Mad In Pursuit Notebook

Mysterious Russia Quilt


2.15.2014. After drifting along and being oh so experimental for a couple weeks, I blew the start whistle on our next quilt project. Our frigid winter plus the Sochi Games put me in the mood to make a woolen quilt.

The Five & Dime Quilt video, featuring Kansas Troubles designer Lynne Hagmeier, was our inspiration.

I had three nice wool remnants from the Bits & Pieces store. I thought I wanted it to have a creamy "winter white" contrast color, so we went to Jo-Anne's to pop for some yardage. But white wool was $35/yard. Uh, no thanks.

Instead, we stopped at the Goodwill on the way home. Found an armful of nice wool clothing for about $30. I still didn't find the pale wool I envisioned, but the goods better suited the upcycling principle I'm trying to maintain for our projects.

I won't go into what a pain it is to deconstruct a well-made man's sports jacket. Let me just say it's a job.

Whatever. Our lap-size quilt will be dark -- shades of brown and indigo. Dark. Russian.

We're not really planning it out very well. The Goodwill plaid jacket (with all its seams) only yielded one large 10" square. So we made four 10x10 four-patch blocks and will fill the rest with 5x5 blocks.

The wool is stretchy and limp compared to starched cotton broadcloth. It's hard to square it off sharply. That's our excuse anyway. Jim and I labored long and hard to get perfect 5- and 10-inch squares for our set of large blocks. But as you can see from the photo above, the center small blocks don't line up.

"But it's folk art!" Jim kept reminding me.

After Jim sewed up the big blocks, he drifted off to his newspaper and I began cutting the smaller blocks. I put on some Russian music -- Tchaikovsky, Rachmaninoff, Borodin, Rismky-Korsakov. Then I got really ambitious and downloaded the audio version of "The Brothers Karamazov" (Dostoevsky). I concluded that, while Vladimir Putin is an ass and Communism was an epic failure, the Russian culture is grand and fascinating indeed.

Maybe we should watch "Dr Zhivago" next.