This quilt was my first. It's called Delectable Mountains, and is queen-sized. It was an ambitious project for a first quilt, but I had so much fun. From finding the fabrics, which illustrated the great Southwest American Indian style, to following the piecing and quilting instructions! Each day making this quilt was an absolute joy.
During the process, I graduated from an older Singer sewing machine to a brand new Bernina 170 - like the difference between a 20 year old VW and a shiny new BMW!! This quilt is not perfect. But I heard something passed down about the Amish - they intentionally include a mistake in their work to illustrate their humility. No one knows if this is really true, but it gave me some comfort to know that it's ok not to be perfect!
Close Up of Delectable Mountains
This close up shows just a bit of the fabrics I selected. I tried to find both prints and solids that either had a Southwestern American Indian motif, or were popular colors used in the Great Southwest. I looked near and far for these fabrics, and to me, that is all part of the fun of seeing a quilt come together. Some of the machine quilting shows symbols like the sun, that are very important to the Southwest American Indians.
The lower photo shows some of the actual machine quilting -- this block is Kokopeli, who is known in Southwest Indian lore as a trickster god who presides over both childbirth and music. He is usually seen playing a flute. For my quilt, I used a metallic thread with teal blues, golds, oranges and pinks. The colors matched perfectly with a lot of the fabrics in nearby blocks.
Jen's Memory Quilt
This quilt was made for my daughter, Jen. She looked through many quilt books and magazines, and settled on one she liked. Because one of her favorite colors was purple, that played a role in her decision. I loved the picture of the one she liked, and even more, I loved the fabrics we selected for her quilt.
During the design stage, I watched the movie "Stepmom" (starring Julia Roberts and Susan Sarandon). It's about a man who leaves his wife and two kids, later marrying Julia Roberts. There are the usual "stepmom" issues. But Susan Sarandon's character develops cancer and becomes very ill. Just before what would be her last Christmas, she spends her time and energy making things for her two kids. For her daughter, Anna, she makes a Memory Quilt, with all the important memories of Anna's life sewn into the fabric of the quilt. Two boxes of tissues later, I knew that I would adapt my daughter's design to be a memory quilt.
Close Up of Jen's Memory Quilt
Unless you look closely at the previous photo, you may not notice that all the center blocks are black-and-white photos of my daughter's life. This quilt takes you through my daughter's birth, through her early childhood, into grade school, later high shool, and even college. Many of the important people in her life are included: her parents and step-parents, her her grand-parents and her friends. She has been lucky enough to find and keep friends from her earliest days. It has been a joy to add these memory photos of Jen's friends, some of whom I met as toddlers! Memory Quilt is such an appropriate name for these creations. No matter who makes them, or how they look, they instantly become heirlooms!
Let's Call It a Day!
When I first began quilting, I would be oblivious to everything else around me... including our cat, Whiskers. I really believe that this cat enjoyed quilting as much as I did. When the fabrics came out so did he! He loved to be right in the middle of everything, and I don't think he met a fabric he didn't like! Whiskers is no longer with us, but he will live forever in my memory.
Ken's Half-Square Triangle Quilt
This quilt was made for Ken to curl up with on the coldest of Winter nights while watching TV. The pattern was a layout of half-square triangles, and was very easy to make. Our friend, Peggy had made one in greens and lilacs for her sister, and it was beautiful. I used a wool batting in this one, at the suggestion of Kathy at Lillies of the Field. She suggested it as one of the lightest-feeling battings. Ken has enjoyed having it this Winter, though it has certainly been on the warm side.
Jenny's "Easy Does It" Quilt
The last quilt I made for Jenny was the memory quilt. Back at the time I worked on it, the photo transfer paper available was not washable. That has changed now. She loves that quilt, but wanted one she could curl up with every day, throw in the washer, and put back on her bed. She decided on a very simple design, and a color palette of bright colors, and prints that were very traditional. I was surprised that, after many trips to quilt shops in a number of states, that she picked this simple design. It was called "Easy Does It", which we both loved! The quilting was done by Kathy at Lillies of the Field in Easton, MD. The surprise element of this quilt was the animal print. Jen is a huge fan!
Jenny's "Easy Does It" Quilt Close-up
Kathy offered us so many possible designs to quilt! It made us dizzy looking through them all. Again, Jenny opted for a simple design of loops and swirls. The quilting was an edge-to-edge job, and it really adds to the beauty of the finished quilt. I used a really light batting, since heavy covers are not one of Jen's favorite things. This quilt has a light feel to it, but is cozy when she is all wrapped up in it! I know this will be one she will treasure forever.
Bernhard's Ties - A Lifetime of Memories
In June of 2013, my friends Diane and Bernhard were moving to a new home. They were downsizing, taking with them their most treasured possessions. Diane is a talented artist. I have been graced to see her work, watch her paintings develop, and even been the lucky recipient of some of her work. Just before they moved, Diane handed me a plastic bag and said "Can you do something with these? Turn them into some kind of a memory quilt?" They were a dozen ties she had hand-painted for her husband Bernhard over the years. Bernhard is a retired physician, and he sported these ties at work. They were beautiful scenes depicting Eastern Shore waterfowl which is a popular motif of Diane's paintings, beautiful sailboats, and scenes from their shared life together. A windmill, which is a favorite of Bernhard's, a farm that they both love, and even one of them skiing! With great love and care, I set about taking apart the ties and cutting them up to highlight Diane's artwork. I decided on a pattern that looks like a dozen men's dress shirts (complete down to the collars and tiny buttons!), all boasting a beautiful tie. I decided on a navy blue patterned inner border, surrounded by an outer border of 4 inch blocks of bow-ties. It adds interest to the quilt.
Bernhard's Ties - the Backing Fabric!
I searched high and low for just the right backing fabric. I was hoping for a navy blue background with little multi-colored bow-ties. I couldn't find that anywhere. After a long time, I had an idea. Diane loves to sign her name with an artistic snail drawing beside it. So I found a backing fabric of colorful snails, on a beautiful navy blue background! It was perfect for this quilt!