Sunday, August 22, 2010

In Memory of Julie

I don't even remember when I started this quilt.  I think I was still living in Atlanta (early 1990's) and it was a "Sew-In" with pre-cut strips.  I had never made a Log Cabin quilt and this was a way to get started. 

This became one of those sits on the shelf quilts, no doubt the colors were posing a problem for me to work on the quilt. These really weren't my colors but my sister would probably like the sort of earthy tone.  I would work on it for a while until another more interesting project would come along.  I was working on the last blocks of the quilt in 2001 with the intention of giving the quilt to my sister.

You see, Julie was a troubled soul with significant emotional issues and was always wound-up about other peoples' problems.  At the time she was living in New Orleans and read tarot cards for the tourist on Jackson Square.  Personal possessions and a grasp on reality were often hard for her to hold on to.  Alcohol was her preferred escape.  Then 9/11 happened and Julie was lost at the bottom in a despair that was more than her liver could handle.

By mid October she was dead and the finished quilt top went to the back of the shelf where it sat until 2005.

By 2005 I had started machine quilting my own quilts and was looking for finished tops to work on and there it was.  Enough time had passed that I could spend time with the quilt.  I realized that what I should do is complete the quilt and donate it to a woman's shelter in the hope that Julie's story would help someone else.  I had the quilt bound and ready in late 2005 but somehow never got it donated.

Last week my sons were in town for the wedding of Steve's nephew.  During their visit Brian was using this quilt as a "TV quilt".  I hadn't seen it in a couple of years.  The following day, Brian and I were out driving around the city and stopped by the family cemetery which brought Julie back to mind.

It is time to close this chapter. Document the story and donate the quilt - which I will do tomorrow.  Thank you for reading about Julie.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Emma's Graduation Quilt 2010

A couple of years ago I saw this really interesting quilt at the Lake Beauty retreat.  The basic concept was a cross between the kaleidoscope pattern and a Stack and Whack but using a 4 patch repeat.  The 4-Patch Posy pattern is fun to make and fascinating to watch happen.  I knew before I started that it does best with fabric that has a good size repeat with multiple design points to create interest.  I have made a couple of these and really enjoy the variation of each block.

I found this floral fabric that I thought had nice movement and good color balance so I went hunting for the fabric to act as the block frame, sashing and cornerstones. 

 This is a little out of focus but it lets you see the basic design
I actually made the quilt top 2 years and set it aside waiting for the right person to finish the quilt for.  It is great when you have a quilt top on the shelf waiting for it's people to come claim it.   I felt this quilt top looks like a Italian hand painted tile wall.

I finished the quilt with Warm & Natural batt and machine quilted it on the Handi Quilter mid-arm.  There is so much texture in the fabric and pattern that an all-over design was appropriate for the quilting. 

Sample Block 1
Sample Block 2

Sample Block 3

This June Brian's girlfriend, Emma Erickson, graduated from college with a BS from Evergreen in Olympia, WA. I thought that she would enjoy the colors and flowing motion that makes this a really light and airy quilt in some of the gray rainy days of winter in Olympia.

Congratulations Emma! 

Jacobean Floral meets Lone Star and Beyond

Over the years I have learned that when a quilt lands on the back of the table for a prolonged period of time, there is a reason.  Something about the quilt just isn't fitting right, maybe it is one of the fabrics or a block just doesn't come together or maybe the direction is all wrong.  When I find one of those pesky quilts just waiting to be finished, I now put it up on the wall so I can study it.  Once I figure out what bothers me about the quilt I can make a decision on how to fix it.

Sometimes my solution is to finish the quilt and give it away as fast as possible so I don't have to see it anymore.  Other times I write notes on what I can do to fix the issues and put the whole thing in a box for future assembly - maybe more than I want to take on right now.  Generally though, if I have figured out what needs to be changed I will de-construct the quilt to the point where I can make my changes and then complete the quilt.

I still have to wash and block this hanging but it is looking pretty good.
This photo is from below eye level which is causing distortion

This Lone Star and Beyond quilt hanging is one of those quilts.  I took the class from Jan Krentz in 2003 at the Minnesota Quilt Show in St Paul.  It was a great class and a fabulous technique for doing a Lone Star.  I actually had the whole quilt pieced before the end of the year and loved the way the colors played out.  I had bought all of the batiks at Glad Creations and really expected it to be a much brighter quilt since each of the fabrics was bright - at least for a batik.  I planned to put the star on black setting squares to make it really pop but realized that the batiks have a gray undertone and just "died" on the black.  Fortunately Fossil Ferns were big that year and one of the vendors at the show had the perfect moss green for the setting square.

I knew that I wanted to applique a design into the 8 setting squares and working off the fabrics in the star, I thought a large grape cluster in each square would complement the quilt.  I found a number of different patterns and merged them into a design I thought would work.  Using the same purples, blues and red-pinks from the star I was building the quilt one square at a time.  When I had 2 of the squares completed the quilt moved to the back of the table under untold other fabric.  Off and on over the years I tried to complete the quilt but never got the third square done much less the other 5 squares.

I have thought about the quilt over the years.  Every year it would make it on the list of quilts I really should finish but no progress until February of this year.  I realized that the problem I was having with the quilt was the grape cluster design.  I starting thinking about different designs I have used and seen in books and magazines when I ran across my copy of Pat Campbell's Jacobean Romantica.  This whimsical design of flowing flowers was exactly what I wanted.  I quickly, but very carefully, removed all of the applique I had already completed.  Because the quilt had not been completed the original fabrics were still together in a project box so I was off to the races.

The quilt was started in 2003 and languished until 2010 looking for a purpose.  Once I found my answer for the applique it took me just 6 months to complete the applique and only 2 days to machine quilt the wall hanging.  It now hangs in my front entry and I love it.