Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Something Old, Something New

Every quilt has a story.  For my quilt, the story began last year when I fell in love with a beautiful selection of vintage prints at a favorite craft store.  One, with its pretty pink roses reminded me of my comforter set from my first college apartment in Augusta, Georgia.  I think it still may be tucked away in a closet at my parent’s house.  A second fabric brought back memories of a dress I made with my mother’s help and I quickly picked up the bolt of creamy calico with tiny purple flowers.  I had no pattern in mind so I asked for a half yard of each, which I felt would be sufficient to create a lap quilt of my choosing.

Ten years ago, I judged a book by its cover.  More Quilts From The Quiltmaker’s Gift by Joanne Larsen Line is a beautifully illustrated instructional book that celebrates the giving nature of the quilting tradition.  Each pattern in the book is a testament to planning and requires a lot of time, effort and attention to detail.  At the time, my focus was on scrap quilting and appliqué and I didn’t have the interest in some of the more intricate patterns offered in the book.  The book was shelved and every few years, I would rediscover it, wistfully gazing at the glossy pages.

It was within these pages that I found the pattern that would perfectly showcase my vintage blends of creams, pinks, lavenders and greens.  “Spool” is a pattern comprised of simple squares and triangles while balancing the shades of lights and darks.  I had found my roadmap and was ready to embark on the journey.
I never create a quilt from all new fabrics.  My first stop was an archeological dig through my fabric stash and my mom’s.  I pulled numerous fabrics left over from long ago creations that blended well with the newly purchased ones.  Several favorites were part of a quilt that my Mom and I made when a friend’s mother was diagnosed with cancer.  The pale lavender dotted with cream colored roses and tiny green leaves and a lemony yellow laced with a subtle hint of white reminded me of her strength. 

I also discovered a green and pink striped fabric on a shelf in my mother’s sewing room which had been long forgotten.  It didn’t fit in with the neighboring jewel tones so I borrowed it for my outer borders.  It took a day to cut all of the pieces and two weekends to sew the quilt top together.

I then needed to choose my fabrics for the back of the quilt.  After deciding on flannel, I found a paisley in green and purple at the local store.  I bought what was left on the bolt, knowing it wouldn’t be enough.  I added a white and blue polar bear flannel to lengthen each end.  In 2000, my mother visited a small company in Thomson, Georgia that manufactured sheets.  They sold fabric remnants by the pound and Mom bought so much of the polar bear flannel, we still use it to line the backs of quilts.  My “911 Quilt” that I started within days after the Twin Towers fell has the soft, familiar flannel on its reverse.

Every quilt has a story and this one is no exception.  It has the strength of others that have come first and one day, pieces of this of this quilt’s story will be sewn into the next, full of promises and endless possibilities. 

“Something Old, Something New, Something Borrowed Something Blue”.  For Chantel, 2013