I have always considered quilting a journey and have treasured the process to get to the finished product. Having 2 sons, I decided when they each graduated from high school, I would hand quilt a quilt for them using the school colors of red, black, and white. I'm a machine quilter and hand quilting for me was such a labor intensive process, it felt like I was giving birth to a quilt. Each quilt took 9 months to complete. When the 2nd son was approaching graduation, I was trying to sum up my feelings on having my youngest leave the nest and what it meant to have him as my son. A new chapter was beginning in my life too and when it came time to make a label a plain one wouldn't do and I knew I needed to document my feelings into this piece of fabric. I authored a poem for his label and would like to share it.
As I stitch I am deep reflection,
A boy I love has had so much dedication.
Molded by strong values and love,
A gift to us from up above.
As you move on to pursue your dreams,
I pray God will guide you through each scene.
But, my son as you fly away,
Your Mother's love will always stay.
Once upon a time, there was a quilter who decided she would enter a national quilting exhibition / contest. She was very excited as this was the first national competition she ever had entered. Wow ! A non-juried show. This was great ! No problem here.. she could easily enter three or four of her favorite quilts with the high hopes of winning the sought-after ribbon. She felt she had a good chance because the "quilt in question" had already taken Grand Champion trophy, a First Place ribbon and a Tri-Color ribbon at a county fair.
Her quilt was very, very large with a black background, some lilac kaleidoscopes and a medallion of some beautiful white kittens placed ever so gently within the fussy-cut, fused and machine-appliqued center of the lilac medallion collage. So cute they were... peeking out from behind the springtime floral display. The image of the sweet little kittens was something she had never used on anything, let alone a quilt, that being an iron-on from a craft store purchased 3 years previously; you know, one of those rubbery type things you cannot iron once it's on.
She and her husband, who was also very excited for her and being ever-so helpful as he always is, decided to help her prepare for packaging them off to the show people. We all know that quilts entered into any show must be clean, without odor and without PET HAIR (from the 3 cats that ruled the house). Out came the lint brushes, waving fast and furious to get said quilts off to be shipped (the next day). Alrighty then... one quilt clean, two quilts clean, three quilts clean and then onto the final fourth - the one with the kitties. "Wow, we're almost finished", they said. As she and her husband were waving their lint brushes and using some very mild scotch tape to pull out the stubborn cat hairs on this last quilt, he said to her, "This works much better than regular scotch tape!" She turned around to see her husband with the dreaded silver duct tape wrapped around his palm..... need I say more. Off came the kittens' faces. She thought she would have a heart attack! There is no hope. She decided to run to the craft store after having purchased this iron-on so-o-o long ago with the high hopes of finding another. What a miracle. Lo and behold, they had not one, but three of them left in the store. She whipped out her wallet and purchased all three. At this point, with time running out, there had to be a better way.
While almost crying over this major dilemma, she meticulously picked out the stitches from the machine applique and scraped off the rest of the kitties. Aha ! A light bulb moment.. photo transfer. The kittens were now scanned into the computer, printed on some fabric, fussy cut and hand-appliqued back into their home to hide in the center of the quilt while other collateral damage repairs were done as well. The 4 quilts were on their way to the quilt show "just in time". She lived happily ever after. Can you guess who this quilter was?
Yep...it was me, Pattiwatti
Ten months ago in the frenzy of getting Christmas presents planned, I knew I would not be able to do all I wanted. The thought came to me that I would send out a request page of what kind of Quilt I could make for my brother and his wife. I knew that would buy me some time. By March they sent me their specifications – all that really stuck out from the page wasn’t the size (queen) or the type (traditional) but one little word – RED. I practically had red as non-existent in my stash. Not that I didn’t like it, I loved red, but I had never worked with it. Why? Fear of bleeding? Too Red Raider-ish? Too valentiney?
Nonetheless I began my red quest frenzy every time I came near a fabric store or went on a shop hop. By the end of April I had so many reds, blacks and pinks and every thing in between that I was ready to find the right pattern. First I had a great “scrappy” pattern and began slashing and slicing all the pieces. I followed the next step a quilter usually does and threw them up on a design board. “Threw up” is not to be taken lightly --- scrappy became crappy. My fears were realized; it looked like a chewed up and spit out Valentiney Red Raider horse blanket. I abandoned the whole thing – in despair.
Now what? I lamented my dismay to my dear quilting friends, Maureen and Beth, as we were walking into a favorite store. I pulled out my recent magazine on the subject and began flipping through the pages. I said if I really wanted to do one right for them it should look like—this--- pointing to a pattern featured in the magazine. “So let’s look at likely fabrics”, Maureen said. Thirty minutes later we were walking out the door with all the fabric for THE ONE. I was ready to “get’er done.”
