Children are so observant. They see details that we adults pass right by.
Some of the first quilts I made were for grandsons. There are now three teenagers, but at the time of the quilt you see pictured at the end of this post, there were two toddlers. I saw an episode of Simply Quilts in which Judy Martin demonstrated the large block which dominates this quilt. I had bought some Tom Sawyer themed fabric and companion pieces, and I went to work.
I made the largest block, (24” square, I believe) using two different scenes from the toile print in the center. One was of the boys fishing, the other of them painting the fence. I made smaller blocks using the fabrics I had in the collection and coordinates from my stash. Now that I think about it, I was using my version of improvisational piecing from this beginning. I laid blocks on my design table (otherwise used for eating dinner; the design wall came much later in my quilting life), measured spaces, and inserted filler pieces or blocks.
Now I sometimes lay out such a design on grid paper, calculating dimensions using the squares, but in 2002, I wasn’t so deliberate. I gave the two quilts titles based on the toile, “Mimi’s Boys Fishing” and “Mimi’s Boys Working” and presented them as Christmas gifts.
Several years later, one of the grandsons attended a quilt show with me. I’m not affirming or denying if bribery was involved. I saw a quilt with familiar fabric, and exclaimed, “look, this quilt has fabric like yours.” I was quickly corrected, “Well, not exactly. This boy has pants on.”
“Yours aren’t wearing pants?”
“Not the ones going swimming.”
His mother was as surprised as I was. She hadn’t noticed either.
Back at their house, we all examined the quilt to see that, yes, indeed, the fabric I bought prior to 2002 had skinny-dippers. I don’t know the manufacturer’s storyline, but I’m guessing someone was offended, and subsequent yardage was more modest.
Yes, I have scraps of the risqué print, even a bit of yardage. Hmmm, I think there’s a story quilt idea.
Quilt details: Finished measurements: 36″ x 50″, batting was probably 80% cotton, 20% polyester, quilting was straight lines with walking foot.