Quilts I Own: The Red Quilt

So I’ve been thinking about how I haven’t really had a lot to post lately (I say that, but have three in progress posts, all very overdue, which I could expand out to six, but won’t…) and that got me thinking about how I should do a series of posts about the quilts I own. Not the ones I’ve made, though I’ve got a couple of those, but just the quilts that are in my possession, all of which were either given to me or which I liberated from my Mom’s house. The quilt I’m going to talk about today was kind of given to me, but kind of bought by me. Bought for a song, really, hence the kind of given to me part of it…

Back in I think 2010, my mom’s family had a family reunion – it was held out at my Aunt Helen’s house in the Fraser Valley in BC and relatives from the US (California, Alaska, Montana… no wait, North Dakota… the one with Mount Rushmore, maybe that’s South Dakota?) and all over western Canada came out for the weekend. In order to pay for the food and a bit of the water/electricity bill and all of that, the family donated items for a silent auction. My Aunt Helen took me upstairs to one of her closets and pulled out a pile of unquilted quilt tops and asked me to help her decide which one to put into the silent auction. My aunt at one point quilted A LOT (she’s more into making glass beads now), but she (like me) had a lot of finished tops and not so many finished quilts, so from the few she pulled out of the closet, I picked the red Double Irish Chain. I LOVE a red quilt, so hells yeah.

Quilting Detail - Red Irish Chain

I was ever-so-slightly afraid that my family members would bid like… $5 and a two-four of beer for this double or queen-sized entirely hand-stitched quilt, so I made sure to put down the first bid, and I bid $50. I thought for sure someone would bid above that, but I wanted it to at least start with a number less insulting than I thought some of my family members might give it. Nobody outbid me. (I mean, c’mon! It’s hand-stitched! It’s made of fabric, which is not free or even cheap! It came attached with a promise to get it quilted and usable! This was worth so much more than $50!)

It took a couple years, but when my aunt was coming through Calgary in 2012, she brought me the hand-stitched, hand-quilted quilt:

Red Irish Chain

Love! Did you see that quilting detail? The entire thing is hand-quilted in a one-inch diagonal grid! Crazycakes. When I got it, it was covered in cat’s hair, which I have some allergy issues with so I was going to wash it, but then I discovered some cat’s claw marks in it too:

The Dangers of Cat Claws!

Two edges of the quilt had several claw gouges in it, right along the edge of the binding, and I was afraid to wash it, just in case those clawed areas ran or frayed a lot. So instead I folded it up and put it away in the closet for two years, until this week when I decided to just suck it up, chuck it in the wash on gentle and see what would happen. SUCH a bad idea.

Forget the claw marks, which did fray a little, and which I think I should just whip-stitch together and then patch a bit of red blender fabric over top of. Forget that entirely, instead, think about what happens with cheap, non-quilt shop quality red fabric:

Cheap Fabric!
Cheap Fabric!
Cheap fabric!
Cheap Fabric!

The staining is almost all of it from just one fabric in the mix – that one with circle dots and stripes on it. Everywhere that fabric is up against a white patch, it has bled. (Sometimes it even blend from folded over areas in the wash-machine and the white patches it was touching were also bled all over.) It’s so frustrating and so disappointing because this is such a lovely quilt and I was really looking forward to having it in rotation with some of my other bed quilts. But to be honest, I could be a lot more upset about than I am, I’m going to try washing it with Oxy-Clean and see if it helps, but if it doesn’t… I’m still just going to use it. It’s a nice quilt, even if it does look like it went a dozen rounds with a sippy cup of juice.