Moral of this story before it even starts.....Stash is where you find it, if you just believe!
About the first of 2009, DH saw a TV show about the Gees Bend Quilts. One quilt was made by a widow from her husband's old clothes. DH fell in love. He wanted one. He wanted a Crazy Quilt.
I thought to myself, this is going to be one boring quilt....all those faded blues and browns and dark colors....do I really want to do this???
DH then stated certain requests: the older the clothes the better (old paint splatters was a plus!).
He wanted large pieces, batting preferred, very little topstitching or design, big enough to drag the floor when put on the bed, (at least that was my interpretation) and "no real hurry".
That last statement was almost his downfall. Say "No Real Hurry" to a quilter who has other UFOs or WIPs, and you are asking for it. Especially when the quilter isn't sure of what she is doing.
I have a bad habit....I really hesitate (put off, delay, etc) when I am starting something I have never done before. I had never made a crazy quilt before... and a possible tutorial on this one would make veteran quilters pale. I was SO unsure of myself...
I nosed around in my closet and came up with a find--some old pieces of muslin, about 36" square that came from my mother. I decided to use these as foundation for some of the blocks and get more muslin when I needed it.
I did satisfy DH by making 4 blocks. Since he wanted large pieces, I ended up making 16 1/2" blocks . If DH wanted Crazy, then he was going to get Crazy. I incorporated a pants zipper into one of these first blocks.
I did not trim these blocks right away. In fact I did not do any trimming for over a year as it turned out because, in the fall of 2009, I stuffed his clothes into a bag and put it in the back of my closet, where they aged and kept my odd pieces of batting company.
TIME MARCHES ON.....AND ON......AND ON
A year later, May 2010. I come home and find that DH has located the bag of clothes and very politely dumped them in front of my sewing machine.....hint, hint, hint.
Most were still in their original form, shirts and jeans, with a few slacks thrown in. I had to have some sort of organization to this madness if I was ever able to make any progress.
Sooooo, without rhyme or reason, I started cutting everything in hopefully useable pieces. And this is what I ended up with about a month later....
Pants in the big container, and separated shirts in other containers. Please note my sophisticated identification method.....
Now, at least, I could pick and choose.
In July, 2010 I found I had completed a total of 8 blocks since I started in May, 2009. I needed 30.
And I was having a problem.....
I was also working on other quilts, as we normally do in Quiltland. My sewing room was not in the pristine shape as I had hoped....I blamed it all on those containers of cut clothes. I was constantly having to move them from one place to another, getting them out of my way while I worked on Other Stuff. I was starting to realize I was going to have to actually finish this quilt...if for no other reason than it was attacking my sewing room with the "Push, Shove, Pile" virus. (shiver, shake, quiver).
So I put myself in second gear, and with jerks and jumps, during the summer I made a few more blocks to add to the collection.
We found coffee fabric for the backing and, needing just a little more, chose the "Man" cloth from my stash.
Come the end of September, 2010, I had actually put 4 of the blocks together with sashing, batting, backing and all. Well, whoop-de-do!
This was the first time I had tried the quilt-as-you-go method. I decided to use ties instead of quilting. It seemed the obvious thing to do....
But again, I was slowing down, trying to find excuses to do something else...my goal was to finish one block a day...and the quilt by the end of winter. DH appreciated this effort, stating he was really looking forward to using the quilt during the warm weather of spring and summer....
Pokey, pokey, pokey...one block here, one block there, I would NEVER get this done!
THEN ! ! ! (STARBURSTS! AND MUSIC REACHES CRECENDO!)
October 15, 2010 - I read this post on Stash Manicure by Plum Cox, who said, among other things, "Just Do It!!"
Something clicked! I said to myself, shove everything aside, forget all other quilty notions and projects, and get busy! Thanks, Plum!
So, October became known as the "barreling to the finish line", or "Katy, bar the door, the horse is loose!" month.
Before I knew it, I had all 30 blocks done and had given them to DH to decide the order and arrangement. He immediately commandeered the den floor and had a ball!
(Side note: Please notice my "elevator" chair. After I get up from sewing, it takes about 5-10 minutes and slowly "rises" to the occasion., ending up as high as my table. When ready to sew, I have to climb into it, release the lever at the bottom and it slowly sinks to normal level.....it has character.)
I was able to finish on November 4, 2010.
Dimensions: 87" x 105"
Weight 10 lbs.
I had quite a bit left over and I was tired of working with clothes. So I made a large dog pillow from a denim piece and stuffed it with the leftover stash.
DH liked the dog pillow so much that I made him a pillowcase to go with his new quilt.
And the final benefit I received from finishing????
I went from this (remember?)
Empty containers just in time for a sewing room "makeover"!
Now to get the energy to do that!
Thanks again, Madame Samm and all you quilters.
PS: (Added about a week later.....DH casually made the statement..."Ya know, I think she (Gees Bend quilter) ripped the seams out of her husband's clothes and used the entire legs (sleeves, backs, etc) instead of making blocks.." He looked at me and added quickly, "....but I like mine better...."