Sunday, October 30, 2011

Scrappy quilts





Yesterday, there was a question about scrappy quilts.  Here's one that I have made many times.  The back story?  In the 1990s, I worked at a hospital in Kalamazoo, MI in my capacity as a psych/mental health nurse. One of my co-workers was a very nice young man who had worked hard putting himself through nursing school.  He worked with us for many months without telling us he had AIDS, although we had all figured that out fairly quickly.  This was before the medications came along that let AIDS patients live for many years.  He was almost exactly the same age as our son.  At any rate, this was also in the era of the AIDS quilt (Google that if you're too young to remember it), and I knew that his partner would make one of the panels for him after he was gone, but I just couldn't think it was right that he wouldn't get a quilt until he croaked, so I gave him one of mine.  Then, I started making this quilt.  I cut  4" wide strips, 130 strips of very dark fabric, 120 strips of very light fabric, and 250 strips of medium fabric, using as many conversational prints as I could find.  Now, I have enough conversational prints (ones with little pictures of objects or living things) to do the entire thing.  The strips get sewn into groups of 10 strips, 26 sets sewn dark-medium-dark-medium etc., and 24 sets sewn medium-light-medium-light.  All the seams are pressed toward the medium fabrics.  Then, I cut the sets into 4" wide strips and put them onto a wooden drying rack to keep them separate.  I end up with enough strips to make 10 quilt tops, with no duplicate fabrics in any of the tops.  The quilts measure about 70" by 87.5" and are good for snuggling under.  I found I could order a whole bolt of Warm N Natural batting at a substantial savings, and watched for sales to get backing fabrics.  Over the years, I have made 50 or 60 of these quilts. Quilt guild members helped with the quilting and some tying of the tops.  After moving to TX, I started donating them to our Quilts for Kids project here.  We always got lots of little kid quilts but not much for teens.  These are good for teens.

I like the way the fabric values give a plaid appearance to the tops.  It's a very simple pattern, but visually pleasing to me.  Using so many different prints adds a lot of texture.  Many of the AIDS folks I gave them to remarked that the conversation prints brought back memories.  One with fish might remind them of a fishing trip, one with kittens of a favorite pet, etc.  All in all, this is a very satisfying project.  I need to get another batch finished.

7 comments:

  1. The fabrics evoke stories; the sewing evokes stories. I guess he didn't get to finish his story; that's so sad.

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  2. Yes, he was a nice young man, and a good nurse.

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  3. I love the plaid effect. Very simple and very effective.

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  4. Thanks, Vireya. It's amazing what can be done just by using light/medium/dark value, without even thinking about color.

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  5. Love it! Going to try it for baby quilts .

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  6. Love it! Going to try it for baby quilts .

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  7. It's such a fun thing for kids of all ages to see all the different conversation prints. One with little cars, another with watermelons, a third with a red and white picnic tablecloth complete with ants, there are so many wonderful fabrics out there.

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