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.
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.
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!