Documenting quilts

To me, documenting quilts makes sense – it reminds me a little bit of scrapbooking.

My MIL is a quilter, and an amazing one. She made us an engagement quilt and it was, in a word, awesome. She made many quilts, and then moved on to “art garments”, taking part in the invite-only Fairfield Fashion show a few times. She helped me make my first quilt, a crib quilt for our son, Alexander, who was born 18 years ago tomorrow, but died within a week from a serious heart defect. It was a tied quilt, in a blue and purple pattern of batik teddy bears, and he was buried with it. I have no other info on that quilt, no photo, no info on the fabric or anything else. After he died, she made a series of quilts to help her work through the stages of grief – which was compounded by a fire at their house which destroyed some of them, although she does have some photos (see the quilts here)

I’ve always loved the idea of quilting myself and still under MIL’s watchful eye did manage to complete a crib quilt for DD (13 yesterday – I can barely believe it!) and have a full size bed quilt 99% complete for DS (shockingly it has been 99% complete since he was about 5 and he turns 17 in January). This year, I have already completed a rag quilt for DD and a small quilt-as-you-go sampler as practice, which works as a dolls quilt. I have the template material to make a template for the border quilting on DS 12 year old quilt (lost in one of our moves across and back over the ocean, and have recently finished piecing another quilt top for him, as the 12 year old one is perhaps a bit babyish now. Oh, and we found, well after his hand in choosing the fabrics for that quilt that he is actually colour blind. I have a few other project waiting in the wings, planned but no real progress made.

I created a little box for myself, using some old Basic Grey papers, with the idea it would house small booklets that would have all the info I wanted to document about the quilts. The base box is actually an old Lindt Chocolates box – I have a bad habit of saving cool boxes for years, thinking they will be perfect for….something. This one was! I sewed on the paper pieces before sticking them on the box surfaces, and assembled them in a sort of “quilty” pattern.



The box opens to reveal a series of booklets, each dedicated to one of the quilts in progress. In the booklets are pages for all the usual documentation, as well as fabric scraps, pattern information, and a page that will allow me to note the progress over the course of the year. I am hoping that having it all down in writing will rather shame me in to making some actual progress in 2010. That’s the plan anyway. As I now have a few scrapbooking friends who also quilt, and one who is something of a quilting maven (she’s the Go-To gal for all quilting questions, and I’ve been trying to meet up with her for weeks now for an evening of basting the layers of a quilt to I can move on with it) there is every chance it may actually work and at the end of the year I might even have one done. Maybe.

Photos-3In some ways quilting reminds me why I love scrapbooking. Most crafty projects take some considerable time to complete. It takes me ages to knit a pair of socks or a jumper. Crocheting a blanket or slippers takes me weeks, months even. Making a quilt, in the extreme, takes 17 years, but even the rag quilt which was pretty fast, took a few days. Scrapbooking is a much more instant gratification thing. I love that – sending the kids off to school in the morning, then having a page or even two to show them when they come home.

Like many scrappers who quilt, and indeed many many quilters who don’t scrapbook, Moda fabrics are the must have fabrics. Check out the Moda Bakeshop for all things layer cake, jelly roll, and honey bun. But don’t blame me it it makes you want to accumulate fabric stash, to accompany your paper and yarn stash.