Sunday, October 25, 2009

A New Duvet

In 1997 I finished this hand appliqued, hand quilted cover for our bed. I had bought the pattern in 1976, then bought the material and began work on it in 1986. Memorably, the white squares were cut out the day Challenger went down. It was meant to be a leisurely project, and the great fun of it was choosing all the different fabrics for the squares. Some of the squares needed to be redesigned, or changed in size. I chose a theme of three red based squares, three green, three blue and three yellow. The real turkey red of the toothed circles and the binding tied the squares together. Some years there was no progress at all, but eventually the quilt was finished and adorned our bed. I was very pleased with it. It took an estimated 1,000 hours to make. A labor of love indeed.

But now the colours have faded severely, and I am starting on a new quilt. This is the first square of the new quilt. The photo doesn't do justice to the colours, which are much brighter and deeper than in the picture.

For the first 32 years of our marriage we used regular sheets and blankets on our bed. But I hate the feel of the blanket rubbing up against my cheek. I want to have the sheet neatly folded over the blanket. Sad to say, it never stays that way, since Jim rumples up the sheets and blankets together. So 12 years ago I made a duvet to use instead of sheets and blankets.

Why did I bother to make one? Because the one I ordered from Sears was way too hot for me, and too noisy for Jim. Noisy? Yeah, it had a kind of polished cotton cover that crinkled quite loudly whenever one of us moved. It didn't last even one night on the bed. The next morning it was sent back.

So I bought the heaviest batting I could find, plus enough yardage of plain, light weight, white cotton, and made a duvet. It measured 90 x 100 inches, was light weight, gave a nice level of warmth, and quiet. It was too heavy to quilt, so I tied it every six inches. We loved it. Well, Jim would rather have had sheets and blankets, but I said, "After another 32 years we can go back to sheets and blankets." Since I'm the one makes the bed every morning, that's what we're doing.

After ten years of use, the duvet was worn out, mainly from being washed frequently and made a trip to the burning barrel. We limped along with a combination of quilts, sheets, blankets, whatever. When I was in Edmonton to take a knitting class with D.D. #2 from Annie Modesett, we went to a Fabricland and found some of that heavy polyester batting, wide enough that it doesn't need to be seamed.

My first attempt with this new duvet involved making a kind of bag to put the batting in. That way the bag could be washed and the batting wouldn't suffer from going through the wash each time. But it was soon evident that the batting would just roll up inside the bag.

So this is the new formula: I'm channel quilting the batt between sheet material. I've bought a duvet cover (from Sears again), which is 380 threads per inch, but soft. The colour is called "Cracked Wheat" so it should harmonize with the new quilt (whenever that gets done!). It takes a while to stitch all these seams by hand, but I'm not doing the careful, even 10 stitches per inch. Probably about 5 per inch, and not bothering to remove any too big stitches.

I really like the Q Snap quilting frame that I use. It's 2 ft by 3 ft, so it doesn't dominate the room. The clips on the edges go on and off easily, so you can quickly the move the quilt to a new area.

And here are my two indispensable quilting tools. My coin thimble and a scissors-handled tweezer. I find that necessary to pull the loaded needle through the fabric. Don't know if anyone else quilts that way, but that's what works for me.

I'm hoping to finish this up this week, and get on to some other projects. Wish me good speed!

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