A Tale of Two Duvet Covers

Back when I first started quilting, I was very intimidated by the process of quilting itself. Drop the feed dogs on my sewing machine? My sewing would be out of control. Nope, that wasn’t going to happen.

And quilting a bedsized quilt with a household machine? Those big quilts are heavy. Forget about it.
Duvet cover on clothesline
Besides, Jay and I had a very warm, puffy LL Bean quilt for our bed so I had no need to make a big quilt.

All was well until we brought two kittens home, Fred and Barney (yabba, dabba, doo!) They quickly discovered that racing and tumbling across that quilt was great fun, and before you could say “Get off of there, you two!” we had small tears in our quilt.

And the tears, of course, rapidly became a little bit bigger.

So I decided to make duvet covers for the LL Bean quilt. Now an explanation may be in order here for the un-quilted. If you think of a quilt as an Oreo cookie, the top is one chocolate cookie, the backing is the other chocolate cookie, and the layer of batting in the middle is the creamy filling. In a real quilt, once you sandwich these three layers, you stitch (quilt) them together so they function as a single unit.

This sewing can get pretty fancy, hence my feelings of intimidation when I was a newbie.

To make a duvet cover, on the other hand, you sew the top and back together around the outside edge like you’re making a great big bag. Then you slide something warmish, like our quilt-with-little-kitten-tears, inside. You don’t sew the three layers together. It’s like slipping a pillow into a pillowcase. Easy peasy.

So I made two duvet covers, one of which you can see here drying on our clothesline this morning. They served us well in winter. Each spring when the weather got warm, I’d take the quilt out of the duvet, wash everything, and pack them away until fall.

Which is why our duvets and quilt were not together when we got hit by Hurricane Irene and had to evacuate our house while we figured out if it was stable enough to live in. (It was and is.)

In the confusion of moving out and then back in, the duvets went in one direction and the quilty filling in another.

Once we got resettled, I found the duvets readily but the quilt was nowhere (logical) to be found. Every so often, I’d look again—closets, totes, blanket chest.

Nada, nothing, no quilt.

Irene was in 2011 and I finally gave up on finding the quilty filling this past winter. I asked my husband Jay (this man knows how to wield a seam ripper, let me tell you) to take the duvets apart. In fact, he completely dismantled one of the duvet backs, a bunch of large half-square triangles, so I could reuse them in something else.

Of course you know what happened next. Murphy’s Law intervened, and we found the quilt this summer in a tote under a workbench in the shed attached to our house. We haven’t a clue how it ended up there.

After thinking about it for a while, I’ve decided not to put the duvets together again. Instead, I’m going to make new backs for them then ship them off to a friendly long arm quilter to be made into “real” quilts.

I’m not sure what I’m going to do with the quilty filling but I’m thinking of dividing it up and making dog beds.

And if I ever get the opportunity to meet this Murphy character, we are going to have a very serious chat about messing around in people’s lives.