In Europe it's glorious Summer time while the Tour de France is being held. Here in Australia watching The Tour means cold winter nights, sometimes with a little bit of cognac to warm the cockles. And a perfect excuse for a warm snuggly quilt!
I started collecting themed fabrics and when I came across the blue and white bicycle prints I thought it would be fun to somehow incorporate French flags of bicycle fabric.
I couldn't find red bicycle fabric anywhere. At first I thought of dying some of the white fabric red... but from my experiences of dying fabric in the past I didn't think the red would come out evenly. I tossed around the idea of maybe getting it custom done at a fabric printers but that seemed a bit too extreme for a homey lap quilt. In the end I came up with a solution...
I used a waterproof pen and copied the bicycles onto red fabric. It's not perfect but it looks fine if you don't look closely.
The quilt has all the features of The Tour. I put the four different coloured jerseys in the corners, with a background of water because hydration is a huge part of riding at that level, I figured it could also be interpreted as sweat, but that doesn't sound as glamorous, For those of you that don't know, the jerseys are worn by that the leaders of different catergories. Yellow is the Tour Leader, White - Best Young Person, Green - Best Sprinter, and my favourite is the Polka Dot jersey for the best climber.
I had to put some cows in because the race takes us through scenic countryside sometimes dotted with cows. A rider once said that cyclists are reincarnated as cows so they can peacefully watch the race go by.
Here's the Polka Dot Jersey with some mountains. For me the mountain stages are the most exciting because it's where the real contenders come out to play. It's amazing watching these guys accelerating up hills that I wouldn't even push a bike up.
To represent the south of France I used seafood fabric and any quilt with a french theme has to have some nice wine and champagne.
I chanced upon 5 yards of Heather Ross's Munki Munki bicycle fabric at a wonderful bargain price. It's extra soft and cosy. The French stripey binding works well but then I'm a sucker for stripes.
I must admit I was a bit naughty and did something all the books say not to...
Well... you see, I sort of ran out of time and The Tour was starting and hand quilting does take such a long time.. so I just put the binding on... and continued hand quilting afterwards.. I did stitch in the ditch all the squares so that has kept it stabilised...
I haven't quite finished the quilting because 2009 Tour finished and I put it away thinking I'll continue during the 2010 Tour.
But... We've been such busy bees that we're not watching it this year, Just keeping up with highlights via the web.
I do have it out and draped over the bottom of our bed but the rest of the quilting may have to wait till next year.
Vive Le Tour!!!