Monday, December 5, 2022

From Class Experiment UFO to Bed Quilt for Someone Who Really Needs It

A new UFO finish! Twelve years in the making! It flew to Kentucky last week to someone who lost their possessions in last summer's devastating floods. 

A couple of weeks ago, I read on Facebook that the Breathitt Museum in Jackson, Kentucky is distributing handmade bed quilts to flood victims. 

They've given many quilts to children, but now they need twin- or full-size quilts for teens and seniors. Their Facebook page has moving pictures of people beaming with their new quilts.

A search of my UFO cabinet didn't turn up anything large that was close to finished - but I did find this 25" x 40" rectangle.

It's been awaiting its destiny since 2010. That's when I took an online class taught by Kenyan quilter Dena Dale Crain, called "Structured Fabrics." (Dena's webpage is  

I started with a large-scale print featuring vintage fashionable women. I bought it in the 90s because it reminded me of my Mom, plus it was a so campy; but I never did anything with it. It seemed perfect to experiment with.  

It's a border stripe, so there were also lines of automobiles, poodles and fashion accessories. 

Crain had us cut our main print into strips, then weave the pieces back together atop a layer of fusible interfacing. From there, we did more slicing, rearranging, and inserting, plus zigzagging things on top, including lines of bias, cord, and/or ribbon. Here's a closer look at one of the "structured" areas. 

I added at least four more fabrics - a brown Indonesian print, in an attempt to cut the sweetness; an abstract hot pink fabric with multicolored lightening bolts (to amp the sweetness again); a flamingo fabric; and a solid teal. 

I had no idea what to do with the results. So this unusual rectangle, a couple more structured areas, and the remaining uncut fabric, went into my UFO cabinet for a lengthy stay.

When I pulled it out a couple of weeks ago, and considered using it in a bed quilt, my concern was that there were raw edges would not stand up to heavy use and laundering.

So I laid purple tulle on top of each constructed panel, and stitched it in place closely - every 3/4" or so, vertically and horizontally, with invisible monofilament thread and a multistep zigzag, to trap and freeze as much as possible. I added even more lines of stitching when it came time to quilt it. 

Below is another constructed section completely covered with tulle and close stitching and quilting Even looking at it closeup, the tulle is hard to see - you have to know it's there.  

I surrounded the structured areas with gorgeous (and sturdy) new Asian-themed floral fabrics that my friend/fabric scout Marian recently shared with me. None of the surrounding area required tulle. 

Along the top and bottom, I added patchwork panels of squares leftover from a different quilt. 

 On the back, to make the quilt extra cozy, I used colorful flannels....
Including one of the funniest statement fabrics I've ever met: 
(The text reads "Dream Date," or "Nick and Nora," the brand name, but to me the statement is: Love whoever!)
I finished it in record time, machine washed and dried it, and shipped it off to Kentucky. And then the museum posted a picture of a happy looking teen showing off the back! It made me so happy! (I hope she likes the front, too. I didn't make the wonderful quilt on the right, held by a senior.) 
If you'd like to donate a quilt to this very good cause, find the information here. They are still in need of quilts for teens and seniors.


  1. I recently gave away a baby quilt, and both times I've seen it used, it was upside down. If that girl doesn't like the front, then she's crazy.

    1. Thanks for your thoughts on this! As long as either side makes her happy, I'm happy! The front is definitely not everyone's taste, and that flannel on the back with the ladies and their absent lovers is extremely funny. Maybe you have to know the story of the quilt's front to like it.

  2. Hi Cathy, I am sending a bigger quilt, double bed-ish, and thank you for your generousity and inspiration. Hugs,

    1. Thank you for your generous donation to this good cause, Jane!!!


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