Thursday, May 3, 2018

Throwback Thursday: The Picnic Quilt

Since May is the month of Mothers' Day, I thought my May Post for Throwback Thursday should be about a quilt which brings back Quilt Mom Memories, the Picnic Quilt made at least twenty years ago.  When I first mentioned to my Hubby that I wanted to write about this quilt, he knew which quilt I was talking about and even knew it by name.  But then he made me panic when he said he hasn't seen it for awhile and I really had to remain calm.  It wasn't in the car or the garage like I thought it was but then realized several years ago I moved it to my studio so it wouldn't get tossed or lost. Whew, this made me take a few deep breaths. It's one of the first quilts I made when I started quilting but not until I first made each my two boys a bed quilt because that's what a quilter should make before anything else, right?
I didn't start quilting until my boys were respectively around 13 and 9 years old which I think I was pretty fortunate since they were somewhat self-sufficient and left me alone when I was quilting.  I should mention that the boys had Mario Brothers to play with also. My two boys, in fact, were pretty receptive to my quilting even when I exercised Quilter Mom Eminent Domain and took over the upstairs TV/Computer/Toy room which was next to their bedrooms and was renamed The Quilt Room.  It really was no problem since the basement was after all finished and the computer was moved to the never used formal dining room which was good for me to keep an eye on their computer use while I was in the kitchen.  I used to cook back then.

I still remember when both of my boys were in my quilt room, kneeling on the floor next to each other, watching me use the rotary cutter to cut off the legs of my oldest son's ripped khaki pants to turn them into shorts.  Mike, my youngest, with his mouthful of bubble gum turned to his brother, Tom and said "aren't you glad you have a mom who quilts."  Mike is the one who blurted out quite a few memorable lines when he was young; my favorite being, when when were going out to dinner at a local buffet restaurant and we're walking in the parking lot and he said, "I'm so hungry, I can eat TWO all you can eats." This same Mike also committed the worse quilting travesty by using my rotary cutter to trim a photo he was going to use on his Science Fair board when I was not home.  He did not quite grasp the knowledge that anything under the rotary cutter is going to get cut too and laid the photo on top of a just appliquéd lady bug block which happened to be laying on the board.  He never did that again; I made sure I never left my rotary cutter laying around after that.  And not to leave out my oldest son, Tom, out of my Quilt Mom memories of him is he was recanting to me a discussion he was having with his then wife, now an ex, about their bedding and her wanting a down comforter and he telling her his preference by saying "I grew up sleeping under handmade quilts" which just warmed my heart even though he was off by a decade.

Getting back to the Picnic Quilt which is in a sorry stage now, is made up of mostly Tom and Mike's old blue jeans and madras summer shorts which at that time they had outgrown with some batiks, plaids, denim and fun fabric from my stash.  The utility side of quilting appealed to me so I remember cutting the tumblers out individually and then hand piecing the tumblers together during numerous weekend road trips and watching TV.  The rows and the blue batik border were sewn by machine.  I guess this really isn't a quilt but a throw since I only backed it with denim and there is no batting in between, but for the sake of this memory, it is a quilt.  It was always meant to be a picnic quilt kept in the car in case we needed it to put over a picnic table or to lay on the ground and it was used for that reason many times.
Here are closeups of the fabric and patches and as you can see, some of the hand pieced patches has fallen apart and were mended with some real noticeable stitching and some of the patches from the boys' jeans included grass and mud stains--see the big green arrow on the right.  I still love the multi-color denim print with the purple and green which was from a pair of muscle pants, a popular style back then for boys and it's hard to believe the print is over twenty-years old and still looks cool.

