Meet Fergus our 12 week old Newfoundland puppy (Newfie). At 12 weeks he is 38 lbs, so it is easy to understand why he is considered a giant breed. To keep both Fergus and the rest of the household calm, he needs a large crate for sleeping. You may be itching to ask a few questions: How big will he get? How big is that crate? What does this have to do with quilting?
Male Newfie’s are typically 130-150 lbs when full grown. Some can get bigger, some stay smaller. Being planners by nature, we played it safe and assumed he would reach the higher end of the scale – most of our dogs do. This was a safe bet as Fergus’s dad Manny was right in the middle at 140 lbs.
That leads to the answer of the next question. How big is his crate? It had to be big enough for him to sit up without hitting his head when he is full grown. When my husband ordered the crate and said you could fit a small family in it, I thought he was joking. He was not joking. It stands 48 inches high and is 56 inches deep and 38 inches wide. If you are like me, you may need a visual to get perspective. That is coming….
Ok – that is all nice, but what does that have to do with quilting? To keep him and us calm, the crate needed a fabric cover to make it feel like a den. It also helped block the light so he would sleep better. This is where the quilting comes in. Rather than put a blanket over it, I decided to quilt a cover for it. I could tailor it to look nice and fit snuggly. This would prevent him from grabbing the loose edges and chewing on them. Plus the sheer size would give me hours of practice on my feathers!
I took 5 yards of 108″ backing that I had bought several years ago and had not found the right quilt for it yet. I prewashed it, cut it in half length-wise and sandwiched it with two twin-sized battings placed end to end. Then, I spent two days practicing my feathers on a 54 inch by 180 inch quilt. Once the quilting was done, I cut off a length to serve as the top. The rest wrapped around the crate and was pinned to make a tailored box. I sewed a binding around the exposed edges. Then I attached the top to the tailored sides. Voila – a giant crate cover.
The takeaway from the experience – be creative when you need to practice your quilting. You can make something useful and pretty, without the trouble of piecing!