Thursday, August 13, 2015

scrappy utility log cabin (or housetop) lap quilt top for my father-in-law finished

I mentioned at the end of my previous post that my FIL asked for a lap quilt after I gave one to Andrea in his presence when we celebrated her birthday, and how excited I was. That was in early August, and he leaves us for Don's sister's in Colorado August 22. I want to give him a finished quilt for his train ride on the California Zephyr, and also to cuddle under while he's in Colorado through Christmas, and hopefully for a long time after that. He takes Coumadin, and he is always chilly.

During my staycation in the studio the end of July, I realized something crucial for me and quilts. Designing those two wallhangings helped me differentiate between a desire to make art quilts and a desire to make comfy cozy quilts for laps and beds. Andrea's quilt felt stiff, and while I think it will soften after washings and time passes because of the 100% cotton batting, I want lap quilts to be fluffier, softer and cozier right at the start. I also want them to bridge the past and future, to be reminiscent of grandmothers' quilts and conscious of loved ones who will cuddle under them.

I immersed myself in the quilts and quilters of Gee's Bend for a few days while designing this. I felt more than I thought. I was going to sash it more simply, subtly, but then I just started using the cut pieces on my work table, and it grew into this. I feel very connected to those ladies and am thankful their quilts were discovered so we can reap pleasure and inspiration from their hard work and lives.

I've been working on my FIL's quilt the past week or so, because it so happens that every weekend in August I am away from the studio. I burned the night oil (until 9 or so) last evening and the one before. Late for me! But you know I love it. The quilt top is finished, and I've sandwiched the layers with 80/20 cotton/poly batting and a simple pieced backing. Yippee!

Instagram photos:

I am quilting every two inches or so to keep it fluffy. The denser the quilting, the stiffer the quilt. Of course that means this will go quickly! Then I can't wait to make the scrappy binding.

I will post again when finished, of course.

Oh, and I just have to add this week's Free Will Astrology piece for Leo from Rob Brezsny. I love it! Can you believe it? :)

LEO (July 23-Aug. 22): Many people harbor the unconscious bias that
beauty resides primarily in things that are polished, sleek, and perfect.
Celebrities work hard and spend a lot of money to cultivate their
immaculate attractiveness, and are often treated as if they have the most
pleasing appearance that human beings can have. Art that is displayed in
museums has equally flawless packaging. But the current astrological
omens suggest that it's important for you to appreciate a different kind
of beauty: the crooked, wobbly, eccentric stuff. For the foreseeable
future, that's where you'll find the most inspiration.


  1. "The crooked, wobbly, eccentric stuff." You are having way too much fun, Ruthie, and I'm loving every minute of it. I was thinking about how quickly I was able to do my photo book of Nicholas' visit with us...faster than I expected...but you have done the same thing with this quilt. For me it was a $75-discount expiration date; for you it's your FIL leaving soon. YAY!

    1. I think the key for us, Boots, is that we are doing what we love, and so little ole deadlines don't phase us! :D Thank you, as always, for your love and support!

  2. What a perfect horoscope and even more ideal quilt. This is lovely. And how wise to connect the lap quilt with the softer, cuddliness that is needed. An honor your FIL would want one -- but not a surprise to me!

    1. You are so good, Jeanie. Thank you. xo

  3. You've another crooked, wobbly, eccentric charmer. Very nice mix of fabrics, colors & visual texture.
    Did your FIL watch the progress or will he have a big reveal?

    1. Thank you very much, Beth. You know, it's funny, he did not seem to pay attention to the progress on this quilt. I gave it to him in the car while we rode up north. He seemed happy. :)

  4. Yes, totally two different animals as you described...wall art is one thing...but oh that soft, cuddly stuff is what I love about all my OLD happy you have perfected all of that. I went through 30 years of corporate all polished, sleek, and perfect...and thank god I came to my senses after it's wabi-sabi all the way! Full circle from my teenage years, ha! Enjoy your weekend! xo-gg

    1. Yay for wabi-sabi, Robin! And YOU were much in my mind as I made this connection to cuddly quilts, because of what you've told me about yours. xo