Before my parents came to visit a couple of weeks ago, I had some serious tidying up to do in the guest space. This usually involves dismantling whatever structure Daniel has constructed in the play space, sorting through all the knitting projects I have lying around, and vacuuming the carpet, which takes f.o.r.e.v.e.r. This time, I also had some sewing projects to put away (no, I still haven't finished that shirt, but I plan to…as soon as I figure out the best way to make it cuter and less lab coat-like). At some point, I found myself sorting through tubs of fabric and rearranging things to be neater and also appear as though I have less than I actually do. (My fabric stash is pretty modest compared to people who sew a lot, but I don't sew much, so it feels like kind of a lot.)
I ended up looking through everything, and I found some ancient quilting projects I'd forgotten about. I don't mean I pushed them to the back of my mind. I mean, I had completely and totally forgotten I'd owned the materials and gone through the process of starting these things. It was like an archaeological discovery, I'm telling you.
There is a wall hanging that needs about 8" of binding sewn down before it's completely finished. I think it's at least ten years old and was intended as a wedding present for a college friend (just as well I never finished it, since the marriage didn't last; he was abusive and she left him.) I found an embroidery project that may date back to before that. There are some partly finished little quilts I might have meant as baby presents, but I don't remember. I found several piles of flannel, one I actually remember buying, and the rest I believe my mom gave me, all cut into squares to make lap quilts or crib quilts. There are some piles of nine patch squares, too, that I think I started when I was nearing the end of my pregnancy with Daniel; this, at least, explains why I never finished them and why I nuts enough to start them in the first place (who starts a brand new quilt when she's about to give birth? Me, that's who. I was apparently pretty nuts there in the last trimester, what with the ice-chewing and phantom itching and sewing binges.)
Anyway, I've decided to pull these projects out one by one and finish them. I don't know what I'll do with these things when they're done. Some quilts will be a good size to donate to Project Linus (my mom's suggestion), and nicer projects could perhaps be donated to the silent auction my kids' elementary school hosts every spring. I'll document them here while I'm at it.
Let's start with something easy, a baby quilt! There was a real baby boom several years back, and I started many projects (not finishing all of them, certainly) thinking each and every pregnant person I knew would appreciate find handmade gifts. Then I had my own babies and quickly realized that the things new parents actually need more than anything else is a live-in cook, a good night's sleep, and diaper service, but it didn't stop me from making stuff. Or at least starting to make stuff. (Finishing was a different story.)
What you see below is a crazy-patch style baby quilt top made from 30s reproduction fabrics. I remember it was fun to make. You take 8" squares, stack them up, slice through them all at once with a rotary cutter at a random, asymmetrical angle, then sew contrasting pieces together. You take what you sewed, square them up with the cutter, slice through again, sew again. Lather, rinse, repeat. When it looks sufficiently patched, you sew up the squares, slap on a border, and call 'er a quilt.
I had the top done and then put it away for years. I would never buy these fabrics now. But I had this nice top, no extra pieces of the fabrics I used, so what to do? The top measures small for a crib quilt, only about 22"x28", so after some pondering I decided to sew terry cloth on the back and make it into a small car blanket/washable changing pad. In fact, I remember someone gave me a handmade terry cloth-backed changing pad when Daniel was born, and it was one of the most useful presents we got. This one here is a little big for that purpose, but it folds up easily.
I'm satisfied with how this turned out. I'm glad it's done. Now I just need to give it to an expectant family who won't mind the cutesy, quirky prints, and the fact that it's handmade!