Friday, January 16, 2009

Toasty Warm

The deep freeze is upon us here in the Midwest, for a few days at least. We don't have a thermostat-controlled furnace. We used to heat with wood-burning stove, which we eventually replaced with a propane heater. The heater is turned down to low at night, so the temperature in the house drops when it gets really cold, and then it is time to dig out the extra blankets so we can sleep comfortably.

Back in the foggy mists of time, we raised ducks. The ducks got all of our kitchen scraps, and so whenever I went outside they showed up to see if I had any handouts.

Thus, when we out to take a picture with the birthday cake (there are 6 candles in the cake, so duhhh... I guess he was 6 years old that year), this duck thought we might have something for her to eat. We both thought she was going to fly up and help herself.

Geese have down. So do ducks, so I got the idea to make a down-filled comforter for our son. Every time I killed a duck to eat, I plucked the down and the smaller softer feathers and kept it in a big bag.

I lack the gene that other women seem to have for creating beautiful quit tops -- meaning I can't draw a straight line with a ruler, I have difficulty cutting a straight line that someone else has drawn, and I have trouble sewing an even seam. I am not really very artistic. I used to clean house for Vimala McClure the woman who made this quilt and this qult, and others that were so amazingly beautiful they are impossible to describe. They weren't really quilts, more like fabric paintings. Being in her quilt studio was like being in the Louvre. But I digress.

At any rate, I decided to make something that I could manage -- a crazy quilt. None of the pieces in one of these has to be a perfect geometric shape for the pattern to turn out, and the colors don't have to be coordinated. I checked out a book from the library on embroidery and knew I could manage the simple embroidery stitch for the seams. I began collecting men's ties from junk stores, used clothing stores, and yard sales. All sorts of fabric: velvet, satin, silk.

I made individual 12-inch blocks out of the pieces of ties. I did a simple embroidery stitch over the top.

Some of them I sent off to relatives to embroider their names on.

Our son loved trains -- still does in fact-- and he had a collection of train patches.

So I added some of his train patches as well.

And it looks like I didn't quite finish the over stitching on this one. Wonder how come I didn't notice that 20 years ago!

For the back, I cut large 12-inch blocks of fabric from old clothes and sewed them to the top blocks to make the pouches. I filled them with down, which was sort of like being in a pillow fight, and then sewed them all together.

I dug it out a few nights ago from where I had stored it. Some of the squares have not held up too well. Some of the fabric in the ties was too delicate for what I put it through, and some of the fabric on the back was too old and it rotted. Some of the down has escaped, but it is still plenty warm.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Leilani! The quilt is beautiful! You did a great job on it!! It is what I would call an heirloom!! A piece of art!!!