One more quilt for Dad….

I finished this quilt a few days ago, snapping photos right after Silicon Valley received some blessed rain.  Not sure if those things go hand in hand, but we’ve had cool temps for a while, the perfect time for a quilt.

Especially a quilt like this, ushering in my modern/improv quilting life.  What better way to practice this new technique than make one last quilt connected to my dad.

My first comforter was for Dad, although not in the beginning, much like this attempt at floating squares.  Dad’s first blanket was actually meant for me, because it was my first go with quilting, and I wasn’t about to foist it on anyone but yours truly.  However, Dad was undergoing chemo at the time, and often found himself chilled.  He appreciated that blanket, even using it a few times this year.

This blanket wasn’t planned for Dad at all.  I wasn’t even into improv quilting before he died, although I had asked my husband for a book about modern quilting earlier this year.  But as so much changed this winter and spring, so has my quilting method.  I dove right into this project, once the last of the baby quilts had been completed, and for a time, I had no handle on what this piece meant.

Initially it was an attempt at a score within Sherri Lynn Wood’s new book The Improv Handbook For Modern Quilters.  Then it became an ode to The Sinking of the Lusitania.  Then suddenly it was for Dad.  Or maybe it was about Dad, because I wasn’t going to give it to anyone.

This quilt is all mine, not from greed, only in how much it means to me, for many reasons; modern quilting, floating squares, Winsor McCay, and my father.  I used it the night I finished hand-sewing the binding, watching basketball well protected under its perfect length.  Now it’s been washed, photographed, and sits on the back of the sofa, as more cool weather heads our way.

More sport as well; Golden State starts its run at the Western Conference Finals on Tuesday evening.  I’ll be happy to watch the Warriors and Rockets safely snugged under this lap blanket.  Well, unless my daughter is in labour.

I'm rather fond of that one small orange square....

I’m rather fond of that one small orange square….

If she is, basketball and quilts will wait.  And one day, that little granddaughter will have a terrific story about how her abuela whiled away the time sewing fabrics not measured with rulers for perfect edges.  Just letting that rotary cutter slice at will, then fastening pieces in what might appear an indiscriminate nature.

One little piece of tropical fabric sneaked into this binding; I love the randomness of this entire quilt.

But everything happens for one reason or another.  I machine quilted this diagonally, also a first, the binding a scrappy assortment from the binding bucket.  I even pieced the batting, wanting a true from left field approach to this quilt.  The back is fabric I bought on a whim, with large scraps from what had been used on the front.  I wanted to follow Wood’s use what you have adage, and this quilt complies with that idea all through.

One more note about the binding; in a previous post, I remarked how the bottom fabrics, representing Dad’s later years, were darker than those at the top.  Yet, he found great peace in his final decade, what the lighter coloured binding means.  This is why I sew, why I write; to set into this world fragments of my memories.  Perhaps these recollections are only for me, but maybe they will resonate with others.  If nothing else, I think it’s pretty.  And I can’t wait to make another!


4 thoughts on “One more quilt for Dad….

  1. laura bruno lilly

    Never do free motion quilting on a standard walking foot…yes, it can do slight curves, follow pre-printed fabric designs and such, but free motion quilting implies lowering those feed dogs and if done with that walking foot, you’ll get a huge mess complete with knots and oh ugh!

    I have an official Bernina ‘quilting’ foot that is an elongated version of the traditional darning foot…made of clear plastic to see the stitching as it’s being sewn. I’ve been fooling around with potholder sized quilt-sandwiches and enjoying the freedom of experimentation…don’t feel confident to commit to anything as ‘important’ as a real quilt, yet. The key is in balancing the hand motion with the pedal motion…


    1. Anna Scott Graham Post author

      I believe a darning foot/free motion foot will be the next machine investment. And I have some great fabric that I’ve been setting aside for potholders; sounds like a winning combination!


  2. laura bruno lilly

    Great fun to see your quilting evolution unfold. You know me, I love experimentation, trying out new techniques while holding onto aspects of former approaches.
    BTW: I realized not too long ago that the reason I was having so much trouble with the quilting foot while machine quilting ‘Coffee Beans’ was because I had not installed it correctly!!!! Since then, I’ve been toodling around with free motion designs… 😉

    1. Anna Scott Graham Post author

      It’s been tremendous fun, and I’m eagerly anticipating the next project. Tell me about your free motion designs…. Were they done with a walking foot, or another tool? I’ve been reading up on that, most sites mention a darning foot, why I’m interested in what you used. 😉



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