We have been featuring Wendy Grande's quilt, Americana Baltimore. In case you've missed our coverage of the rest of the quilt:
Today we show two of Capt'n John's favorite blocks. "The French ribbon block with the cherubs is really amazing and I love the woven basket. I'll let Wendy tell the stories":
Grande Design – Flower Vase – I found an antique French ribbon at Bell’occhio in San Francisco that I fell in love with and had to have… After much consideration and negotiation I purchased 9 inches. Yes it was sold by the inch! I wanted the center of a vase to be the wonderful cherubs. I then found a vintage ribbon that worked perfectly as a foot to the vase. So then to fill this special vase – I went to full bloom roses and ferns.
When my youngest daughter was in second grade “we” had a science project to collect ferns. We went all over the neighborhood to find them and I was surprised at what as available, from our great neighbors. I loved the texture and found a variety of ways to incorporate the ferns in by quilts. I have used straight stitches of either 7mm or 4mm silk ribbon, twisted the ribbon and also used leaf stitches – all yield great ferns.
The 7mm dark green long stitches were perfect to capture a Sword Fern and the rose leaves were from a piece of hand dyed cotton embellished with veins drawn with a green pigma pen. The roses were made with a thin (roughly ½”) wired ribbon that was crumpled up and then wet and left to dry overnight. I pulled the wire on the side of the ribbon I wanted to be inside the rose to gather it, and then wound the ribbon in a loose circle to unfold on the quilt block. Old world roses fade to light on the outside so a few are darker on the inside to reflect natures work.
Grande Design – Grape Basket
When I was growing up my Great Grandmother, Gran, had the most wonderful arbor with concord grapes. I remember how beautiful they looked in the sunshine hanging from the vines. Once I decided to weave the basket with twisted 7mm silk ribbon and trim the base, top and handle with a shaded ribbon. The basket was woven directly on the background fabric starting with the staves (upright pieces) or ribs. Each rib was less than ¼” apart and anchored with a small running stitch on top and bottom to avoid adding knots and having ribbon shadow on the back. They were also tighter at the bottom than at the top to give the basket it’s shape. Then weavers of 7mm silk ribbon was twisted and woven between each of the ribs with a small back stitch at each end to keep them straight. All the loose ends of the staves were covered with an ombre ribbon to create the base, trim and handle
I knew the basket had to have fruit, specifically grapes. I used a shaded wire ribbon to make the grapes and use wonderful colors of the shading and used a few twisted 4mm ribbons for the tendrils. The peach and plums are made with hand dyed cotton fabric and the peach is shaded with a bit of oil pastels to give it more depth. The pineapple is made with a gauging technique – running stitches were made diagonally with the design in the fabric and then pulled to create the texture of the pineapple and a few long stitches with silk ribbon were used for the pineapple leaves. We could always find berries in Gran’s garden, so I added a few Strawberries and a few of her roses as well.