Saturday, August 20, 2011

Death of a quilt

I think I'm going to lay a quilt to rest.

Nearly twenty years ago my mother brought a quilt kit when she came visiting one summer. Actually I wasn't too thrilled with the fabrics in this but marked the whole thing down as a learning experience and sewed it together. A bit of rough edge applique... I don't think I had fusible web at the time so the big sunflowers were just laid on the background and zigzagged down. Some roller cutting techniques (new to me) and triangle piecing. And then I had to quilt it.

At the time I was a staunch believer that hand quilting was the only true way to quilt. But I knew that there was such a thing a machine quilting... but didn't know about free-hand quilting or using other feet on a sewing machine. I wasn't liking this quilt much anyway so I decided to try a little machine quilting to see what the charm was and also get the whole project done quickly.

Disaster!!! I didn't have a walking foot and the backing kept bunching. I couldn't stay on the seamlines for stitch-in-the-ditch quilting (which actually is fairly difficult when machine quilting). My quilting lines went every which way, I didn't know about retracing quilting lines so there were stops and starts and threads all over the place. Oh how I hated this quilt!!! (Poor thing.)

By the time I was done I couldn't think of ANYPLACE that I would want to use it and it finally got folded and put on the backseat of the car. What anyone would do with it there I had no idea and sure enough it got in the way of passengers and teaching materials being carted around. In the end the Sunflower quilt got put in the trunk.

As the years went by our cars changed and the Sunflower quilt got shifted from trunk to trunk. Sometimes it was a cushion for groceries, sometimes it kept tools from clanking against each other when we drove. Occasionally it was pulled out long enough to make a place for the dog to sit on in the backseat. It got left on the back dash for a long time in one car, and covered boxes in a van we had for awhile. Then it finally disappeared.

A few months ago I discovered the quilt in a garbage bag full of Tetsu's stuff from when he cleaned out his car and then shoved everything in the storage shed. Moisture had gotten in and most things were wet and mildewed. (My private theory is that having a storage shed serves no purpose at all. Anything put in a storage shed will never again see the light of day until it is tossed in the garbage. Storage sheds are the purgatory for unused property that the owners feel guilty about discarding.) I rescued the quilt long enough to throw it in the washing machine but it was pretty far gone even before the wash cycle. Agitation and spinning caused seams to rip and binding to disintegrate. The Sunflower quilt spent this summer hanging over a chair back in the laundry room...

This quilt is not salvageable. It is faded all over (it USED to be black). There are rust stains from cradleing a car jack. Seams are ripping in some areas, FABRIC has turned to dust in others. Batting is popping out of numerous holes. (Did a dog chew it too?)

Alas, not-so-fair quilt, you served a quiet purpose in our lives. Rest-In-Peace.

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