Lions and tigers, oh my!

Or, otherwise known as a cautionary tale of repairing, or remaking an old quilt.

I have this lovely friend named Sherri, who lives a couple hundred km’s away now. We popped in for a coffee when we were staying for the weekend in the Riverland this September just gone. As we were leaving, she presented me with a comforter, half turned into a quilt, folded and stuffed into a bag. “What would you do with that?” she asked me, dropping it into my lap. I was a little dumbfounded, but I can’t say no to a challenge. Tell me it can’t be done, tell me it won’t fit? I’ll break my back to prove you wrong.

This “quilt” was made up of panels of big cats, as well as some other prints, sewn onto an old polyester covered comforter that had seen better days about 10 years ago. The poly fabric was torn to pieces and the filling was shredded in places, terribly lumpy in others. I could appreciate her idea, to recover it, but wasn’t sure my skills were up to the challenge.

As I didn’t want to spend a fortune on fabric, I popped in to Spotlight and bought a metre of leopard print quilting fabric and 4 metres of a print that matched the colours on clearance for a backing. My plan was to fold down seam allowances, top stitch pieces into the missing corners, then free-motion quilt the entire thing on my Juki, because I would never be able to load this onto the longarm.

I can’t remember the last time I spray basted a quilt, and I really don’t want to do it again anytime soon. Yuck! But here we were, ready to start quilting.

There are no photos of the next part. I wrestled dutifully for a half hour, quilting away. The comforter was heavy, lumpy, and didn’t want to fold to fit under the arm of the machine. I had to admit surrender, and think about plan B. This meant I had to unstitch all the quilting I managed to do, and then piece by piece, remove all the seams that held the rest of the pieces on, including some echo quilting that Sherri had added around the boxes of the animals. You all know, 5 minutes quilting usually equals about 15 minutes minimum unpicking. It took me days to pull all of this apart. Days!

I had a whole lot of pieces left afterwards (the comforter went straight into the bin. It wasn’t fit for anything else I’m afraid.) So I plotted and measured and cut and straightened and put the panels back together, with a few tweaks. Then back to the trusty longarm, loading the back I’d made and sprayed (Winnie the HQ Avante did not like the gummy needle).

Ta-da!! The finished quilt, with regular batting that was left over from another finish earlier this year. I used the backing as binding because I didn’t have enough leopard to do the job and I wasn’t making a special trip just to buy more!

For the quilting I used a pattern from My Creative Stiches – Tiger Stripes Edge to Edge. It’s a diamond based pattern, so I got to dust off some rusty computer skills to offset and nest each row. I used a rich mustard/gold thread for the quilting on the front, which just blended into the jungle prints perfectly! I love the finished effect, and the quilting lines are far enough away from each other that the finished quilt is quite soft and snuggly.

If you look very carefully (and squint) you may see a vertical join in the backing to the far left of the picture. I did a very rudimentary pattern matching job and it turned out to be very well disguised!

So, that’s the finished product, ready to go back to Sherri for next winter on her comfy chairs, with her fur-babies.

Have you taken on someone else’s unfinished project, or adopted one maybe at the thrift store? How did it go?
Happy Crafting - Cassie.

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