Little did I realize that the 20 blocks had over 60 pieces in each of them, and I was also going to be tackling a never attempted skill of appliqué. This might take a little more than the couple of months I had planned. I didn’t even want to think about the quilting itself, so I proceeded to piece, and piece, and piece all summer long. Finally in August the top was done! I called on a few friends and we “sandwiched” the top, batting and backing together in record time. Maureen offered to teach me how to use her big long-arm quilting machine. Pushing my new fears aside, I said okay. For about 3 weeks I would go over to her house after school and quilt. I soon stopped my “white-knuckle” driving and began to really see this beauty emerging. In spite of all the imperfections, I was proud to pull it off the machine and hurry home to bind it. That gave me the slow down time to think about the label, and what I would name it. As I formed the pieces for the label Rutledge Red came to mind. That had to be it. Knowing how much Tricia loves red, and how much Tom loves Tricia, the two came together. The two words joined a perfect union, just like Tom and Tricia do.
I began quilting as a selfish act as a way to work through my own grief and healing, but it has now become such a piece of myself, that I want to share it with all whom I love. But, I also hate to “push my homemad-ey” stuff on people. Hopefully this quilt created in love will be used in the same spirit it was given.
How did you do that? Is that your work? Unusual!! WOW! Are you a quilter? These are some of the questions I get whenever I arrive with my newest quilting project.
It all started when my 16 year old daughter got a new little car called a Scion. These not being common made it seem exciting for her to seek out a Scion Car show in our town. Hmm… considering that the local Rap/heavy metal radio station was sponsoring it, I thought I had better go along to watch out for my little princess.
It did turn out to be a “Pimp my Ride” kind of cultural event . All the little Scion XBs and Tc's done up so elaborately with dragons and flames and such. Those little Boxy XB’s really caught my eye. The owners while they had the typical look you might expect with piercings and tattoos aplenty, were so proud to show off their “Rides” It seems that our Creator God gave all who are involved in a creative endeavor, one thing in common. We like to share the joy of our heart in our creation. That was when the seed was planted. How could I, a quilter, “Pimp my ride” to reflect who I am.
The next thing I knew I was off to the quilting store for fabric. I turned some beautiful batiks into one of my favorite patterns , A Virginia Reel with a star in the middle. I first saw this wonderful combination in a book by Judy Murray. My hubby photographed the quilt and we sent it off to a graphic artist who work on it to show some of the patches along the side of the car look like they were ripping off and leaving a swirl of stitches. (no doubt because I would be going so fast to quilt meetings, shows and shops). Next came the car and the installation that was done by a very clever Jamaican fellow named Ryan and his handy blow torch.
I have had my scion XB changed forever into a Scion “Quilting B”. One unexpected effect that my cars transformation has had…… Everywhere I go now I have meet folks who say hi and want to chat a bit. Most everyone I drive by is now smiling!! No road rage near by my car. It seems like a friendlier happier world driving in my car. Isn’t that really what a Quilting Bee is all about? Time to smile, enjoy other people and find out a bit about each other and our creative endeavors? Maybe I have started a trend! If you see me tooling around in My “Quilting B “ stop me, say hi and chat a bit.
Mom, Quilter, Cat lover
A friend was tormented because her daughter's boyfriend had just left for Iraq and her children missed him terribly. The little boy was especially sad and started acting out. He didn't understand the concept of war and the need for his "daddy" to go away. Her little baby girl was also anticipating his presence and obviously confused by his absence.
I told her about an article I saw in a quilting magazine about making memory quilts for the soldier's families. Framed photographs are often off-limits to little ones, but by putting the soldier's photo on a simple baby quilt, the children could cuddle, hug and talk to their mommy or daddy. They saw an immediate decrease in the stress level of the child.
I had her daughter send me photos of the soldier, mommy and the children. I used a simple, pieced design around six 8" by 10" fabric photos. Then I used my extensive collection of children's novelty fat quarters to border the photos and make the quilt. I even found some Marine fabric to use as the backing.
The quilt was a complete success.
In the spring of 2004, my mother began chemotherapy for a form of leukemia that had turned from very slow to very aggressive. That news was recent, and my grandmother was slipping away from us (at age 103!) when my sister-in-law in N.C. passed away from a sudden illness. My mind was a blur, thus some things were forgotten as we packed, so we ended up running errands at a mall the day before the funeral. A sidewalk sale at the bookstore beckoned, and of course, I had to buy a quilt book that was 50% off--I needed something to relax with!
Thumbing through “The Big Book of Quilting” I came across a paper-pieced pattern of an origami crane. Immediately I recalled the Japanese legend that if someone folds 1000 paper cranes, their wish will be granted. I tried to visualize 1000 quilt blocks. 500 front and back? Not realistic, I thought. But I couldn’t shake the thought of 1000 cranes. When I got home, I did some research, and found that the legend is both ancient and modern. The modern part is from a young survivor of the atomic bombing of Hiroshima, who came down with Leukemia, and attempted to fold 1000 cranes before her death. I knew this quilt HAD to be made.
I had paper-pieced TWO blocks before, both for community quilts made on Alex’s former message board for members in need of warmth and comfort as they went through difficult times. So how to make 1000 cranes? Ask your internet buddies for help! I put out a plea, and about 30 quilters responded--and many more offered prayers.
