So…I want to tell you about a quilt transformation that I both love deeply and kinda sorta fret about.
Back in 2005—TEN years ago—I made this quilt with my mother. She came up for a visit and I showed her how to quilt. I was still in my conservative color stage (only blue and white…grey, if feeling randy) and so I decided to let her pick the fabrics. That yellow really made me twitchy. We cut strips and I sewed like a maniac to finish the top within the weekend.
We made a couple of tops that weekend, so it felt fine for me to choose to keep this one—the yellow grew on me. It quickly became the ubiquitous couch quilt, enduring coffee spills and the strife of real life. Laundering was always enough to perk it up, until this past weekend when a couple of stains pushed me over the edge.
Why not overdye the quilt with indigo to cover the stains? I dyed my own pineapple quilt this past winter; and I still need to show you that here. Though, I got the idea from these indigo dyed vintage quilts in NYC. You can see their current inventory too for a sense of the range of possible outcomes. [I have no affiliation with Shark Tooth.] The varied shades of blue come from multiple dips to darken, difference in how various fabrics (cotton, silk, synthetic, etc) take up the dye, original colors of the fabrics, etc.
I’ve written about the indigo dyeing process here before. For depth of color, one doesn’t leave stuff in the dyebath for longer time, but rather dips and oxidizes multiple times. I dipped and oxidized the quilt three times. It’s one thirsty quilt, absorbing lots of water in the dyebath and turning heavier and soggier every time. Supporting the weight to transfer to the rack each time was quite the workout! (My hands, arms, legs and feet are now very blue. And my kitchen eventually flooded with a deep blue river.)
I love the subtle variations in the blues; it’s mesmerizing. And the quilting stitches, done by a longarmer, must have been done with polyester thread because they didn’t take up the dye. The contrast is kinda nice now that the quilt is monochrome.
It’s like a whole new quilt. And I just fell in love with it all over again.
And about that fretting? Yeah, well, this process transforms the quilt into something new. We could debate about the company that does it to vintage quilts, but it’s not the same to choose to do it to one’s own quilt. Having now done one as soon as I made it and another one ten years later, I dunno.
Meh. I don’t feel like fretting.