It’s only been recently that I’ve learned that I can make large quilts, as long as I use a simple pattern. Usually I stick with the small stuff: pillow cases, tote bags, purses, book covers, some blouses, things of that nature. But after I made my brother-in-law the Beach Quilt, I decided to make my brother a quilt.
Only my brother has a king-size bed. No, no, I tell myself, I can do this. I develop a plan: On my next visit to my brother, I will note the color scheme to his bedroom and make a matching quilt; that trip was in October 2014.
I walk into his bedroom and what do I see? Beige, beige, beige, brown, beige, brown, beige . . . and so on. I’m pretty sure I paled at the sight, my ashen skin tone a perfect match to the wall paint. How am I supposed to make a beige quilt? And why? My plan was falling apart from the very beginning.
Later that same day, we visit a quilt fabric shop because, well, that’s what I like to do: visit quilt fabric shops. As we enter, we see a quilt on display. My brother comments how much he likes that quilt — a blue quilt. I could feel the color returning to my face. Maybe there was hope after all.
We meander around and soon he points to another sample quilt, one he really, really, really likes. It’s a red, French Braid quilt. I could feel myself breathe again. Red — I can do red. And I had already made three French Braid quilts. I now had a color and a pattern for my brother’s quilt. I had a plan and life was good.
I spent a couple of months gathering red fabrics, then started serging. Both the quilt top and back are serged. With the ironing (before cutting), cutting, serging, and ironing again (after the serging), I took about 10 days to make the quilt top and back. The number of unique fabrics is 140-145. The fabrics on the back are also on the front, somewhere. The quilt measures 104 x 110 inches.
The hardest part (besides recovering from a roomful of beige tones, that is?): Ironing the quilt top and back before taking them to the quilter. How does anyone iron something that big? I’d iron one section only to have to scrunch it up so I could iron the next section. It’s possible the quilter had to re-iron it before putting it on her longarm machine. If so, she was nice enough not to mention it to me.
I intended for the quilt to be my brother’s birthday present this year. His birthday is in November. Once I dropped it off at the quilter, I knew that wasn’t going to work. There was no way I was waiting until November to give it to him. I told Mary, the longarm quilter, that the day she calls me to say it’s ready to pick up is the day I’m calling my brother and inviting myself to visit. It will still be his birthday present, but he’s getting it early.
From now on, when I make something special for someone, they are getting it as soon as it’s ready. No waiting. The perfect time, in my mind, is now.
When I arrive at my brother’s place, I’ll open my hatchback and hand him the bag with the quilt and let him carry in his birthday present. And if he doesn’t like it (not beige enough?), I have a backup plan: I’m bringing it home with me; I like it.
I didn’t have any place in my house with enough floor space to get a good photo of the quilt.
And here it is on my brother’s bed! It looks good, if I do say so myself.