18 March 2013

My First Patchwork Throw

Big achievement - I finally completed my first patchwork quilt! Well, it's a throw really but let's be bold and call it a quilt.  I started this about 2 years ago and then put it aside at some stage with the intention of getting back to it (hahaha). I decided around Christmas that it was time to get the binding on the edges, the last step. The binding was machine-sewn on the front and hand-stitched on the back and I just finished last week! 
The embroidered square in the photo above and in a few others were Jenny Hart transfers from her book Embroidered Effects and from the Sublime Stitching Craft Pad. I'm so excited to be doing a workshop next month in Boulder, Colorado with her at the Makerie Sewing Retreat (and other amazing imsirping women like Amy Butler, Keri Meng from French General, Cal Patch and Heather Jones).
The quilt was inspired by one of my great-grandmother, Nana's, depression-era patchwork quilts, below. I wanted to make a quilt with all scraps from my stash, nothing purchased.  A few of the squares were fabric donated by a friend but the only things purchased were a $1 batting piece from an op-shop (this actually determined the size of the quilt) and some thick hand-dyed cotton embroidery floss that I used to knot the middle of the squares.
One of two quilts made by my great-grandmother. I remember sleeping under this in Chicago at my grandparents' when I was very little and my mother getting it out in Los Angeles if we were home sick lying on the couch watching TV. It was incredibly warm and heavy.
Great-grandpa Kessler worked in the shipping department of  Hart Schaffner and Marx men's clothing company in Chicago and the quality of the wool fabric and the vibrancy of the colours is amazing. These would have been men's suit sample squares that he brought home for Nana. The squares were all hand-knotted in the centre with green wool knitting yarn. A few of the squares need repair but these quilts have held up well, especially considering they were always machine washed and my mother would have also tumble-dried them.
The back of the the quilt is mattress ticking and there's no border. This is a real no-nonsense quilt!
My quilt again! A closeup of some of the fabric squares with embroidery detail around the squirrel pattern.
The back of my quilt with a vintage fabric I purchased online. You may recognise it from the sides of my Vintage Apron!


  1. Terrific. It is always a great feeling to finally get the binding on. Now it is a lovely quilt.

  2. Wow! That is gorgeous, Mel, and the story is marvelous. Love the old quilts. Is there anything you CANNOT do? Love you. Morgan