Thursday, November 24, 2011


Portrait of a Husband (Specifically Mine)
The man lives for flannel.
I started with a pile of his old clothes.

My family affectionately refers to my husband as "The Flanimal"...or, sometimes, "The Wooly Flammoth."

There were two goals with this quilt:
1. Rush.
2. Stay with the big picture.

I made this quilt in only 5 days, which is quilting at the speed of light for me. (At times, my heart was literally racing. It was weird.) Why? I wanted it done so I could hang it up. We moved around some furniture on Sunday, leaving this blank wall over the (beloved) cozy red chair. I knew a 36"x36" quilt would warm it up perfectly. And since this is the chosen habitat of The Flanimal himself, of course his beloved shirts belonged here.

(What is that wooden thing in the background? Don't get me started...)

Math is cool.
I wanted it to look random, yet pretty. So I used the Fibonacci sequence to determine all of my measurements (2, 3, 5, 8, and 13, mainly).

As I was rapidly piecing, I thought about my great-grandmother, who did this all the time, and I'm sure it wasn't that big a deal to her. People just needed warm blankets, so she put stuff together. I wonder how much time she spent laying out blocks and musing over choices. I tried to keep her perfectly-imperfect quilt top in mind as I cut this fabric by hand, with scissors.

Happily I had a yard of Kona Navy Blue in my stash. Easiest backing ever!

When it came to the quilting, I wasn't sure what I could do that wouldn't detract from that beautiful big picture. I thought hard about it while basting. So much so that I basted the quilt to the carpet. Le sigh.
In pure avoidance of more basting, which I patently hate anyway, I popped the thing into the quilting hoop.
I made some random stitches here and there.
An M (for his last name)
Some reinforcement for the elbow holes.
He was wearing this red shirt almost every day when I met him. It's maybe the softest thing ever :o)
I remembered how much I love cross-stitch.
I may have gone overboard as I abandoned the big picture for a while to indulge my zest for tiny details.
I've so admired Victoria's hand-work at The Silly BooDilly, as well as Nova's at a cuppa and a catch up. It was fun to try some improv hand-quilting of my own.

While piecing, I accidentally sewed three strips together without checking which was the front, so one got on there backwards. Rather than spend time taking it out (yes, it would have taken like 10 seconds), I decided to anchor it with buttons from the shirt sleeves and a little hand stitching. Mistake = opportunity, right?

Once I had enough "basting" in, I machine-quilted some random vertical lines for extra stability. I tried a couple horizontal ones too, but I got bored so I stopped after two. (Meh, enough was enough already.)

I folded the edges of the backing over to bind it (by machine), made my own style of corners, added my signature, and made a hanging sleeve.

He collects rare and antique books.

Now that it's hung up, I'm amazed that it's pretty much exactly like what I pictured. So awesome to have my first wall hanging up in my own home!

Yet I'm having a hard time letting go of all the flaws I see. Like I wish there was more red. And it could be a little longer. And I see some repeating patterns where I was trying to be random.

Why do I love to be miserable.

At least Mr Awesome is content in his peaceful reading corner, musing over a first edition Nietzsche.

Imperfect or not, this quilt is already a treasured family item, as I hope it will be for many years to come.

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