Sunday, October 23, 2016

Camo Rag Quilt # 5 (Military Memory Quilt)

My last test quilt for timing purposes. This one I made for a friend of mine who I have known for almost 20 years. This was my most difficult quilt emotionally. All of the other quilts I have made so far have been for people I have not known as long and knew them after they had retired from active military service.

 This friend I have known before, during, and after military service. As I started to deconstruct the uniforms I got a little teary realizing where the uniforms had been, why he had worn them, and what sacrifices he and  his family had made while he was deployed overseas. (See what made me smile during this project on the last picture of this post.)
 He brought me two different types of uniforms. The digital camo I had worked with before but the tan camo I had not. It was the most difficult fabric I have ever worked with!!! Extremely difficult to cut, I will be making a trip to see the scissor sharpener in the very near future. Later, I would learn that those uniforms were made from a fire retardant material...well that explained a lot!!!
 I originally cut the uniforms into squares and tried different design ideas. Two fabrics in the same shape proved to be a design dilemma for me. I had an epiphany late one night and cut all the tan camo squares in half to form rectangles. Viola!! I loved the new look (which later inspired another quilt!).
 I found an amazing new fleece sold at Joann's,  Lux. It is the softest, thickest, most luxurious fleece I have ever sewn with. (Ha! Hence the name I guess) I backed the quilt with his choice of color and made the bed roll straps like I had from previous quilts. I initially had a hard time convincing him this would be something he would enjoy having. But the more pics I sent of the design phase the more he got excited. The night I delivered it to him he was sooo excited!!! He couldn't wait for the temperatures to get cooler so he could use it!!!

So now for the part of this quilt that made me smile. Every quilt I have made out of military uniforms I have found surprises in the pockets. Medication, money (bo-nus!), badges, wasps nests (ok that was on the back of the shirt, but still a surprise!). This quilt was no different. As I opened up the pants I noticed a patch on the inside of the pants around the back pocket seam. As I looked closer I noticed that the stitching around the hole was in the shape of a heart! I smiled as the mental picture of him patching his pants while sitting in a dusty, remote area of a foreign country came to my mind. I could just see his huge hands trying to use the needle to patch the pants so that they would last longer. He didn't even realize the patch was in the shape of a heart until I sent him a text with a picture of the patch and mentioned it to him. (This made him smile) I carefully cut around the patch to preserve it and later took some leftover fabric, mounted and framed it. This is my favorite memento so far of all the quilts I have ever made!

This quilt was around 30-40 hours. I did not brush the seams on this quilt but feel that it still turned out nicely and will get a more frayed look as it is washed and dried.

Now on to my next project, can't wait to share it with you!

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