The Accidental Living Room Quilt

>> Thursday, October 18, 2012

Making things for myself is paralyzing. How do I decide on a design or choose fabric when I'm not going to design something I dislike or buy fabric that is unappealing? And how do I pick the perfect palette for the living room I already live in? Admittedly, the (super comfortable) gold couch is perhaps not the item I would select from a store, but free, old-in-the-best-sort-of-way, and did I mention amazingly comfortable rocks (thanks grandparents for making some great furniture purchases back in the day).

Two springs ago I was temporarily living in DC. I toted a small portion of my stash with me (sanity protection) and resolved to make stuff within the parameters of what I brought. That small stash included 2 charm packs of Kate Spain's Central Park line, and a lot of solids. I challenged myself to make a big quilt with those charm packs, and by adding a lot of solids, I succeeded.

I followed no particular format in laying out the fabric. I probably tried to avoid setting the same fabrics next to one another, making it not totally random, and I may have adjusted squares as I sewed them together. To be honest, I don't really remember how I did it all that clearly. I do recall wishing I had used green instead of yellow as the most significant solid at one point, but having already cut out  lots of yellow squares, well, no change was in the works. Unlike most of the quilts I make, this one had no intended recipient. As a result, when I finished the quilt top I had no need or incentive to finish it quickly, and it sat on a shelf for months.

Last winter I decided I needed to move this project from the unfinished pile to the finished one. I dug into my stash to find fabric to back it, and decided to use the Alexander Henry Birdsong as the primary backing. Then I added coordinating fabric to make it big enough to fit the front, quilted it 1/4" lines offset from the seams, and bound it. I washed it and wondered to whom I should give it. It sat on a chair in my living room, waiting to move on to its new home.

Summer faded into fall, and one night I wanted to burrow under a quilt while reading on the couch. Rather than dig up a blanket from the closet, I grabbed the one sitting on the chair. I wouldn't have expected the pale yellow to work with the gold couch but, in a way, it does. It's not exactly the design or colors I would have picked for my living room, but it works. The binding isn't my favorite shade of green, but it doesn't really matter. It's a lot easier to let a quilt find a home in my living room than design one specifically for it. So much less pressure, so much more pleasurable.


felicity October 18, 2012 at 12:16 PM  

You simply cannot go wrong with patchwork. I love this quilt's simplicity, and that it finally made itself known that it is to be *your* quilt!

Charm packs can be vexing in that they don't really have enough there to make a non-baby-sized quilt on their own. I really like how you interspersed the solid bits. Noted (pinned) for future inspiration.

~Michelle~ October 18, 2012 at 1:45 PM  

I agree with the patchwork comment - I think it always works, charming in its simplicity.

LC October 19, 2012 at 7:06 PM  

Gorgeous! Awesome work. I just love every fabric Kate Spain makes. Like, every single one.

FlourishingPalms October 20, 2012 at 5:52 PM  

I absolutely LOVE making a quilt just as you have, even though it's been eons since I've done that. You know, make it as I want, just how I want, with just the right or not so right fabrics in it, just because it's for me. I'm plum tired of those burdening UFOs to tick off an Excel list. Good for you for doing it just because.

Anonymous November 4, 2012 at 12:15 AM  

Your Bubbe would be thrilled to know that you are enjoying her sofa so much. I told you it was the best place to read, didn't I, when you weren't so sure your wanted it! Thanks for listening.

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