Friday, July 10, 2009


This is my quilt, "Thoreen".

Some of you may remember her from last year when I joined a sewing group called "Dear Jane". We were supposed to be all making the tiny hand pieced blocks made famous in the book about Jane Stickle's amazing quilt. As time passed some of us chose to work on other hand piecing and drifted off on other paths.
I brought along a partly finished grandmother's flower garden hexagon quilt I'd decided not to sell in my moving house garage sale but felt completely daunted by.

"Thoreen " was started by a friend of my mother's, Thoreen Jensen. I remember Thoreen quite well as a teacher and family friend when I was a teenager. A couple of years ago she became unwell and asked some other friends of Mum's if I would like to finish the quilt she'd been making and perhaps raffle it. I have to admit I wasn't keen on raffling a fully handmade quilt, but I wanted to finish it for her and I offered to make a donation to a charity. I chose muscular dystrophy and Thoreen was happy with that too. I then received the makings of the quilt as far as Thoreen had cut , tacked and sewn - and that was a fair bit with all those little handmade hexagon papers, patches and the quilt sewn as big as a very skinny single bed throw.

I have to admit, I was a little taken aback when I saw the size of the hexagons - not tiny, but I was hoping they'd be at least four inches across (instead of their one and a half!) Thoreen had been extremely organized and meticulous and many of the hexagons were already sewn over papers, cut from old library cards, electricity bills, letters and doctors' appointment slips, some were sewn into their rosettes and a portion of the quilt was already put together too. What remained for me to do was organise the rosettes into piles for the rows and continue hand sewing the whole thing together.
At one point I almost put it in my moving sale, it was coming along so slowly. But my good angel won out, and I kept the quilt so far and any completed hexagons - everything else I stuffed in a basket and sold in the sale! So goodbye authentic retro 70's fabrics in case I needed you to finish the quilt...
Then the Dear Jane group started and I resurrected the quilt. The others all motivated me so much I ended up making a queen size quilt with what I had and adding many look alike fabrics from Amelia's, my sister's and my cast off clothes. I regretted getting rid of Thoreen's fabric remnants, but I unpicked rosettes from the centre and replaced them with some of the new fabrics, resetting the older ones on the edges to carry the old fabrics right through the quilt.
Once the top was finished, I hand quilted the entire thing with multi coloured perle 8 threads, flower by flower. The cotton wadding and tight muslin backing fabric made this a fairly arduous task.

I decided to turn under the edges and hand stitch the top to the backing. This meant I had to leave the entire outer row of hexagons unquilted, cut back the wadding and backing, fold the backing up over the wadding, hand sew the edge then go back round and finish the final hand quilting matching the threads to each of the hundreds of individual hexagon florets.
After tying off that last stitch I felt like hollering, I definitely Yeehahed!
Thoreen is no longer with us, but I'm glad I was able to finish her quilt and dedicate it to her as "Thoreen".
I love the quilt now with its delicate aged fabrics and crinkly quilting, and I'm so happy I persevered with the encouragement of my family and friends.
Thank you all and I hope you like her too,

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