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Thursday
Sep082011

Quilt of scarves

I got a challenge earlier this summer. A friend of mine who lives oop North has a rather unwell mother, and had found this bag of old college scarves when helping her mum sort out her stuff. Apparently, they were 'trophies' from various men - reminders, if you will, of her mother's misspent youth. Her mum said she had always intended to make them into a quilt, but now she'd never get there. 

"Aha", thought my friend, "I know someone who might be mad enough to help with that..."

Now, I am not one to turn down a challenge. Particularly one I think might be a bit tricky and kind of fun. So when Surrey WCC played Cheshire WCC (ok, when Surrey travelled North to watch it rain for the day), I duly received a bag of 5 scarves. 

This was a challenge for several reasons. I've never machine-quilted anything before. I've never actually bound and finished a full-size quilt. Wool is stretchy. But from the quilting I have done, I know preparation is key. So I took my time. I hand-stitched the scarves together, long edge to long edge. That's when I discovered that not all college scarves are created equal - some are longer than others! I had to trim the ends anyway, so not a disaster. I found some lovely 100% wool Prada pinstripe fabric for the backing. I went to the Brighton Sewing Centre for some of their 100% cotton wadding (and a walking foot for my machine). In short, I sourced the best materials I could. Something I've learnt from knitting is that there is no point scrimping on materials. 

So then all I had to do was put it all together! Minimum 4 layers of material (the scarves are double thickness), maximum anything up to 6 I think (the hems for the stripes). I had to play with the tension on my machine a bit before I was happy with the stitch shape. I opted for a really simple quilting pattern, just straight lines following the scarf stripes. Horizontal quilting would have detracted from the strong vertical lines of the quilt. I had to add a couple of extra lines in the wider stripes, for which Clarkie came up with the brilliantly simple but effective idea of using LX tape to provide a nice straight edge. Then I had to work out the binding. 

Finished wool quilt

Eventually - ok, the morning before it had to be delivered - it all came together. Honestly? I am really proud of this. There were points through the process where I thought I'd bitten off more than I could chew, when I had to take out long lines of quilting and redo them, when I was trying to manipulate this big, heavy roll of fabric through my little sewing machine (Clarkie did help me when she could). But in the end it all came together and looked and felt lovely. Quite a heavy quilt, and just the right size for snoozing on a sofa with. 

Test driving

The quilt has now been delivered to my friend's mum, who apparently was really pleased with it. Fun job well done, I say! 

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Reader Comments (2)

It looks wonderful and soooooooo cosy

September 8, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterAnnie

Looks really good -I'm seriously impressed!

September 11, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterJay

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