Sherrieh reminds me of one of the hobbies I love so much and how I’d love to take it further, into the realms of appliqué…
All the quilts I’ve done thus far have been simple cut-and-piece-together quilt tops.
This is the first quilt I ever did, specially for the handsome gentleman in the photo (my eldest son) when he was 3. A friend helped me with it, and I blame her for the massive error (don’t you just love how I take responsibility for my own mistakes!) The big green squares are supposed to be the darker leafy material and vice versa. I tried to make it look like “I meant to do that” by quilting some designs into some of the squares: a heart, a sword, a star… But despite the grand foul-up, I was hooked on quilting.
This was my second. The colors are kind of loud, but that’s how I like to do baby quilts. (That’s the baby it was for in the picture, five years later!) Babies don’t like to look at pastels, in my opinion. They’d rather see some obnoxiously contrasting crazy colors… really seems to perk up their interest.
Talk about obnoxious… and massive errors. This was my brilliant idea to use up a bunch of scraps I had. There are pieces from three other quilts I’d made, bits from a little hand bag I’d made, plus scraps of one of my daughter’s old dresses, and the backing is an old sheet. This is supposed to be the pattern “Tumbling Blocks” but I was not careful enough about matching the light and dark bits so the effect is quite diluted. To add to its dark history, there’s the fact that I sobbed hysterically while sewing the long strips of hexagons together because they just wouldn’t match up right. Hours and hours of sobbing. So, needless to say, this isn’t one of my favorites. Luckily it is not the special baby blanket of anyone and gets to be used by overnight guests, who never know of its pathetic history.
This next one is a pattern called “Ocean Waves” that I wanted to try for so long. I was finally talked into doing it for my oldest daughter (and BY my oldest daughter, coincidentally!) The thing about quilting that amazing me is the optical illusion aspect, wherein one takes simple shapes, cuts them out of different colors and puts them together so that they come alive, like this quilt that almost seems to move like swelling waves, though all the shapes have flat edges and corners:
This next quilt is called “Window Pane” and I thought I was terribly clever using the cloudy sky for the view out the window. It was for my nephew, and I especially love the blue flames, first of all because of the contrast/wild color theory I mentioned before, but also because his parents think they are all wild and crazy, so I knew they would dig it. What was kind of amazing to me was that I managed to do the whole thing by hand, since I’d sold my machine before we left Oregon. Usually I piece together the quilt top, add the edging, and sometimes do the actual quilting by machine. But every single stitch in here was by hand. (I’m still tired.)
Then there’s the one that’s on my bed as we speak, the one I started two years ago for my husband and I and just finished up before we made our last move a couple of months ago. I wanted to have something fresh and meaningful to start our new life here. I made it simple, huge, warm, bright, using some scraps from the past and some brand new material, just like I want our marriage to be.
And that’s what it’s all about for me, a blanket to celebrate something, a lasting reminder to a dear one that someone loves them enough to go to a heck of a lot of trouble, or if you make it for yourself, then a constant reminder that life is worth living and making more beautiful with careful crafting by your own hands.
I know we all have different ways of showing our love and devotion… quilting happens to be one of mine.