilt, so rather than keeping sacks full of old clothes, I'm planning to use some of my favourite little dresses of hers as she grows out of them and use the pieces to make her first bed quilt.

  10. I just came to you by way of Soulemama. I am an avid thrifter, and my favorite thing to find is an old worn quilt. I often daydream about they were used for and by whom....and your post showed the awesome quilt and the back story. Beautiful quilt, beautiful story. Thank you for sharing.

  11. Wow, I love your quilts! What a treasure to have a quilt with the same fabrics that your grandma made dresses for you. I look forward to seeing Finn's quilt when ready. I'm impressed you managed to find so many different prints of cars.


I love to hear what you think!