I grew up on these kind of quilts and it's truly the only kind I know how to do with any sort of efficiency. I thought that's how it was done growing up...the quilt stands and the sound of thread being pushed and pulled through layers of fabric and batting. I would crawl underneath the quilts and grab the needles sometimes pushing them back up to the top when my grandparents couldn't reach to the middle. Some of my earliest memories are of helping tie quilts.
I still have a quilt that was made for me when I was little and my children have tied quilts I made for them when I was pregnant. So, this winter I decided it was time for them to learn how to tie a quilt. I found a flannel sheet set on sale at Target - fell in love with it's bright, bold colors and set to work. Luckily, my sister-in-law has a set of quilt stands and clamps that her mother gave her so I borrowed them. It took up the entire free space in our downstairs basement living room to set it up. After some fudging with the pillow cases to fill in the space on the fitted sheet (after removing the elastic) it was ready to be used as the backing. The Big Easy and I tacked the pieces and batting to the frame. He had never done such a thing either so it was also a learning experience for him. One of the hardest decisions was where to place the ties - the fabric had an all-over pattern so we just needed to choose which 'snowflake' to use. We settled on a red one that was easy for everyone to spot and seemed to be closest to the starting edges. I showed my two oldest (9 and 7) how to start tying and once they got the hang of it - I showed them how to chain the ties together. They were quick to pick it up! Many memories came flooding back as my youngest (2 1/2) was crawling underneath the quilt and grabbing at the yarn and shaking the frames.
It didn't take us long - the 4 of us tying at the same time. There were times of frustration when the yarn got knotted, the needles came unthreaded, the yarn wouldn't pull through the fabric or spots were missed. But overall I think everyone actually enjoyed themselves and we were working together on something and making it with our hands! We 'popped the tacks' off the edges and the quilt was tied. Lots of 'ooohs' and 'aaaahs' as we saw our pattern come to life. Later that day we headed to the fabric store together to choose the binding (yes, I know... can you imagine me at the fabric store with 3 kids and the hubster!??). Originally, I was thinking a flannel would go nicely but everyone fell in love with the feel of the minky fabrics. We picked a green that looked like it would go well. Over the next couple of days I cut the binding and sewed it on. The fabric was nice and stretchy and so, so soft!
I put the quilt upstairs for its true test....would it get some use? Since that day I can gratefully report that it is always unfolded and laid out on the couch! (I fold it back up every night before bed) Used mostly by me and often by the kids. It is warm, large enough for me and all the kids when watching a movie on the couch and a nice pillow when folded up! The best part...we all had a hand in it! I love seeing the random little knots on the back side and the few ties cut just a tad too short. The other day my son said, "Mom, aren't you glad we made this quilt?" I said, "Yes, why do you say that?" His response? "No reason...I'm just glad we did, too!" Ahhhh.....the quilt making baton has been passed.