My son has decided he wants a quilt for Christmas. Only, he wants a jeans quilt, and I’m more than a little bored of making jeans quilts, having made two or three, now. So, having flicked through issue 7 of Mollie Makes, and seen a jumper quilt, I thought I’d give that a go.
I didn’t quite trust the Mollie Makes method, which was simply to cut jumpers into squares and stitch them, leaving edges unfinished. I’m sure they’re right that the edges *wouldn’t* fray. But what’s the point in owning an overlocker, right??
Anyway, I’m getting ahead of myself. My first challenge was to find jumpers. I asked colleagues, friends and even Twitter to donate old, wool jumpers. I got two remnants of jumpers from an old friend. And I trawled charity shops in Hereford, Rugby, Coventry and Birmingham. It’s surprisingly hard to find woollen jumpers – acrylic, or cotton, or nylon aplenty. But pure, unadulterated wool? Dream on…
Eventually, I found enough jumpers, in enough non-girly colours, to put a quilt together. I whizzed the squares up in the overlocker, using a cherry red woolly nylon thread, to contrast. I deliberately arranged the jumpers so that some were displaying the right side, and some the wrong side (the reverse of cable knit is often quite interestingly textured). I have included seams, pockets, buttons, cuffs, ribbing from edges and cowls. Some are hand knitted, some are machine knitted. Some are thick, some are thin. Some are harsh and scratchy like jumpers from my childhood. Some are luxuriously soft and strokable. As I stitched them together, I left some seams on the reverse, but exposed some on the right side of the quilt, where the red thread provides some necessary brightness to the otherwise masculine colour tones.
I was trying to think of a theme to embellish – my son is at an age where he enjoys video games, but little else, and I don’t know enough about video games to be able to reproduce anything other than pacman, or perhaps Sonic the Hedgehog – neither of which would be greeted with more than a blank. I was rescued by a wonderful colleague who suggested Tank Girl, whom my son adores.
So I copied a Tank Girl image onto a nappy liner, pinned it to a pale grey cashmere block and carefully stitched round it with plain, polyester sewing thread, leaving a faint outline on the wool. Then I tore the nappy liner off, ironed some fusible facing to the reverse of the block, put some dissolvable stabiliser over the top of my design, dropped the machine’s feed dogs and let rip with the embroidery threads.
I’m really pleased with the result! The expression isn’t quite the same on the quilt as it was on the drawing, but it’s a credible expression, nonetheless, and there are, if you scroll in close enough, individual eyelashes, and a little frown. And look at that ear!!!
The quilt will be backed with white microfleece, and each block will be loosely hand quilted with a red sock yarn.
Finished images to follow, at some point, hopefully. I hope he likes it: but if not, it will no doubt find a home on the back of a sofa…