Saturday, April 10, 2010

Recycling

The first quilt of any size that I made was this one, a simple sashed Four Patch:

This was back when my children were all toddlers and we were living in Texas. Like most young families we didn't have a lot of money so I collected men's flannel shirts from the one thrift shop in town and picked up remnants of new flannels at good ole Wallyworld.

For batting I used an acrylic blanket that was already at least 10 years old at the time. I used a poly-cotton blend sheet I'd acquired in a box lot at an auction for the back and the binding. The layers were tied with cotton crochet thread.

I signed but apparently did not date this quilt. (I wonder why I didn't date it. That seems out of character for me.) I'm guessing it was completed in the late 1980's or early '90's. It has been used a lot. Even though it was one of my first quilts it was never precious to me. In every conceivable way it has always been a utility quilt.

The flannels I bought as remnants have held up well over the life of this quilt. The flannel shirts, not so much. Some were better quality than others, some had been worn and washed several times before I ever got my hands on them. Patches started disintegrating a few years ago. At first I toyed with the idea of simply replacing the weakest ones. The last time I brought the quilt out of the dryer, however, I realized the situation was more dire.

This quilt has been in the back of my mind as I've been sewing my liberated log cabin blocks. Last night I got it out to have a good look at it and came to the conclusion that while the top is no longer salvageable (not by me anyway) I should be able to use the blanket as batting again, and maybe the sheet as well. It feels very appropriate to use the orphan blocks I've been making out of scraps to make a new utility quilt out of this old one. That would just about be the ultimate in recycling!

4 comments:

A Creative Dream... said...

One of my favorite quilts that we slept under when we visited my mother in law many, many years ago, was a heavy, HEAVY quilt that had several generations of love in it. She called it a "woolen", I'm sure a family name for that type of quilt...at it's core was a quilt her great grandmother had made, her mother had made a new top and back and had used the original as the batting...and finally, she had made both a new top and back, and had used the quilt as the batting.

I can recall one very cold night, lying under that quilt with my new baby nursing, and thinking of how special it was that this piece of love had touched all of those generations.

I think it's a very good plan for recycling!

Michele Bilyeu said...

Nothing better than a well loved quilt! Oh wait, one that lives on and on forever, and you've figured out a way to do that!The quilt DNA is being passed into the future!

Barbara C said...

This scrappy quilt has so much vitality, and I like your solution for this well-loved quilt. Surely some of its goodness will pass on to the next project

Quiltdivajulie said...

Good plan ~ I call these kinds of projects my "rescue quilts" (there have been several of my grandmothers that have undergone significant transformations). All the love and history stays ~ only the tattered threads are set aside!