Thursday, November 25, 2010

And one for me

I rarely make quilts, or any sewing project, of which I myself is the recipient. I am constantly making things for others: family, friends, babies, co-workers, charity. I rarely make anything for me. I think this is common to artists, who don't make things for themselves but for the consumption of others. It is also, I think pretty common for mothers-taking care of others and their needs. But I also think it's personality.  I rarely pamper myself full on and I find it difficult to accept pampering from others (just ask AJ).

So it took quite a while before I made myself a quilt. I'd made several baby quilts by then, as well as a couple of twin size quilts for my girls as they moved to twin beds. I'd also made a bedspread or two. And then, I decided, it was my turn. I remember thinking about it specifically as a gift to myself. This came at a time when things were tight around here, spatially and financially. I'd just had a reduction in pay at work, and the girls and I moved to the smaller place downstairs as I could get more for renting the upstairs portion of the house to housemates. The place downstairs was not only smaller, but had poorer lighting and no tub; it was a definite step down. So as compensation for this, I decided to make myself a quilt, for MY bed.

This being such a special and unusual occasion, I decided to make myself a particularly complex quilt. My mom had given me a book about quilters years before and in it was a photograph of a beautiful strip quilt. I was able to figure out the pattern by studying the photo and make this. I call it "Strip Circles":

The quilt is made of triangles and strips (and our cat Elliott just had to get in the picture). The strips are all from my stash (you can tell I had been sewing for a number of years by now; look at all those fabrics!) and are one inch wide, before sewing. That's a lot of strips. I sewed the strips onto the triangles, making ever-increasing pizza slice-shaped pieces. I then sewed two slices together and combined them with triangles of the background fabric. This formed squares which I sewed together into larger squares, making the circles.

A close up:

This quilt took a bit of time to make, but not as long as I thought it would. Sewing machines and straight lines go well together. I pieced the top, along with the border, and used an Ikea comforter as batting. For the back I sewed together two kinds of red swirly fabrics and some solid burgundy to have two totally different effects on either side of the quilt (and thus my reversible quilt idea was born, an idea I will use many times over the years). I had it done in time for winter that year and was happy to cozy up in it.

A few years later I upgraded to a queen size bed and this no longer fit. It has since been used on the couch and in the guest room. It makes me smile to see it, every time.

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