My best and favorite memory of the Picnic Quilt is when I was making it and sitting in front of the sewing machine with the patches strewned all around, Mike was walking past the Quilt Room, popped his head in, gave a cursory glance at what I was doing, made a quick, subjective interpretation and then ran down the stairs.  Mike, being the Gallant to his brother, the Goofus who was probably laying down on the couch watching TV (if you've read Highlight Children Magazine while at the doctor or dentist office like forever as I have, you know what I'm talking about) was yelling, "Tom, Tom, you gotta pick up your clothes off your floor, Mom's cutting them up and making a quilt; she must be out of material!  I am hearing this and my mind was responding, I am?, no, I'm not, these are old clothes you've outgrown, is that what you think I'm doing and if that's what it takes to clean your room, then I am.  I had to chuckle about Mike thinking I was out of material.  Did you notice the usage of the word "material" which at that time is was it was called back 20+ years ago and soon after I started working at a Quilt Shop, I quickly adapted the more proper word to say and write "fabric".
There are times when I wish my boys were little again, probably when I feel the years creeping up over my mind and body and when I see Tom and Mike facing grown-up problems which we don't want our kids to have, but that's life.  If there's a quilt I want to hold on to for the memories of my boys when they were little, it would be the Picnic Quilt.  It will always hold a special place in my quilt memories and will remind me that I'm a Quilt Mom who has two boys who love quilts...and also someone who still has not yet ran out of material.

Linking up with:  MMM Quilts, Throwback Thursday

13 comments :

  1. What a sweet story! I used to cook also, then quilting came along. I like your quilt and it's use for a picnic blanket. I have a couple of tops made from the kids jeans that I haven't finished yet. I guess I need to get those quilted.

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  2. A super tale, one to print and keep, with some photos. Yes, "material" has now become " fabric" and maybe so many of us started out as a sewer, mender, repairer, inserter of patches, reading patterns and more, and now quilting has slowly or quickly taken place. My first "quilt" didn't have batting in either, and younger daughter used it so much, as an outside on the grass type.

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  3. Oh how I LOVE this story! You need to compile these into a book. You had my giggling, then SUCKING in my breath in an audible OHHH!! round eyed and mouthed at the ladybug appliquéd debacle, LAUGHING out loud at a great method to get kids to clean up their rooms (wish my Dayna had thought of that for her sister, but we aren't going there!) and then actual tears brimming at the last paragraph. So true. Beloved quilt. I have a denim one too.... let's see, last I saw it, it was wrapped around and taped firmly around the TV that still needs to be set up in my loft... Thank you for sharing this, and for linking up my friend! :-)

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  4. This is such a lovely post! -Jean💟

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  5. Here's to Quilt Moms! I love your recollections, especially the "pick up your clothes or mom's going to cut them up" one. :)I'm so glad this quilt was not lost as you feared at first. It holds dear memories.

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  6. I enjoyed reading your post, and love the denim teamed up with the plaids.

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  7. I hope you never run out of material Rose. It's a great post filled with many memories. Two of the first quilts I made were for my kids as well. I made my daughter's first and my son badgered me for the entire long time it took me to make his. He then badgered me to make a quilt for his girlfriend...she's now his wife so I guess it was worth it.

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  8. Loved this post! I laughed out loud at parts of it. Brought back some memories for me as well. Glad you kept your picnic quilt. :)

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  9. I didn't quilt when my kids were young, but was a sewer, mender, costume maker! Fun memories for you, thanks for sharing.

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  10. Wonderful story! I had forgotten about Gallant and Goofus but do remember them well. Boys are such funny creatures - sarcastic and sweet at the same time. Love your memories and so glad you still have fabric and they don’t have to worry about you stealing the shirt off their backs any longer.....

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  11. Oh, sweet, sweet story. I love that with all your years of sewing, your guys are quilt “sensitive.” Never ever throw that quilt out. The grass stains are precious. Eek about the rotary cutter incident. May your bins always be overflowing with material and your quilts be loved and used!

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  12. Such a lovely tale. Perhaps you can print this out and put it in your quilt folder alongside photos of this quilt.

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  13. Oh what lovely memories Rose, even the rotary cutter incident although it wouldn’t have been so funny at the time. It doesn’t matter how old faded and stained that quilt gets, you could never part with it.

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