it’s decided. since i’m going to be spending a lot of my time writing during the month of november, on account of i’m doing the nanowrimo 50,000-word novel-a-thon again. it’ll take up all my time. so i’m going to be devoting all my other time to doing up mom’s quilt.
i finally told her today, on the phone. hey mom remember all those old clothes that i had davie take from the laundry room in the basement? remember how you didn’t really agree with him taking them, but that we went over every piece and you took back anything inappropriate (altho i don’t remember that part)?
guess what i’m doing. well, right now i’m using the seam ripper on that old velour shirt i used to love wearing back when i was 12. dad took a picture of me in it. red white and blue horizontal stripes, long sleeved? i practically lived in it. of course you remember. and why am i ripping apart old ripe, moldy clothes? because i’m going to make you a quilt from all these clothes, and there’s nothing you can do to stop me (evil laugh).
see, when i told mom i was going to do this some months ago, she said okay. but mom’s got adhd and nothing sticks in her head unless she writes it down (i know what that’s like). and when i told her i was going to turn that fabric into a quilt, she told me not to; she was quite put out. the last thing she needed was one more thing.
so i contented myself with washing a bag of clothes in vinegar half a dozen times to get the mold out (didn’t work). then i spent a couple of months idly picking apart the seams of the clothes, leaving a lot of seams for later just in case. but i decided not to do another painting but to do something mindless like piecing and pinning (hah) as a break from writing. and so i got out the clothes and found my large seam ripper and now i’m nearing the end of unpiecing my fabric, and will be ready to start deciding on the overall pattern.
so i called mom and told her what i was doing. maybe she can follow the progress here on the blog. she’s got an i-pod that’s the shit, and we often trade articles back and forth. it’s fun. a bonding thing. and she was okay with my telling her i was making her something with her old clothes. and so i’m real excited to be starting this project, which might just end up being her xmas present, please god.
okay then. i’ve got a tidy pile of clothes that have been completely separated seam from seam, into sleeves, and shirt fronts, and collars, and unhemmed pants. baby things. toddler things. 5-6 year old stuff, pre-teen things, and those capri pants from the 80s, who wore those? did i? did suzie? not lisa, surely. and it’s really strange to find old navy (or is it gap?) labels in stuff. we were kids and teenagers back in the 70s, and i thought the gap was newish.
and the difference in quality. some of the things, Ts and knitted fabrics (like that velour shirt) just rip apart at the seams. and then there are clothes that were sewn by hand in places. and a brooks brothers shirt with rip-proofing in the seams. and remember that wool jacket i used to wear, say when i was 10? green plaid. it was exceedingly well built, and it also shrunk right down in the washing. now it’s green plaid felt, and i’ll try to put it in places where you won’t be abrading your hands at night.
the secret of this quilt is not the conformity to tradition, because i’m well known for tossing tradition into a pile and lighting a corner of it. i’m an iconoclast, proud follower in my dad’s footsteps. so instead of doing a patchwork quilt of some description – where i have to make 500 triangles all the same size and sew them together the exact same way – instead of the regular way, i’m going to throw caution to the winds and make things hundreds of times more difficult by doing it all by eye. it’ll turn out to be an art quilt, or it’ll turn out to be a disaster. but really, you can’t go wrong with a quilt.
i’ve got nice kona cotton for the backing, and quilter’s flannel for the middle. but i’m kind of thinking of using quilter’s flannel for the top and appliqueing fabric to it. in that case, i’d use an old sheet as the middle. it’s a time honored tradition, one i’m pleased to follow. because it makes sense and it’s cheap. what’s out of sight and never coming to light has different requirements than something you’re going to see and feel.
the predominant color scheme of the clothing collected from the over-the-years pile in Mom’s Laundry Room (est. 1960) is blue, with red accents. strangely enough, a lot of the blues are the same blues. and the reds are largely the same reds. some things never change in kids’ clothes. i’d like to study the history of color in clothing styles.
so i’m thinking that maybe i could do the backing in shades of blue. blue turning to violet blue. i could easily do it with a scrunch dye – stuff the material in a plastic tub and pour in purple and cyan in various places. then cover with water and soda ash, and let it sit overnight. eh voila.
it’s getting late now, we’ve got to walk the dogs. it’s been foggy and rainy all day, and we’re going to eat some salmon and watch the rest of our movie (we can only stand to watch half a movie at a sitting).
for mom’s quilt 3 see here