18 December 2009

Whole cloth quilt

This is the second in a series I've cleverly named Quilts of Our Lives. (Apparently, this is my go-to topic when I feel like I need something new on the blog but I really don't have time to craft a brand-spanking new post.)

In the interest of full disclosure, note all the photos from this whole series were taken this summer, when we had green grass and wore cropped pants and generally enjoyed the out of doors. Now we have 8" or so of snow and it hasn't been above 15 degrees in two weeks.

Sometimes, for a variety of reasons, I chose to just leave large pieces of fabric as they are and quilt them. Historically, this is referred to whole cloth quilting, and it's unusual, in that one purpose of quilting that I especially admire is the careful use of scraps. It was pretty rare that our foremothers had 6 yards of fabric laying around that didn't need to be cut into clothing or wagon wheels or something. Still, I like the idea of a whole-cloth quilt, and by my definition, the chicken quilt is an example of that.

You'll note, if you went to the whole-cloth quilt link above, that mine looks nothing like those. I mean, mine looks like a preschooler's attempt at Starry Starry Night. I'm comfortable with that.
And you all know better than to do what I do, right? Because I'm not a professional, I'm totally making this up as I go, and often it doesn't work out at all. Okay?
So I sewed around the edges with the quilt sandwich inside out, flipped it, straightened it, pinned it, and quilted in large (5") squares. The batting is, I think, a warm cotton batt (as opposed to the loftier but less warm poly, or ridiculously warm wool), and both the chickens and the gold swirl backing (pictured below) are upholstry weight, denim-y type fabrics, which make for a good thick heavy quilt. When I bought the chicken fabric, I fully intended to make myself a jumper. Leave me alone: I was a librarian at the time, and desperate for some excitement. Luckily, I needed a quilt more than a new jumper, and chicken quilt was born. Considering its weight, I must've used a denim needle or three to do the quilting, and every 5" is almost certainly the very least amount of quilting that batting allows. (which means that if you quilt it more than 5" apart, it's like to disintegrate sooner rather than later and become sort of a crumbly pile of yuck.) You didn't know you were going to learn so much about quilting when this post started, did you?
The chicken are really lovely, and over the years this quilt has held up very well. That may be partly because it wasn't in daily use, until some little sprout got a big girl bed, and needed a big girl quilt to tide her over until Mama gets her shit together enough to make her "a real one." I don't think the chickens have any idea who they're up against.

1 comment:

Megan said...

Oh, they'll learn the pecking order pretty quickly.


Merry Christmas, Jennifer. Hope it's a good one.