Friday, 15 November 2013

George's Quilt - finished!!

This is the largest and heaviest quilt I've made. Last Winter after hearing I'd made a couple of baby quilts my uncle asked me to make him a quilt. His duvet kept slipping off his bed and he needed something heavy that would stay in place. He stomped off upstairs with a measuring tape and came back to say he needed a 5' by 7' quilt (60" x 84"). It's nice when people are so definite in their quilting desires!

Slightly dodgy phone pic!

George lives in a drafty house, on the side of a mountain, in eastern Ireland. I knew the quilt was going to have to be heavy, and manly. No room for florals or busy patterns here. My mother (George's sister) bought the fabrics for the top as his Christmas present last year.

Bit ripply at the edges... Not well smoothed at all - shame on me!
I learned lots making this. I used chenille and wool and something that felt closer to canvas. The chenille clearly has a nap. I didn't know anything about nap before this quilt. I did know that the brown velvet trousers I owned as a teenager felt nicest when stroked in one direction, but that was the extent of my knowledge.

You can tell from the above photo that despite my efforts to  discern the nap when joining the chenille for the central stripe that I failed miserably. Miserably. I blame the poor light in Ireland, in Winter (technically I put this together last Spring but let's not quibble). I did just now realise that if I had taken a photo with the flash on of the fabric aligned before sewing then I would have known whether I had it right or not! Next time, I guess...

Anyway, the top was heavy, but we wanted to make sure to keep George warm up that mountain. So we found a heavy wool blanket and a brushed cotton sheet about the house that were perfectly sized for this quilt!

After moving the dining room furniture out, I got down to basting. And then, I got cross. Our trusty old sewing machine just couldn't handle this thickness of fabrics. There were skipped stitches. There were bad words. There may even have been some stomping. My mother and I decided that we'd ask the very excellent seamstress in town if she had an industrial machine that could handle it. She said yes! Relief.

I used every basting and safety pin in the house.

The quilting is not very dense. She did small diamonds of stitching dotted around the quilted, kind of similar, I guess, to hand-tied quilting but with an industrial sewing machine. It works. It's not particularly pretty, but you can barely see it on the quilt top, and I didn't have to do it!

This only left the binding. But at this point I was leaving for DC again. I left the binding undone and headed off, with promises of finishing when I came home in September for our big wedding bash. This is where love and luck came back in; Mammy took it on herself to do the binding. I think there was more than once when she wanted to eat the quilt rather than continue to put the binding on. But with the help of some online tutorials she got the WHOLE THING FINISHED!!! On the machine that I had given up on when quilting! She has a lot more patience and stamina than me, that's for sure. So in July my parents brought the quilt around the house and took photos to send to me - no more photos of the dining room floor!

Hanging on the line...

And being modelled by Dad!
The verdict from the man on the mountain, now that the weather has turned towards Winter here, is good, excellent in fact! Woop!

George's Quilt marks the end of the quilts I was making on the side and now I can get back to stuff I'm currently making/struggling with/dreaming of!

I'm very happily linking up to TGIFF this week, over at Audrey's lovely blog Hot Pink Quilts :)


  1. That is quite an undertaking! Looks like such a nice, warm quilt though! Glad your uncle is pleased with it :-)

  2. Job well done! Should do a fine job of keeping George warm and toasty this winter!

  3. Yay! It's all done! And it looks great! I bet George is so so happy! I had no idea about nap on fabric...interesting. I mean, I know what you're talking about, but I never would have considered that when sewing. But now you are an expert, which is totally awesome, and should I have any nap questions, I will be directing them your way. :)

  4. Wonderful finish! Many warm nights ahead for your lucky uncle.

  5. What a sweet gift with so many involved in the making!! Yay for warm nights under a cozy quilt made with love :)

  6. What a great manly quilt. The quilting sounds really interesting.

  7. I'm sure it will be treasured for many years. Well done to you and your mum for doing such a great job :)


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