Friday, March 24, 2017

Quilts #78 & #79: Nana's Last Gift

About a month ago, I got a text from the mom of one of my son's classmates. Her mom. Dorothy "Dot" Dowdell passed away in December. Dot was a quilter, and since no one else in the family quilted, her daughter asked if I could give her supplies a good home.

I'm part of a quilting group at church, so when I saw how much I was gifted, I knew I'd have plenty to share. As I sorted though this generous gift, I hoped I would find something I could use to make something for the family. I was SO excited to find this among her stash.

She didn't have any notes or a pattern to let me know what she had in mind, but it appears that she ran out of some of the fabric, and as we quilters are wont to do, set it aside as a UFO (unfinished object).

I played around in EQ7 with different formats, trying to find the best pattern to stay true to vintage of the prints (which I estimate to be from the 80s) and is workable with the fabric I had, which was cut into strips and small pieces. I had enough to make 3 more blocks.

One of my friends, who knows the family, suggested that since I didn't have enough fabric to make a full quilt in any of the designs I liked, that I make two lap quilts for the children. I loved the idea!

I picked apart the blocks so I had a nice stack.

I ironed out the decades of wrinkles and replaced a few strips that had unraveled or ripped.

After the blocks were repaired and ironed, they went together very quickly. I had four different quilts going on at the time, so I had to get creative with my design wall space.

Some of the prints were very fragile. All of the strips were ripped, not cut with a rotary cutter or scissors so they were pretty stringy after all these years and it was a bit of a challenge to sew them together. There were several places where I had to go back and creatively stitch blocks together because the 1/4" seam was literally strings of thread.

I made the two quilts similar but also slightly different.

The blocks were 14.5" unfinished, so at this point the lap quilts were 56" x 42", just a little smaller than I wanted for 8 and 11 year olds. I added a 2.5" border to bring the size to 61"x 47".

Dot had several yards of the blue fabric, which would have been perfect for a solid backing if I had made one quilt, but was just a little shy for making two. I had two blocks left over, so I wanted to include them on the back. I only had a few strips of the rest of the prints to work with, so I came up with this.

I liked that the back turned out a little more modern. It's a challenge to finish someone else's work, especially when you've don't know her and have never seen any of her work. I want Charlie and Annabelle to think of their nana, not me, when they see their quilts, so I think this was a good compromise, to have a touch of my style in the back.

For quilting, I used a spiral to soften the lines of the log cabin blocks, which didn't always align perfectly. The quilting is hard to see on the front, but I love the way it looks on the back.

As I was quilting, I started to fret about the binding. My pile of scraps was getting pretty small.

At first, I thought I would need to alternate between the prints to make a scrappy binding, but my math (thank you, Mrs. Prigge!) showed that I could make enough with the lighter burgundy print. I made all the binding for both quilts at once. As it turned out, I had just enough!

This was the second time I used the magnetic seam guide. It makes such a difference!

I don't always wash my quilts before gifting, but this fabric was quite musty. I actually had a pretty nasty allergy attack while working on this project. Once I figured out what was making me sick, I opened the windows  (even on 30F days and moved my diffuser to my craft room). That helped a lot. I wanted to make sure I got the smell out before the kids cuddled the quilt, so I put in the washer on the gentle cycle and dried with a wet rag spritzed with lavender essential oil and a couple of color catchers.

Relieved that the reds didn't bleed, I added the labels.

On our way from school, I saw this branch in the undeveloped part of our neighborhood. We went home, I grabbed the quilts and clips and came back for an impromptu photo shoot.

Finally, I wrote a card, including the care instruction cards I've made.

To see more pictures of this quilt in progress, look for #OttoLogCabin on Instagram.  If you'd like to see what I'm currently working on, follow me at de Jong Dream House.

Updated: The family sent me the sweetest pictures of the kiddos with their quilts. And then, after spring break, my son came home from school and delivered this to me.

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1 comment:

  1. A perfect solution for this top! Well done, and I'm sure they loved it! Thanks for sharing on Midweek Makers


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