at last it can be told. i hinted to my daughter for weeks – i’m making a quilt. i’m making a baby quilt. but i wasn’t allowed to tell. it’s a superstition thing, one that i believe in – we didn’t get nursery furniture for our daughter until she was almost there.
anyway, the last sibling was told, and i was told i could announce it – my littlest brother mike and his wife shan are going to have kids. and that’s just wonderful. and to welcome babies, i’m making a quilt of used kids’ clothing. hand me downs. we don’t do handmedowns anymore, but with the big families we used to have, we all used to wear out each others’ clothing. in fact, clothes i have collected from my mom’s basement are things several of us wore in turn, and so they have extra memories for my mom, for whom i have yet to turn these clothes into a quilt.
i’m just practicing for it with mike and shan’s.
so i had all these dark colored clothes, and spent several days picking them apart with a seam ripper. until my seam ripper walked off on me and i had to use the emergency 2.5 inch one, that’s all rusty and snaggy. it took several days to pick all the seams. then i cut them into 10″ wide lengths, squared off. ten inches was about how wide the kids pants legs and shirt tops were, so i evened them all up.
then i arranged them pleasingly, doing a kind of musical chairs thing with the fabric, and then i sewed each ten inch strip to the next one, right sides together, except for the two shirts, which i layered over the cloth beneath and sewed the edge down with my handy dandy zigzag stitch, which i have used exclusively for this project.
so i had a loop of 10″ fabric. so i cut it in three lengthwise, that’s 3″ thick strips, well, loops. then i sewed one to the next, moving the second loop by one patch. then i sewed the other one on, moving one patch along. now i have one loop again.
and so i tried it on around my 45×60 backing cloth, and lo and behold it fit almost exactly, so i have to stop now.
in the meantime, i have to dye the backing cloth, which is a lovely quilter’s sateen from dharma trading. i’m going to make it pink and blue, very pastel (if i mix the dyes right), and then i’m going to discharge little baby feet with bleach. no babies will be harmed during this – i’m not going to dip my 2.5 year old grandson’s feet in bleach. no. i’m going to use the side of my fist and 5 fingerprints to make baby feet. the kid would only smear it if i tried to get him to do it.
so you can see what i’ve done. the instructions say to crumple the dry fabric up and put it into a tight place so that it stays bunched up. the plastic tub you see was just too big, so i got out a gallon ziplock and stuffed it into that. then i put a half teaspoon of turquoise into a cup measure and added a teaspoon of salt and a cup of cold water, and mixed it thoroughly (tho evidently not enough to dissolve all the little particles) and poured it in. then i mixed up half a teaspoon of magenta (we’re talking dharma fiber reactive dye powder) into a cup of water with salt, and poured it in after. then two cups of clear water, and now i’ve sealed up the ziplock and sucked all the air out of it so that the fabric is completely covered in dye, and now i’m going to let it sit for about an hour, then open it back up and pour that cup of water and soda ash into it, and seal it back up to cure in the unlit oven for the morning. and we’ll see what it looks like when it’s done.
at this point, i can’t do anything else. i’ve got to get the backing ready, because the next step after that is to sandwich the quilt. and then the fun starts, where i get to put all sorts of embellishment on it – like whole clothing.
we’ll see how it works out. (later) and it worked, but not like i expected. it never turns out like i expect, but it’s always beautiful. so here it is. looks lit from behind, doesn’t it? but it’s on the floor. there’s my dog at the bottom.