A year and a half ago, a friend asked me to make a quilt from some of his discarded suits. I've made three wool quilts before for him, and I was not very enthusiastic about taking on another one. But I said "Yes" anyway.
The wools are great, and you can get a surprising amount of fabric from men's clothing, especially the trousers.
I started cutting immediately, while I pondered what kind of design to use that would be interesting to me, and acceptable to him.
Since he is a federal judge, and will probably put this quilt in his chambers, I decided on the "Courthouse Steps" pattern. I do not generally do traditional squares, but there are a few I have wanted to try.
Ever since I saw the latest Gees Bend show, with the architectural theme, I have been in love with the courthouse steps pattern. I had enough fabrics to have the light and dark contrast. But I just couldn't face a big study in black and gray!
My friend Emma, whose husband owns the contemporary design shop, Scorpio, has given me an array of wonderful Ultrasuede scraps, that had been discarded from various design projects that Scorpio had completed.
They are in so many delicious colors, and also a few designs, like leopard and other animal skins.
So I decided to make the centers of the squares from these Ultrasuede scraps. I was able to make it a sort of "charm" quilt, because no two centers are the same color.
Making the centers was the fun part. After that, I managed to drag this project out for months and months.
When it came time to decide what to use for a backing, Tom made that part easy for me. He took the quilt top to Hancock's of Paducah, and Mr. Hancock himself declared "This quilt needs a silk backing! "
So Tom chose a beautiful dusty rose Dupioni silk for the backing. It is a sturdy silk that looks and feels wonderful, and was much easier to work with than other silks I have used in the past.
Getting 2 mm. silk ribbon to tie the quilt with proved to be quite a challenge, now that Baer's has closed, but I finally did find enough to tie it with. Then I needed an appropriate binding, something that would go with both the wool and the silk. Black grosgrain ribbon is the perfect transition, and it made a very neat and attractive binding.
This afternoon I printed the label on a piece of leftover silk, and sewed it on. All I have to do now is deliver it, and then I can get on to some other things! I am very happy with the way it turned out, and I think it will be a good heirloom for his children in years to come.