Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Favorite Things: Simple Patchwork Quilts

I quilt, but not elaborately. For some reason, given today's frenetic lifestyle and the perennial lack of time to do most good and worthy things, I can't ever see myself attempting one of those elaborate quilt patterns where you spend hours cutting up shapes and then more hours sewing them back together. I love how they look, but not enough to actually try to make one. It just doesn't make sense for me, on some fundamental level. (Please understand I have no philosophical objection to anyone else doing it, though!)

But quilts made of simple squares make sense to me: because I do still occasionally sew, and I know what it's like to find a small amount of material and to sit and drink in its beauty, and long for enough of it to cover an entire bed. Hence, when you have a large amount of small bits of beloved material, sewing them into a quilt large enough to cover your bed makes all the sense in the world.

I made this quilt of favorite bits from an upholstery shop (blessings upon its memory: the owners, now retired, used to give me and my friends bags of designer scraps -- for free. Our husbands blessed them when they retired!) alternating with denim from my husband's old jeans. So that quilt holds memories of both my husband and this wonderful old store. The center square is a plum purple velour which I adore (there is a matching pillow on the bed), and the cross (I always put a cross in the center) is composed of a tapestry fabric made of peacock fan-shaped designs in wine, blue, purple, and white. Teal blues and a purple and wine patterns make up the outer corners of the central design.

I love my quilts to be heavy and non-fluffy: my first quilts were made with army blankets inside them, and this one is backed with a woven cotton blanket dyed purple. The years took its toll on this quilt, and the already-frayed denim frayed further. It was actually pretty sad-looking for a while.

Then, after my son Joshua died, a good friend who was a quilter came to me and asked me what she could do. I asked her to repair my quilt, and she did. So I am indebted to her for the border of navy blue checked and brown squares along the edges, some of which you can see in this photo. The quilt is now prettier and more durable than it was when it was new.

That is the other reason I love quilts: it's so natural for ones' friends to become a part of them.


Mrs Pea said...

That's a lovely story. I am the same with quilts - only now inspired to do as you do and include a cross.

bonnie: said...

This is such a practical and inspiring idea. I have saves material from clothes & such since I was in high school, but like you, I just can't seem to find the time or motivation to do fancy quilt work. Somehow it never dawned on me to simply sew squares together.

Hmmmm...I am definitely going to consider making a quilt in the near future.

twosacredhearts said...

You inspire me Regina! I will look forward to buying already cut squares and making my first heirloom.