This quilt is, according to my records, the 10th quilt I made and the first that was hand-quilted. Previously I’d tied my quilts and all but three were baby quilts. I’ve learned a bunch about quiltmaking in the 20+ years since I made Almost All My Children.
And even though there are several things that could be improved upon, it is one of my favorite quilts.
Let me tell you the story. We’d moved to a much larger house so all three of our sons who were still living at home had their own bed. I didn’t have that many blankets. A favorite aunt, who was a quilter, lived just down the road and said she had lots of fabric and she’d talk me through making some quilts. I was delighted to give it a try. My previous bed-sized quilts were marginal at best. So Aunt Alta brought out a couple of boxes of polyester double-knit fabric. This was in the mid-’90s so the fabric was long out of vogue. But it could still make warm quilts.
I wound up making four Nine Patch quilts out of those boxes of fabric. This is the first. As you can see, I used white in all the blocks. The second quilt was twin-sized, had mint green sashing and borders and the blocks were all two shades of the same color. I remember sky blue and navy, peach and orange, olive and forest green – combinations like that. It was stolen, and I have no photos. The third quilt was all shades of blue, from sky blue to slate blue to navy. There wasn’t enough contrast. It was ugly. I don’t have photos of it either. I talked about the fourth quilt in my blog a while back; you can check it out here.
Now back to Almost All My Children. I didn’t have a rotary cutter so the patches were cut with scissors. The blocks measure from 11”-11¾” and they are not perfectly square. But it’s still one of my favorites.
I didn’t get the sashing matched from one row to the next. But it’s still one of my favorites.
The borders are a bit ruffly which means I didn’t cut them to the right length and I stretched the sashing as I stitched the borders on. But it’s still one of my favorites.
I had a quilting frame, the very, very old kind that is two long boards and two shorter boards. You attach the layers of the quilt to the two long boards and clamp them to the two shorter boards and rest the whole thing on the backs of chairs so it is at a height that you can work. I wish I could find a photo to show you.
My husband and I loaded the quilt on the frame and I started quilting. I used two strands of crochet thread and a technique I’d read about called big-stitch quilting. Can you imagine trying to get two strands of crochet thread through double-knit fabric? It’s no wonder I hated doing it.
As I was in the process of quilting this quilt, one of our sons was leaving to join the Navy. We had a family going away party and all of my children who were there quilted part of a block. One son lived out of state so he wasn’t there. That’s how the quilt wound up with the name Almost All My Children.
I embroidered their names on the block they quilted.
This block had two quilters, my son and his girlfriend at the time. She’s now my daughter-in-law.
Because of the story, this quilt will always be a favorite. And because it’s made with polyester double-knit fabric, it will never fade and probably never wear out. I do see a few places the quilting thread has frayed but I can mend that.
Polyester double-knit quilts are a special kind of quilts. Even though my quilt was made in the mid-’90s, it has a lot in common with the 1970s quilts because of the polyester double-knits that I used. Bill Volckening has an interesting web seminar about 1970s quilts . He talks about how to recognize a 1970s quilt, popular fabrics and methods of construction, the influence of modern materials such as polyester double-knit on quiltmaking, how quilts have evolved and the relevance of 1970s quilts today. The cost is $19.99. Check it out. I think you’ll enjoy it and learn a lot.
And visit Quilters Newsletter on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, YouTube, Google+ and our website for the latest news, quilting fun and ideas. There are other Web Seminars on QuiltAndSewShop.com, and classes, courses and workshops on Craft Daily.com and CraftOnlineUniversity.com to check out.