Monday, March 05, 2007

True Granny squares

There has been a lot of talk about granny square afghans in Blogland lately. Thought I'd share mine. Crochet is not my kind of thing, I must say I prefer quilting, and I have come a long way from my very first quilt, which can be glimpsed in this picture.
It doesn't bear further inspection, as I knew nothing whatsoever about quilting when I made it! I had seen a small photo in "Better Homes and Gardens" or whatever, of a bedroom with a quilt on the bed, and decided to make one just like it (the best way to learn a new craft is to start with an enormous project, right?). The quilt part of the photo was about a square inch, so I had to do a lot of guesswork to find out how the blocks were put together. Then there was the challenge of finding fabric. Not the right kind of fabric, just any cotton fabric at all - it was that scarce. Eventually I had rounded up four different fabrics and set to work. Precise measurements and even seam allowances were totally unfamiliar expressions, and I ended up with no two blocks the same size. But with a bit of pulling and ruching and creative use of language, I managed to get them together into a quilt top anyway. I had worked out that there needed to be some kind of batting, but thought I couldn't add a backing fabric to the equation at this stage, 'cause then the stitches would show on the back... duh! So with a quilt top fastened to the cheapest kind of polyester batting with tiny pins I fought my mother's sewing machine all the way and managed to stitch in the ditch along most major seams, while scattering pins all over the room. I then added a backing fabric and tied it to the top at intervals with crochet cotton before rolling the edges of the batting into the outer border and slip stitching it to the back. I still remember the feeling of double knotted shoulder muscles when I was done, but I also remembered the pride of the achievement. It took many years before I attempted another quilt though, but when I did I had picked up a few tips along the way, fabric was more easily available, I found a guild, and the rest is history.
Talk about getting distracted - I was going to talk about that afghan! Well, I can't take credit for it, that's for sure. But while I was struggling with that quilt, my grandmother used all my leftover yarn (she probably realized that I would switch from knitting to quilting...) and made lots and lots of granny squares. She did a lot of crochet and embroidery in her time, but this was her last ever project, before she became to feeble to do any hand work, and she made it for me, which is why I treasure it so much.
I have made lots of quilts, but most of them for others, so I have never got around to making a new one for my bed. This old one is way too short (somehow it ended up much smaller than I had planned...), so I usually drape the afghan over the edge of the bed to hide that fact and to remind me of my grandmother's love.
So there you go - that's why I'm not going to make a granny square afghan - I've got the one my granny made for me :-)

1 comment :

Jan said...

Which is, of course, the very best kind!