My brother turns 50 on March 23, and on Christmas day after he made a crack to a family friend about the fact that he was still waiting for a quilt, though Mum had made 2 for my sister and I and one for each nephew, I asked Mum when we were alone if she wanted to make a quilt for him. He lives in a self contained unit in the back of the family home – a bachelor, a computer nerd/geek, a solitary and quiet man, who loves movies and all things sci-fi and his family.
Conversation went like this:
Flossie (Mum): He’d never use it! He never makes his bed!
Frou: Doesn’t matter – it’s the making of it that matters
Flossie: There isn’t time!
Frou: If we picked a simple pieced pattern we’d have plenty of time
Flossie: I can’t afford fabric for a new quilt
Frou: We are over run with fabric!
Flossie: Yeah, but nothing suitable for a man
Frou: We have those 1/2 yard pieces of creams and indigos – they’d work (hoping she’d say no, as I really want to make something for me!). And we’ve got all those solids we found when we sorted out our combined stash, there must be 100 different colours there. We could do an Amish style quilt – I think I’ve got a big piece of black at home you could use.
Flossie: How could I make it a surprise?
Frou: You’re going to be at my place for 10 days after New Year, I’ll help you – I’ll cut, press – you sew – piece of cake!
Flossie: I’ll think about it.
A week later, she’d found a pattern in a magazine, sorted a huge bag of solids, and rang the Quilt shop to ask what date they’d need the quilt by in order for us to have it quilted by early March to get it finished in time, and I was asked next time I came to bring my piece of black so she could see if she’d have enough (when we measured it, my biggish piece of black fabric turned out to be 15 metres, but sshhh that’s another story).
That done – while at my place she went to work… having precut her strips, she started piecing the blocks. Took the started quilt home and worked on them while she watched the Australian Open. Her comment: “He doesn’t like the tennis, so will stay out in his room most of the time, and even if he does come in, he won’t even notice what I’m doing!”.
And so, Mum worked on his blocks right under his nose, until it got to sashing and making up the rows. Then she worked on the quilt on Thursday nights when he was at his Poker Club, sewing the last seam of the backing just as he arrived home a fortnight ago.
We planned a weekend at my place on the guise of going to a quilt show and a movie, so she could press the quilt and organise to drop it off to be quilted. This photo, taken with the quilt spread out on my bed was the first time Mum got to see the whole top, as she’d spent most of her time scrunching it up and making it look inconsequently.
Just waiting for the call to say it’s finished being quilted, hopefully before the Labour Day Long Weekend, and another overnight stay at my place “because we’re going to the Ballarat Quilt Show” and we can sew the binding down.