The book said this block was of medium difficulty. I sent off the instructions, and sat down and started to make cranes. At the end of May, cranes started arriving. Even though some made more than one, it wasn’t 1000. But I was determined to do this somehow. Mom got thru the initial chemo well enough, and I kept sewing. In the end, 110 blocks were made by 23 quilters from 15 states, plus 70 that I made here in Virginia. I waited to see how many I had before working out a layout.
In the meantime, another message board buddy found just what I needed, and sent me a link to a fabric printed with folded paper cranes! Problem solved! I ordered it for the backing. I came up with a layout that looked slightly oriental AND made a bed-sized quilt. With the quilt pin-basted, I tasked my children with counting cranes on the back (within the intended final size.) They figured that if they laid a penny on each image, then counted the pennies, they’d be sure the count was accurate. We were about 100 shy of the goal. Then I thought about quilting it, and realized that if I outline quilted each crane, there would be 180 MORE cranes on the back, and that put us over 1000.
All summer, my Mom was out of town participating in a drug trial at Johns Hopkins. When I wasn’t running up and down the highway, I was focused on this quilt. By November, it was finished, and in December, she got the good news: remission. She’s still doing well, and she loves the quilt.
Post Script: I searched on members of The World Quilt Community and recognize at least two of the participants in this project. :)
I started this project the summer of 2004, using fabric I had on hand but didn't like, thinking it would probably end up in the trash. Well it did work and I was stuck with what I was now calling the Ugly Quilt. I had help picking out boarder fabrics and hoped while I hand quilted it, I would start to like it. No such luck until, I put it through the washer and dryer for the first time. I spent a lot of time on the Ugly Quilt and was eager to see it clean and dry. When I pulled it out of the dryer the fabric had bled through the backing and all the stitches were red/orange, I was sick!! I put it back through the wash and said a prayer. It came out beautiful - From Trash to Treasure!!
The voice on the phone was friendly and enthusiastic and drew me into the project quickly. Karen Risberg, who lived in my hometown of Pembroke Pines, Florida, needed help completing a scrappy log cabin quilt begun by her mother, Jacqueline Tracy Palmer of Long Island, New York, prior to her passing a few years earlier. She had come upon the project, which was being made for Karen, while going through her mother's things. Could I help her?
I could make the time, I had the skill, how could I refuse.
I was expecting Karen to bring over a quilt well under way. What I got was bags of cut strips, boxes of yardage and scrap fabric, and written pattern directions. Each block required 64 pieces of cut fabric, and not one block was made. I had to ensure Karen understood that this was not going to be a quick or inexpensive project. A lot of time was involved in its completion.
"Whatever you charge to finish this quilt will be a small fraction of what I'd have to pay for the psychotherapy if I threw all this out," Karen said.
It proved an interesting adventure, working with fabrics selected by someone else, fabrics that I would not likely have selected. I tend to work in a relatively planned manner, but this quilt was totally scrappy. I tend to use current fabrics, Jacqueline's were calicos and 30s repro fabrics. I prefer lush colors and bold patterns, and hers tended toward the primary colors and small designs.
It took several weeks to complete. As I cut and assembled the fabrics for the blocks, I gained a sense of the person who had envisioned the quilt. A free and caring spirit. A woman who loved to play, to have fun, who gave of herself and was loved in return.
As I watched the quilt come together, I came to appreciate Jacqueline's scrappy approach and intuition. My own quilting style and sense of color grew as the quilt grew.
The quilting was splendidly done by local long-arm quilter Barbara Lacy, with whom I shared the story. She became a willing collaborator in its completion. Bound and labeled, I took the quilt to Karen.
She set it on her sofa in the living room, where she felt certain her mom would have wanted it to be, and we admired it, and her mom's vision. Planned before her passing, completed with the help of others after, now part of her life forever, that quilt was a final bond between Karen and her mother.
Beverley Hilton, APR, CPRC
Pembroke Pines, Florida
I try to be a young grandma who wants the kids to have fun when they visit my house even allowing (oh, no!) things not always allowed at their homes. Each Christmas, I spend a ton of money on toys, but it is the new pillows with grandma-made pillowcases and the resulting pillow fights that the kids like best. Last Christmas, grandson Tommy at almost 2 years old was outgrowing his crib, so he got a quilt for his big-boy bed. It was his favorite Christmas present. How did I know? He spent the rest of the day jumping up and down on his new quilt laughing and screaming, "Jump on bed. Jump on bed."
For Christmas of 2005 our grandchildren Jordanne and Jacob, then 5 & 6, learned ALL the words to the song "The Twelve Days of Christmas" so I figured that I needed to make a quilt to commemorate it.
We usually take our annual family Christmas photo in front of the fireplace, but for 2006 we took it in front of the brand new quilt, and we have some great videos of the children singing the song while pointing to the blocks. What a great memory for Gram!
Because both of the children suffer from Crohn's Disease, and Jordanne has been on a feeding tube for the last 14 months, we really treasure the times when they feel good.
You have time to get a Christmas quilt made for the coming holiday!