The Tale of the Ugly Blanket and the Quarantine Quilt

The Tale of the Ugly Blanket and the Quarantine Quilt

Published by Amanda on 6th Apr 2020

I found the Ugly Blanket in a thrift shop in Sechelt, BC in 2007 (2008?). It was only a quilt top then, backed with an avocado/aqua/gold stripe twin sheet from the 70s (probably you know the one). I remember asking Emily, is this cool? I think it might be cool. She didn't disagree with me, so we brought it home.

It's pieced with small squares of print fabric - a wild selection of geometrics and florals. The greens come through the strongest, which is why it drew my eye. It's the psychedelic garden of my dreams.

Did I forget to mention? Every single square is 70s stretch polyester. You know - the super slippery stuff.

Also, it was badly sewn and totally shredded in some places. Nevertheless, Emily dutifully stitched it onto a camel-coloured poly fleece (gasp!) blanket and did some light top-stitching to keep the layers in order. And then it became the most coveted couch blanket in the house.

That sucker is WARM. It has just the right amount of weight to settle nicely around your toes and knees and keep out all the drafts while you watch TV or read your book. It's bed-sized, so two family members can share it even if they aren't feeling friendly.

It's been with us so long, I thought I would put together a collage of family photos with the beloved Ugly Blanket in the background to show you. But there is little evidence of it...

.. because any time we're taking photos, I insist on removing it :P

For a few years, it co-ordinated beautifully with our Summerside, PE living room, and its (synthetic) ugliness was mostly camouflaged. The cats were very happy.

2014. Old Cat really knew his angles. Here he's teaching Cheddah Kitten everything he knows about posing.

When we updated the rug and curtains, the Ugly Blanket only sort-of suited the room. Then we took the redecorating a step further by sticking fabric to the walls, and suddenly, its presence made my eye twitch.

New wall covering. The Ugly Blanket is once again banished.

Meanwhile, we had been squirrelling away scraps of leftover cotton and linen with the vague notion that we would make a quilt one day. Neither of us quilt, really, but it seemed wrong to waste them. And we would find the time to do that sort of all-consuming project one day, probably...

.. like during a pandemic, when everyone is under order to JUST. STAY. HOME.

So, last week we made a couch quilt - something to replace the Ugly Blanket. I pulled out the bin of scraps and did the cutting, cuz that's my jam.

I forgot how spoiled I am, always cutting knit fabric that doesn't fray and leave little bits of thread everywhere. Quilting is MESSY. And it takes up every working surface available. There was no Ureshii sewing done while the quilt was in process, that's for sure. 

Once we came up with a colour story and layout, Emily knocked out all the piecing and binding super quick, cuz she's a superstar. We chose a lovely piece of lightweight wool suiting for the backing (a score from our favourite church-sponsored fabric destash sale). Only the thread and cotton batting were new, which makes my thrifty heart glow.

(As for the actual quilting, we discovered the new machine is very well-suited to the task. There will definitely be quilted coats in the Ureshii future.)

Ta-da! It co-ordinates with both the wall covering and the rug, which is some sort of small miracle. It's graphically bold and pleasantly patchy and just mellow enough in shade that it's likely to suit any future room we devise *knocks on wood*. Most importantly, it's NOT POLYESTER.

Our offspring and our kittens argue over who gets to snuggle with it, so you know it's a good one. And (for now) the Ugly Blanket can quietly retire to the linen closet. Thank goodness.