Tuesday, March 12, 2013

The Cleo Quilt

I finally finished my largest and most intense quilt to date!  Granted, I've only made three so far (The Rio and The Stella) but I feel like I got pretty ambitious with this one pretty quickly as it was much more of an undertaking than my previous works.  If you have been following me on Instagram (bifftastica) for the past few months you've already seen this finished product and some progress shots.  Not only was it labor intensive, but it was also quite a special quilt to me for many reasons.
I began this one right after the new year and was inspired by the floral fabric which belonged to my Great Granny, Cleo.  She passed away when I was about twenty years old at the ripe old age of 91.  I was very attached to my Great Granny as I spent much of my childhood at her highly organized, ridiculously clean, midcentury home.  The setting for my dreams is often that house.  When she passed away, I didn't inherit much from her except for a small dresser, her console record player, some wall art and this fabric which I have held onto for nearly 15 years.  I knew that I wanted to make something special with it.  I toyed with making some clothing but knew that the kid would grow out of whatever it was soon and if I made it for myself, I would either wear it out or never wear it so I decided to give a quilt a shot.  Luckily, there is much of this fabric leftover though so I CAN make us some clothes out of it now!  :)
I started by cutting out some triangles and laying them out this way and that.  I settled on this pattern, one I later learned is called a Friendship Star, and set out to find my other fabrics.  A friend of mine passed along this striped black fabric from her mother's collection when she passed away, the green fabric came from an estate sale and the bias tape I made out of a sheet I also grabbed at an estate sale.  Anyone who knows me well knows that these colors are MY colors.  This quilt couldn't represent me any better. 
It's SO not perfect.  My perfectionist Great Granny may not have been able to use it ;)  As  imperfect as it is, I absolutely love it.  I totally pieced the squares together incorrectly when I first started and had to completely take them all apart and start over, hence why they are irregular shaped.  Gives it character, right?  Right.  There's puckering on the back and the edges are wavy but that's ok.  It is about 5' x 5' so it's a good couch napper and it was also a feat to fit through my machine at times.  The mister was incredibly good with hanging out with the kid at times so I could work in thirty minute spurts every few days. 
One of the other reasons why this quilt is so special to me is because Pimmy was around for it and would curl up on it at times when she was sleeping in very strange and what seemed to be uncomfortable places.  I have some darling photos of her and Vera cozily sleeping on it together in the midst of its making.  There are even a few of her hairs still on it.  That may be weird to some but it's comforting to me.  She was heavily on my mind and nearby through its evolution.
Speaking of my Vera, I backed this quilt with a Vera sheet.  I had NO idea that she made sheets nor that this was one of them!  I picked up this pair at an estate sale a while back for a few dollars because I loved the scenery and coloring.  When I was trying to figure out what to back this quilt with, the mister and I both agreed that this was the winner.  It wasn't until I was pin-basting that I noticed the Vera signature and may have slightly freaked out. 
And speaking of signatures, I put my signature on this quilt!  In fact, it's the first thing that I've EVER put my label on!
It even made its way to the back of the couch.  In our house, that's the big time.
Quilting is proving to be easily addicting to me.  How appropriate to admit that during National Quilting Month.  Are there support groups?  I've already begun thinking about my next one.  Larger?  More details?  Free motion?  First up though, new pillow covers for the couch to match the quilt! :)


  1. It really is a beautifully striking (or should that be strikingly beautiful! Lol) quilt. I enjoy seeing all of your projects. Love the Vera signed sheet...what a cool surprise!

  2. very nice! and glad that i/we could contribute something to it. keep on quilting!!


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