She was diagnosed with Parkinson's Disease and has also fallen prey to the dreaded Alzheimer's Disease which has robbed us of the chatty and capable woman she once was. She is happy enough though and the state of her illness has given the family no choice but to find the best home we could for her and indeed, signs look good that she is happy there in her own way.
She is at least settled rather than being shuttled between hospitals and has her own room with her own treasures in it. In times of need, I increasingly seem to be turning to quilts! Birthday? quilt. Christmas: quilt. Indeed, in terms of bringing some sense of security, I think they are really up there. So now that Nan is settled, it seemed natural for me to make a quilt for her. I hope it will brighten her room, keep her warm and bring her some comfort.
I always associate my nan with the colour lilac, or maybe mauve? Call it what you will, and so off I went, digging out anything purple-y from my stash. I love this fabric above which recently arrived from America, a 1930's reproduction print.
I decided to make a smallish quilt by my standards, big enough for her lap or the bottom of a single bed (40" x 48"), easy for her to manage. I went for a simple "rail fence" design. This is easy to execute. You simply sew strip after strip of fabric together (I went for groups of 5 strips), then cross cut them into square blocks. I seamed together 2.5" strips to give me 10" blocks. I made two varying sets of blocks and then set them end on end.
But wait! I must tell you that having broken my walking foot by sewing over a pin which got stuck (grrrrr) and therefore having to wait on the arrival of a new one, I decided it was finally time to have a go at free motion quilting instead, using the new Pfaff Grand Quilter which came with the special foot for free motioning, still looking very pristine and unused!
Aaaaarrggghhh, this type of stitching has a fearsome reputation (rightly so)! Many of you will probably know all about it; if not, you basically lower or cover the feed dogs on your machine such that the machine does not feed the fabric through as normal. You are in charge of moving the fabric where you want the stitches to go! This is usually in a "stippled" or "meandering" fashion although really clever quilters can make all sorts of beautiful flowers, hearts, feathers and patterns. The trick is getting the speed of the pedal as against the speed you move the fabric correct. This is the key to getting an even stitch length and smooth flowing curves. At least that's the theory!
Goodness me, I have heard it said that you must practise, practise, practise when it comes to free motioning and that it takes about 30 hours to be proficient. I can well believe it! Having done about four or five hours, I decided to get on with it. Impatient? Moi? Of course, practising on little mini quilt sandwiches is all very well but manoeuvring a full quilt is quite a different matter! But you know, I did my best, the result is not half bad for a free motion novice though there is much room for improvement. But it's a start, hey?
I backed the quilt with a pretty lilac rosebud cotton flannelette sheet which I bought new from eBay and there is ultra pouffey batting inside (because I happened to have the correctly sized piece to hand). This is probably not the easiest quilting combination but I do like the result and think it will be cosy for nan as it's very warm but lightweight, and easy to wash and dry.
So now I will love you and leave you my dear readers, wish you a happy weekend and pop to the post office with Muriel's Mauve - a Quilt for My Nan.