Monday, October 22, 2012

A Piece of the Past

As much as I love doing machine quilting for myself and others, I am finding that I also love meeting people and hearing their stories behind their quilt tops.

The quilt I am going to share in this post is from my friend, Jennifer. She found this quilt top (among others) in her late mother's things. The top had been hand-pieced from small blocks cut from handkerchiefs, many of them silk. There was a note attached that indicated that the handkerchiefs had all belonged to members of one family. The top was small (only 39 inches X 56 inches). Jennifer came to me to see what could be done with the top so that it could be enjoyed by her and others in the family.

Initially, I was terrified at thought of machine quilting on such a delicate hand-pieced top. However, after talking with some of my quilter friends, I came to the realization that my fears of "devaluing" the quilt top by machine quilting were trumped by the need to help write the "next chapter" in this quilt's story. This quilt needed to be finished so that it could be enjoyed and cherished by Jennifer and her family.

So, I lined the quilt top with white fabric to give the voile and silk fabrics greater stability. I chose a mint green backing and binding for the quilt. My quilting design was a medium density leaf/vine design because I did not want the quilting to compete with the wonderful variety of handkerchief fabrics.I hope Jennifer loves it as much as I do!

 As I worked on this project, it occurred to me that my quilting is so much like the creative writing activity that I used years ago in my classroom. I would have a student write a paragraph of a story and then pass it to the next student in the row to write the next part and so on down the line. It was always so much fun to see where the stories would lead with so many "authors" involved. And so it is with quilts...I just stitch "one chapter" in the story. Thank you, Jennifer, for allowing me to be one of the "authors" in this quilt's story!

Time to Catch Up!!

Wow! I just realized that over two months have passed since I last posted to my blog. It's not that I didn't have anything to post, I guess I just got lost in all the things I have been working on. Also, the beginning of the school year is a really busy time for me with my Instructional Technology Consulting work. So, here's what I have been doing....

First I want to share this wonderful quilt from my friend Margaret. This "sew inspired" spool design quilt has wonderful colors. The narrow strips that make up the thread on each spool have such deep, rich tones that I can just imagine the spools of thread on an old wooden shelf in the mercantile stores of years past.

As quilters, most of us want our spools of thread sitting in nice, neat, even rows. But it's when that one spool falls off the rack and begins unwinding that we find some of our most wonderful creations. And so it is, with the last spool (bottom row on the right) on Margaret's qult...the unwinding thread leads to a beautiful vine of leaves and floral elements.

In the empty blocks between the spools, I quilted an "echo" of the spool design. I just love the way it turned out!

Thanks, Margaret, for letting me be a "thread" in this wonderful creation!


Over the last few weeks, I have also quilted some tops created by my mother, Wanda. I guess I was in such a hurry to get them to her, I failed to take photos of both of them. But, I did manage to get pictures of this adorable hand-appliqued teapot quilt. The colors were so bright and energetic that I was easily inspired as to the machine quilting designs.

I was really pleased with the effect of the wavy quilting lines in the "picture frame" sashing around each of the teapot blocks.

This was such a fun quilt to work on, and as always, my mom's hand applique is impeccable! Thanks for letting me be a part of the work you do!!