Thursday, 3 November 2016

I Have To Keep These, Though I Don't Know Why

Ever since I discovered the existence of Throwback Thursday I have been thinking about these quilts. I sometimes refer to Throwback Thursday as Throw Up Thursday, in this case it should maybe be Throw Out Thursday. ~ But how could I? These quilts, if they can be called quilts, have their own stories to tell. Not great photos, but its raining today, and I cant wait to share these with you.

Twin Quilts for My Twin Boys

My twin sons are 30 years old this year, when they went into big beds, I really wanted to make them a quilt each for their beds. I liked the idea that the quilts could be snuggly at bedtime, but also play props. And, lets be honest, I liked the idea of cutting up fabric and sewing it all together again, even then. The problem was I really didn't know how to do this.

Our "posh" department store at that time was Anderson & McAuley, and in I trekked to the fabric department, having left the children with Nana. For some weird reason I remember it was a Thursday and I was very secretive about what shopping I wanted to do. My late mother in law was a wiz with a needle, but I was doing this for myself as the song says. The lady in the shop asked rather imperiously how much fabric I wanted. First hurdle, I didn't know. I remember buying a half metre of each of the red and blue sailing fabric. The imperious shop assistant told me rather imperiously that there was never fabric for there for 2 patchwork quilts. I remember feeling rather snubbed, but it was £7.50 and  was all my humble purse could stretch to.

The sailing boat quilt was the first I tackled. As you can see not a scrap was wasted, four blocks across and 7 blocks down, and the remaining fabric used in the corners. She was right, this was never going to go around two quilts! The stripe was some stripe shirting my mother in law had. The navy was part of a duvet cover my brother and his wife no longer wanted. 

quilt for twin no 1

 The striped backing was a remnant from goodness knows where. Though I do remember buying it for £1.75. I clearly didn't know how to bind a quilt, I seem to have made an envelope and turned it the right way out. There is also no quilting at all, which why the wadding  has come part in places.

backing of quilt no 1

Twin no 1 was delighted, and the pressure was on for twin no 2. This time I bought some navy fabric with compasses and anchors on them. I think it may have been proper patchwork fabric, but the colour hasn't held the test of time. It is very faded. I got a little more ambitious in this quilt and seem to have sewn triangles, the red triangles have little bits sewn together! Waste not want not! I spot a little green and white check which means the laura Ashley quilt I made for our own bed must have been sewn first before these. So these are the second and third quilts I made, not first and second as I said in instagram, if anybody is keeping track. The blue and white stripe is more of that duvet cover from my sister in law.
quilt for twin no 2

And guess what? I have a blue polka dot on the back! There begins the habit of a life time, using spotty fabric somewhere in the backing or the binding. Again there is no sign of me having bound this quilt, just sewed it up wrong side and turned it out. The red strip on the front was a later addition, it was falling apart and it was just a way of patching it.

backing of quilt no 2

As you can see these quilts were well loved, they were used on picnics for sitting on, for making forts, dens, pirate ships, you name it they had a part of it. Eventually they were deemed too shabby for bed and probably too childish. I was given instructions to keep them, by the boys themselves. They were finished with them, but it was too much of a wrench to throw them out.

I'm glad I kept them. Having gone up to the roofspace to look for them, the years and fallen away. And seriously, I can actually smell the little boy smell from them. They lovely little boy smell, not the unlovely teenage boy smell. 

The other weird thing is that I remember all the prices! It did seem such a big deal at the time.

Now, what will I do with them? Do you think my new daughter in law would like this in her house? I doubt it!

Helen x
linking up with Jenn and Throwback Thursday
it seems the Throwback Thursday linky party is no more, ah well.


  1. In my book, since it is part of your son's childhood, he should take the decision if he cares to have his quilt back. He can deal with the daughter in law if she disagrees. I don't think it should be up to you to talk to her. I am not implying that there's a cold front between the two of you or anything like that, it's just it is a part of his past. Have you kept his Tonka Trucks? Wouldn't you ask him if he wants them back? Same for quilts. I have three boys (18, 20, 23 y old) and When they leave the house they are taking their stuff with them, Tonka Trucks, quilts, plush toys and all. Hope this help. Good luck with the decision. ;^)

  2. Oh Helen, you should see all the stuff I can't bear to part with! Stuff that might come in useful one day, that could be recycled if only I had the time! Chantal is right: ask each son what he wants from his past and when he's taken that the rest is yours to throw away, give away or recycle. I bet you can salvage enough from those two quilts to make a really pretty and functional lap quilt. Nice enough to make your sons want one too. Don't throw these quilts away: get out your SCISSORS!
    And now to practise what I preach! 😙

  3. keep them Helen, thats what you do with them, you're a daughter-in-law, you know what a daughter-in-law would do, she would throw them out!!
    Such a lovely tale...the little boy smell. :)
    And Anderson & McAuleys....sigh, I'm all nostalgic now!!

  4. You crack me up! Enjoyed this post immensely.

  5. What cool memories and moments of your start. I remember so much about the first few quilts I made, too. The boys clearly love them and I wonder what their thoughts are about having you keep them.

  6. I think you should keep them. I don't know if you want to go to the trouble of maybe fixing them up for your grandkids to use when they come to grandma's house.

  7. Yours are brilliant! My very first one was made of remnants from curtain factory. And they frayed like ** and of course no wadding because I didn't know anything! We all progressed very well :)

  8. Oh what a lovely story Helen, I could just imagine you making them. It'd funny how we remember details, like the day of the week, for me it goes to show how important the trip was to you, as if you knew it would lead to a lifetime of pleasure.


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