Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Children's Quilts: Not So Simple

One of Ellen’s hobbies is quilt-making. She’s made five quilts for children and grandchildren of friends during the last several months.

A few months ago she made two for young sisters, daughters of a former co-worker who lives in New Hampshire. More recently she sent three to Washington State for grandchildren of a long-time friend.

I’ve never made a quilt. I might think it simple: Go to the barn, bring in some cotton-print feed sacks, wash them and cut them into squares, and sew them together into a quilt.


The procedure goes something like this: Consult with family about interests of child and favorite color. Suggest possible patterns and solicit family input. Calculate number and amount of fabrics needed. Search for and buy fabrics of preferred colors and complementary patterns. Cut fabrics using assorted geometric rulers. Lay out fabrics in selected pattern and critique and rearrange until satisfied. Sew small sections. Sew small sections into larger units. Add sashing and borders and then batting and backing. Finally, quilt the quilt and sew on the binding.


A few hours here, a few days there. Time flies when you’re having fun—and this is fun, Ellen assures me.

Some of the quilts just seem to “fall together” in the right patterns and right color combinations. Others take hours, or days, of thought and rearranging of colors and fabrics. But once all the “what if’s” are cared for, the sewing generally goes quickly, especially if you have a mathematical mind and the points of your stars and the corners of your squares are perfect.

Yes, time flies when you’re having fun.

And at the end, when a quilt is done, Ellen holds it over the railing outside our sunroom and I take a photo.

And then these gifts of love and talent get boxed and mailed to some very special children.

Ah, no more quilting for a while, I suppose. Time for Ellen to read a book or two or 10?

No, it’s time to design and begin work on a quilted wall hanging that will coordinate with the quilt Ellen made last year for the guest bedroom. She just happens to have a few pieces of the original fabric left over, and if she can just find matching pieces at a fabric shop….

1 comment:

  1. Hi Bob! Oh, I love these quilts by your wife, and now I'm a wee bit inspired, though I've never made one. Love your blog!