• Christina Anderson

Harry Potter for Life

Hello again!

Recently, I finished one of my favorite quilts to date. It is Harry Potter themed, I call it Harry Potter and the Irish Chain. It gave me the idea to write a little about the role Harry Potter has played, and continues to play, in my life.

I am of the generation that grew up with the Harry Potter books. My mother, brother, and myself would take turns reading the books aloud together. My brother and I were so engrossed in these books that we would wake up extra early to read before school and would stay up late begging to read just one more chapter before bed. We would attend the midnight book releases and see each of the movies on opening night. For Christmas I would want Harry Potter themed shirts, puzzles, and legos. Harry Potter became something that we shared, something that we enjoyed together. I owe my bookishness today almost entirely to my mother and to Harry Potter. As I got older, and wanted my mother to make quilts for me, I would read the books aloud to her as she sewed as a sort of trade. If she was making me something, the deal was, I had to be apart of the process in some way. This happened so often that I have read each of the Harry Potter books more times than I can count, I practically have them memorized (I’m awesome at HP trivia).

Once I began to sew, we faced a dilemma: what would we listen to while we sewed? We tried different things with varying success: watching TV shows, movies, or music. The problem with TV is that you want to watch it, which means you aren’t watching your work. Music is OK for a while, but as neither my mother or I are audiophiles, that gets old fast. Then, finally, we found the solution. As I type this, I am listening to Stephen Fry read about Harry saving Dudley from Dementors in the alley off Magnolia Crescent. I finally managed to find the Stephen Fry audio books (the best version, in my opinion) in digital format. So, now Harry Potter can remain a part of our sewing tradition!

When Camelot released a line of Harry Potter fabric, I knew I had to make something out of it. However, the Irish chain quilt was not my first attempt at a Harry Potter project, in fact it happened by accident. While cutting fabric for another project I miss cut some fabric, not once, not twice, but THREE times! Obviously, a bad sewing day. Anyway, I saved the strips I had miscut and was determined to make something of them. I was not going to just waste the fabric. From that cutting disaster has come this quilt. I had been thinking of making an Irish chain quilt for some time and since I already had the strips, I decided now was the time. I have always liked the look of black and white quilts, but I also love a punch of color. So I added the red centers with the Gryffindor fabric (because I’m a Gryffindor, obviously!), to create a little movement. After the center was complete, I wanted to do something interesting with the borders that would include all of the houses. So I came up with the nine patch on point corners connected with the wands and spells in each house color. I love that this quilt is so customizable, if you’re a Ravenclaw just change out the centers for the Ravenclaw fabric, and you have an awesome quilt for the Ravenclaws in your life. When it came to the quilting, I wanted to do something special, so I had my brother draw me a lion and I turned it into a quilting pattern. To reinforce the diagonal line from the red centers, I used a red and yellow variegated thread next to those blocks and then switched to black for the rest of the quilt so that your eyes were drawn across the center. And now its finished!

This quilt has taught me a lesson, don’t beat yourself up about making a mistake, we all make mistakes. You never know what will become of those miscuts or rip outs, just because it’s not what you intended doesn’t mean it can’t become something awesome. And if you are a Potterhead, like myself, keep an eye out for this quilt at Sisters!

Until next time, just keep sewing.


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