Monday, 10 January 2011

A quilt for my father


It was something of a quilty Christmas for me, and it was actually this quilt (rather than the one in the last post) that came first, made for my father. My father is one of the most energetic, lively and busy people I know, but he is also incredibly good at carving out time for an afternoon sleep, so I thought that he'd find a quilt a useful sort of gift. When it comes to colours he is a simple, unfickle creature and it was easy to guess at what might suit him. He has always loved black and white (this may even be the foundation for his love of licorice) and doesn't object to some grey thrown in with it. My only problem with this was that when I went to investigate these colours locally, I found that the Moda's Bella Solids does not include a great range of greys and blacks. It was then that I turned to Robert Kaufman's Kona Solids, which by contrast has a quite breathtaking array. I love the way that this range has been formed and that they have answered a need for several shades of black, giving us a plain black, pepper black and charcoal black (all of which were used in the quilt), and a similar generosity of palette around grey: Coal, Slate, Medium Grey and Ash (all were used apart from Slate, which was unavailable in the UK in November, but oh how I wanted this). I also chose Snow from the range of whites and creams.


Have you ever heard of Colour Synesthesia (where words or letters are seen as colours...or at least come to mind attributed with a colour)? I think perhaps everybody has this to some degree, but in our family we have always had strong opinions about what colour different words are and can happily spend hours debating (and arguing) about the colour labelling of different words and my daughter has easily slipped into this with us (while my little boy doesn't seem to have any opinion on this, so I'm guessing that he has got Mr Teacakes genes in this area, who looks similarly blank on the subject). I don't know if there is an official name for it, but I think that I also do this to a lesser degree with people and nature, so while I'd mentioned in the last post that my husband had an oak tree and owly feel to him, my father has always, and I think will always, be very much a bird in my mind.


I loved making this quilt - the colours were incredibly satisfying to work with. However, I encountered some problems when I came to quilt it. My work area suddenly felt too small to quilt it easily and in frustration I took my sewing machine downstairs and spent a happy couple of hours quilting it at the dining room table. Of all the quilts that I could have taken downstairs, this was the one that I should never have done that with. While my sewing room is a cat-free zone, downstairs they leave their naughty hairs liberally about the place almost unseen until you look at a quilt full of shades of black and grey and find that it has been decorated unexpectedly. I had to carry out extensive brushing, individual hair removal and washed it several times before I felt that the fabrics looked pristine again...the idea of giving a gift with cat hairs is an upsetting one.

You can see why I took it downstairs now...working a large quilt so close to a wall is not fun.
And on the washing front...apparently always a cold wash with Kona Cottons and then a spell in the tumble dryer. The colours didn't run or fade at all, which I was delighted by as I had felt anxious about mixing so many dark colours with a snow white.

This is the quilt patch that I made to go on it.
I gathered a large dose of inspiration for this quilt from looking at the quilts of Cherri House - I love the way that she uses solid colours and the urban inspiration that she looks to for her quilt designs. I don't have her book City Quilts,but it's been on my wish list for a while and looks wonderful - do you have it? Have you made anything from it?

This week I am feeling excited about getting back to some dressmaking and also having a wall knocked down in our house...just a small wall, but a wall nonetheless. I'm hoping that we will soon have a much larger and fully functional new bathroom (I say fully functional as we have been living with a partially functional one for the last four years). So for now I am enjoying a last dust-free day for a few weeks...

Florence x

For UK readers: not all the colours that I wanted for the quilt were available in the UK and it was too late to risk sending for them from overseas, however, I managed to get most of them from Pollyanna Patchworks and The Fabric Loft - I mentioned in this post how wonderfully helpful Lizzet of the Fabric Loft was - I am still incredibly appreciative of her downright loveliness and she now has even more Kona colours in stock.

12 comments:

  1. Only you could make black and gray look so beautiful :)

    ReplyDelete
  2. Men quilt seem so hard to get right now that I think about them, but this one is wonderful. I join Bethany in complementing your colour scheme - really nice!

    ReplyDelete
  3. Dear Floss

    Sorry to hear you had such a trying 2010 (me too). Keep on sewing, it's definitely the way forward :o)

    I feel so guilty keeping the dog and cat out of my sewing room that I don't, and consequently spend most of my time removing hairs from projects - try Lakeland's 'Sticki-mitts' (20 individual, disposable sticky mittens that you press all over the furry item), or washable lint remover rolls (eg. by Astonish). Much better than constantly having to wash the items!

    I love your blog, and look forward to every new entry. Bonne chance.

    ReplyDelete
  4. What an amazing quilt. I love the strong geometric look and the bird is beautiful.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Your lucky father! This is every bit as beautiful as the oak tree quilt.

    x c

    ReplyDelete
  6. It's a beautiful strong quilt Florence, as is the one you made for your husband. I love your delicacy about the cat hairs too.

    I hope that 2011 is happier for you all.

    ReplyDelete
  7. This looks really stunning and something I could easily make for my dad too. He is not much of a textile person, but this might appeal. Maybe next Christmas...
    I love the monochrome colour scheme and the bird especially.You have done a really neat job out of it yet again.

    ReplyDelete
  8. Congratulations, I love the combination of colors. It is stylish! Really beautiful! I am a fan of Cherry House Quilts too and made one quilt inspired by her designs. I called it Ocean quilt, as I used several grades of blue (Kona Cotton solids). It was also a present, in this case for a friend's wedding. You can take a look at my blog, http://marabara-design.blogspot.com/ where you will find some pictures.

    ReplyDelete
  9. What a great quilt! Grey and black are two of my favourites, but I have ever such a hard time finding grey in my local fabric shops.

    ReplyDelete
  10. Thank you so much - I had no idea that washable lint removers existed (I have used the wonderful Sticki Mitts, but the disposibleness of them depresses me...partly because it made me worry that I was about to run out every time I used one). Wishing you a lovely year too, Maria.

    Rocio - I'd love to see your quilt, but when I search for 'ocean' or 'kona' on your blog search bar nothing came up - are you able to leave a direct link to the post?

    Thank you so much for all your lovely comments,
    Florence x

    ReplyDelete
  11. Hi Florence,

    Sure! For any reason I failed to publish the post the other day, and the pictures were only visible through the Flickr link. Now it is there! Here you go:
    http://marabara-design.blogspot.com/2011/01/ocean-quilt.html

    Cheers

    ReplyDelete

Thank you so much for taking the time to leave a message - it's always really lovely to hear from people.

I now tend to reply within the comments section, so please do check back if you've asked a question or wish to chat.

Florence x