Coloring Outside the Lines

I’m on a bit of an adventure this morning. I find that I miss making quilts that are a bit more useful; quilts that you can cuddle up in and keep warm in, quilts that could even be called utilitarian. I want to make a quilt with simple lines and not a lot of pieces. Something I can just…make…and get lost in the colors and textures and process. I honestly can’t remember the last quilt I made like that, which is kind of sad! I went on a rummaging trip through the fabric stash after I threw together a little quilt plan in EQ, and I found a roll of Artisan Batiks precuts from Robert Kaufman that I’ve been staring at since I brought it home from Quilt Market in 2009 (I think).

I looked around for a background-type fabric and I found something workable that I have LOTS of and I mooshed stuff around on the sewing table in the morning light. I carried the pile off to the bedroom to see how I liked it in there, since that’s where this quilt will live if I make it. It was good, but…eh, the background fabric was a bit too dark and too yellowish for the look I have in mind. I made more coffee because it’s just necessary for hard thinking!

Did I want to go out to the fabric store today? Ewwwww…no. It’s Saturday, ITMan is visiting his parents for a few days, it’s quiet here, and no, I don’t want to get all fixed up to go out. I’d even have to stop to put gas in the car or I wouldn’t get there at all, much less get back home. I have my hermit hat on, though truthfully it’s stuck to my head so firmly you’d be hard pressed to catch me without it. And beside that, do I need to spend any money on fabric for what is essentially an experimental quilt? Nah…but I really didn’t love that background print…

Then I remembered that stack of linens in the closet that I see every day. You see, the door to our under-the-stairs, Harry-Potter-sort-of linen closet is open all the time, and that door is actually inside the master bathroom. A lot of my quilts are folded on the shelves in there, right above the extra bed linens. Digging around in the stack, I found a set that doesn’t even fit our bed–it must be the ones I bought for one of the girls when we moved here and when all the household goods got here from Germany, no one used them anymore.

Hmmmmm…what if?? I haven’t thought about using sheets for quilting in YEARS, because that’s just not what you DO. The weave is different. There are tons more threads per inch. Sheets can be stiffer than quilting cotton. But…that color…it was perfect…and the fabric is a sateen so there might be some interesting texture variation…and it was a solid fabric, which is not something I have a lot of in my stash. Solids just aren’t usually my thing. Boring. More coffee. More hard thinking.

I grabbed a pillow case and stuffed a double layer of Thermore batting in it to simulate some slightly thicker batting to see how it would quilt up on the machine. I figured that I could just pick out the stitching if it was a total failure and then we could still use the pillow case; no one would ever know! The double layer was too thick and stiff, so I opened the case and cut one layer of the batting out, and quilted some more. Ahh…that was nice with that Auriful 12/2 cotton thread, and it might be a bit stiffer than the average quilt, but if I used regular quilting cotton fabric on the back instead of the sheet fabric, all would be well (probably). I could add a cool piece of ombred fabric from Hoffman, some other colors and weights of Auriful threads, and maybe even some hand dyed embroidery thread accents for a little more texture.

Artisan Batiks & Aurifil Threads

But…do I really want to cut up a perfectly good, hardly used bed sheet for an experimental quilt? Yes. Yes, I believe I do. I mean, how’s that for “utilitarian”? It will either be fabulous, or a disaster, or maybe even fabulously disastrous. We’ll see…