Vintage Train Quilt

It would seem that trains are a big deal to most little boys, especially with the popularization of Thomas the Train and Dinosaur Train.  The boys in my house have a particular first hand attachment to the big rumbling steel cars parading by as an exertion of the power of the modern age. The Alaska Railroad and all it’s rumbling glory has its tracks positioned a little over 200 ft away from our back yard’s steep embankment.   Every summer, the train comes back to life, carrying millions of tons of gravel, and the boys run over each other to greet the barreling blue and gold engine anywhere from 2-4 times a day.  They run, wildly waving, and the engineers have come to know the cute little boys standing at the top of the hill, and give a train worthy blaring whistle to the exuberant boys.

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A couple years ago I found a few yards of this vintage train quilt block looking fabric for $15 at a thrift store.  I fell instantly in love, particularly because it had The Little Engine that Could on it, a book my mom had read to us as children, and I must confess, my children know that book better than Thomas the Train.  It’s a classic, and I love it.  How many times have I encouraged myself or others with the words, “I think I can, I think I can, I think I can, I think I can…”

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I also thought this might be a type of quilt I could finish.  It would be a cheat quilt.  If you’ve followed me for a while, you’ve heard me say, I don’t do quilts.  I find them astoundingly beautiful, and the detailed craftsmanship blows me away, but the tedious same 2D stitches over and over drive me crazy.  I would honestly rather pay someone to make a quilt while I make other things.

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I found the backing fabric in the clearance section at a local quilt shop. It was still more than I thought it should be, but I do like how it complimented the vintage train theme.

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The only piecing I had to do on the main quilt was cutting some of the blocks length wise, in order to make it the right width.  But with what I had, I still did not have enough to make the proper twin length, so I had to improvise and actually do some piecing for the top and bottom border.  I definitely played on the train theme.  I did the railroad crossing X, the engineer stripes, and tried to mimic the tracks as best as I could with the tiny bit of extra backing fabric I had along with some black.  My test was the little boy for whom I made it, and he identified everything just as I tried to make it!

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I did very simple quilting.  I didn’t want to tie it, but I didn’t want to pay someone to do it either.  So I decided to do the Xs across each square and then the railroad crossing bar sign that has \\\\\\\\\\\ across the top and bottom borders.

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For those of you who do quilts.  I admire you all the more.  Even the piecing of the top and bottom borders were sooooo tedious to me, I couldn’t wait to get on to another project.  But the joy was in the fact that this was for my sweet little boy.  I finished it one night after he was already asleep, and I slipped into his room and gently covered him, and kissed him.  In the morning, the elated enumeration as he bounded up the stairs telling me about the train blanket was worth it all!

I wish I could photograph it the on a bed so you can see the entirety of the quilt, but there are three little boys crammed into a smallish dark room, and the photographic pleasure is left wanting, so instead I went outside, to draw on the last colors of fall (yes, this post has been in line in my queue for a while).

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Thank you for stopping by!