I happen to work across the street from a very good thrift store. Since I am a local government employee on a fixed income, and one who is also granted two 15-minute breaks a day, I visit this thrift store often. Although it can be very tempting to escape with deals every day, I do try to keep my purchasing to a minimum. However, there are some deals that are just too priceless to ignore.
Since I frequent this store so often, I have found that I often peruse it in a certain order. One of my first stops is always the craft/fabric section. There is always fabric and some remnant yarn. One (very!) lucky day I found a plastic baggy for 25 cents that contained 25 nine patch quilt blocks. Since 25 cents gets one next to nothing these days, let alone 25 perfect quilt blocks, I could not believe my luck. I purchased my score and stashed it for some future undetermined project; I simply could not pass up the opportunity to have 25 perfect nine patches for the cost of less than an apple. Some time later I was again wiling away my government granted break in the fabric section and I came across a yard of fabric printed with old fashioned postage/passport stamps in French. I knew this would be perfect for my Francophile sister whom desperately deserved a homemade quilt. Once home in my quilt room, I pulled out the 25 pack and wondered, would it be possible to make a usable quilt top for $1.25? The answer to this question became my new mission.
I searched through some of my quilting books for a pattern but after finding nothing exciting, I decided to create something of my own. I wanted to make a one-of-a-kind scrappy quilt using only what I had available in my stash. I started the blocks by bulking up the size of the nine patches adding on strips to all four sides. These strips were all free to me as I am a former member of a strip club, and as a new member I received delinquent members monthly allotments. After my first meeting, I walked out of the shop with 3 grocery bags full of quilt strips that all these years later I am still whittling away. Once I bulked up the blocks with a completely random selection of strips, I then made use of the vintage stamp fabric to make up the rest of the quilt. Good job, me! I made a quilt top for a $1.25 and it turned out pretty cute.
In keeping with the frugal quilt challenge, I was able to get a couple of yards of fabric for $2 to complete the backing. The most expensive part of the quilt was the batting which I paid full price for at my local quilt shop. (I love this shop so I have no qualms about making full priced purchases here.) I did all of the quilting myself on the mighty Bernina. I quilted a sort of hourglass shape over all of the nine patches and then followed it up with a lot of free form swirls around the remainder of the quilt. I loved the challenges of this project: creating a pattern, using what was available and quilting it by myself. It was a big surprise for my sister on her birthday and I know that it will get a lot of love and use.
Now that it is definitively fall here in Colorado (we had snow last night at our house), this blanket is in a good home. Right at this moment, I imagine it is being draped over resting legs, with my dog nephew lounging nearby and a movie on the TV. All I ever want for my gifts is for them to get good use and make another being warm and cozy. And the person who originally made all of those perfect nine patches wanted the same; I happened to be the person to put their work to a good use. So thank you random thrift shop donor for the perfect blocks that will now keep another Colorado being warm and cozy.