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Monday, January 3, 2011

The Stash-Busting Tumbler Charm Quilt

There is a saying that "everyone in the family has a quilt on their bed but the quilter." The Grandmother's Flower Garden quilt (a previous post) is my quilt, but I never put it out on any bed in this house. It was like that Shirley Temple doll I got when I was 12 or 13. She was to be admired but I never played with her. By the way, I do still have her. For several years every quilt I made was given to my daughters, and as every mother knows, you don't give to one child unless you plan to also give to the other. Fairness was always a factor in my life, especially since I came from a family of 6 children (alas 5 younger brothers). I knew all about fairness. This quilt is actually the first one I made for me, me, me........

Tumbler Charm Quilt. Circa 2008
Tumbler Charm Quilt. Circa 2008
STASH-BUSTING because it uses up a lot of scraps and smaller remnants of fabric....TUMBLER because the pieces resemble tumbler style glasses....CHARM because there is no repeat, every piece is different.....QUILT, oh yes! There are new as well as old fabrics in this quilt. Look at the close-up on the left and you will see the tiny flowered light blue piece (next to the strawberry print) that is from a little dress my girls use to wear when they were in kindergarten. Toward the head of the bed there is a piece of fabric from one of my husband's shirts. In the old days a new bride was given a charm quilt as good luck. It would have a piece of fabric from her husband's shirt in it. There are memories in this quilt. It was a hard one to stitch together. The dreaded dog-ear seam. There was a lot of seam ripping going on. I would have to walk away for a day or so to keep from ripping my hair out. The real nightmare was when I had it all laid out on the living room floor, checking and re-checking that there were no repeats, that the pieces alternated light and dark and that there was enough balance of color, that all the red pieces were not bunched together and so on. That took about 3 days. I would use a pair of binoculars (another hint) and look through them from the wrong end. It throws the quilt at a distance and allows you to see any areas where there is clashing of color. It is what a person would see if the quilt were hanging at a distance across the room, or on a clothesline. It allows you to take off the blinders and see the whole picture.
My Mini Tumbler. Machine pieced, hand quilted. Circa 1998
I will tell you that I was crazy when I rotary cut the pieces because not only did I cut enough for my quilt, I also cut extras for my daughters to each have one (still in Zip-lock bags). I was in a frenzy and sold more cut pieces on Ebay. If there was ever a scrappier looking quilt this is it! The quilt on the bed is 35 tumblers per row x 24 rows. Mind boggling isn't it to know there are no repeats in the fabrics and there are 840 pieces in this masterpiece. My husband helped me to inspect the layout. "WHAT! Do you see a repeat of a fabric?" 'No," he replied, "I just can't believe there are 840 different fabrics back in your room." I just had to chuckle to myself.......if he only knew......

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