Right now I have a ton of quilts in progress, probably too many. But there are some projects that need to be at the top of the pile. A quilt for my bed is one of those. My current bed quilt is now so worn that the top is disintegrating off. The batting underneath is coming out and the whole thing is looking really sad.
My bed gets used everyday, obviously, by my husband and me, but also gets frequent visits from our kids. I like that they curl up on my bed to read, or if they want to talk to me when I'm in my room. Sometimes I hear them jumping on my bed when I'm downstairs. So, the quilt that lives on that bed needs to be pretty sturdy. It is not the place for an heirloom. However, I would love to have something there that makes me feel good as we live with it, and on it, for the next several years.
After some deliberation, I chose to make a string quilt for my bed. I've never made one before, but it's something I've wanted to try and seems like a great quilt as you go project. So, not an heirloom, pretty sturdy and utilitarian, but also with the potential to be beautiful.
I've seen a ton of versions of string quilts, but my favorite was one I think I saw on a MQG site. I wish I remembered where exactly, but the maker had used old jeans to create and entirely blue string quilt. It was spectacular. I loved it.
About a year ago I ordered a bunch of blues and some white fabric (for the center string) and cut tons of strings. I started sewing it all together, but the lack of variety in the project and the fact that I needed so many blocks nearly bored me to tears. So it has taken me some time to get it done, mostly at night.
I finally did finish all 64 blocks, but I still had to attach the backing. I know there is a way to do this while making the blocks. It might have been the sturdier option, it would certainly have been more efficient, but I don't like the look of the extra sashing. Anyway, after putting the whole thing together I still needed to think about how I was going to attach the backing. I originally thought I would machine quilt it together, but the blocks are 11 1/2 inches wide, so it would need more reinforcing than just in the seams and that might mess up the look of the quilt. I also considered tying it, but that didn't seem sturdy enough or comfortable for people who plop down on top of it for a bedtime story...
I finally chose to use a very simple hand stitch. Again, it was something I saw online, I think from Jen Kingwell. I think she said they reminded her of a sashiko stitch. It looks more like kantha to me; sashiko is so precise and controlled. But I really like it for this project. It also has the benefit of giving the quilt a softer finish. The big downside is time. It will take me many more hours to finish, so I'll have to wait another few months before getting this guy on the bed.