Finished Quilts

Saturday, 3 September 2016

Monarch of the Glen

It has been a long while since I posted anything but I feel that the story of the Monarch of the Glen needs to be told.

Just before Christmas last year, we received news that Laughing Boy's best friend had been diagnosed with myeloma and kidney failure.  My first thought was "I need to make him a quilt!"  Laughing boy was dubious about it but as I reminded him, this is all about me.   I chose the colour palette over the holidays, pulling all my stashed precious navy fabrics, you know - those fabrics that you have for years but can't bear the thought of cutting up as they are for stroking only.  I decided that this quilt needed some precious.  I also wanted to quilt to symbolise something rather than be an abstract design.  I see Julian as strong, noble and gentle so the idea of the monarch of the glen quilt was born.

I really wanted to do a Dan Rouse deer but couldn't work out how to draw the stencil so decided to do a mash up of Dan's reverse applique technique and Luke Hayne's deer.  At our January guild meeting, I was able to finalise the design, with the help and guidance of the ladies there.

navy 6" blocks and orange 3"blocks
 My first problem came when I put the template on the (yet to be sewn) quilt blocks.  It was just too small, especially as I wanted it in the corner.

a bit lost in the gloaming.....
I couldn't work out how to make the template bigger.  Of course in hindsight (and after seeing Lisa's fabulous version) I could have gone to a printers and copied it bigger but I was a quine on a mission and I remembered that I had this fab magazine.....
There was a paper template of the design on the front cover. Result!  So I traced it on some Swedish tracing paper then reworked it so it was a little bigger.  Then I pinned the orange patchwork to the back of the blue patchwork ......

And sewed round the outline....

I bought some really neat duckbill applique scissors and, following Dan's instructions, cut roughly 1/8" inside the sewn line to reveal.....

All of this was done in the space of a couple of weeks - that is warp speed for me.  But that's where things started to slow down (much to my shame).  It took me two months to make the sandwich and start quilting....

I decided to outline the deer three times then radiate lines outwards.  Reader, I am ashamed to say it took another three months before the quilting was finished.

I'm not sure why it took so long. Actually most of it was done quite quickly, I just sort of stopped with a quarter left to do.  I think that it was partly that I was worried that it wouldn't be good enough or J would wonder why on earth I made it.  It's always an issue I have - handing a finished item over and the worry that it won't be liked or appreciated or wanted.  I got a stern talking to from my MIL and Jane from the EMMQG gave me a gentle kicking and so finally cracked on and it took no time to finish in the end.

Then came the bits that always bring me joy...

squaring up....

I may have cut through the wee man's cricket numbers at this point
and the binding...

I was ridiculously happy with the mitred corners on this quilt
And whilst enjoying Andy Murray at Wimbledon, I even added a label - my first ever on a quilt...

And it was finally finished, over 6 months after it was started and after a load of horrible chemotherapy and stem cell treatments had been completed.

And it was finally gifted.  I wrote a letter to explain what the heck it was all about.  I received the most fabulous reply from J, saying that he had followed its progress on Facebook but had no idea it was for him.  The morale of this story for me is to get on and finish things.  It is with enormous regret that I didn't get this quilt finished sooner, that it sat neglected for so long, whilst I fretted over silly things.  Finished is better than perfection and certainly better than the gnawing worry of not finishing.  I am glad that the Monarch of the Glen was able to bring some comfort in the end.

Julian passed away a couple of days ago.  Cancer fucking sucks.


  1. Oh Moira! What a story. But you know with that quilt he knew what he meant to you, what you thought of him and that's priceless. Sometimes a quilt is just the right thing to say. Bless you, and yup, it sucks big time.

  2. It's a beautiful quilt Moira and although it's a massive cliche, it's the thought and love that went into it that counts.And yes it does suck.

  3. Finished is so much better than perfection and he obviously really appreciated it, thanks for sharing the story of this quilt, some do mean more than others, especially to the maker. Hold on to the good memories of him and look after yourself. xx

  4. What a moving story and fabulous quilt. Having nursed my terminally ill husband through cancer (and I couldn't agree more with your sentiment about that dreadful illness) every day and hour is lived to the minute so in fact I believe J would have appreciated it even more towards the end. Frankly the first part you are just in denial. Hopefully the quilt now gives comfort to his family and they will remember this kind heartfelt gift.

  5. Oh Moira, i'm so sorry. How are you and hubs holding up? The quilt is amazing and very special

  6. I'm so sorry to hear about your friend, Moira. It's such a great quilt. I think that's a lesson for all of us - yes, people do appreciate our little handmade items and when we should just get over ourselves and gift them. There is nothing better than to lie under a quilt when you're sick. Glad to see you back here.

  7. It really does - so sorry that you have lost your friend, these thing are just cr@p. I'm glad he liked it, it is a wonderful quilt. Hopefully more confidence in yourself next time xxx

  8. It's a stunning quilt and I'm glad Julian had it to comfort him. Take care xx

  9. It's a good lesson for us all, hun. I'm pleased he got his quilt and a mighty fine one it is too. Sadly cancer is everywhere. This summer has been plagued with it with three special people in my life too. I hope you are all okay and wishing you loads of love. XXXX