Tuesday, February 8, 2011

My Design Wall -- and two special quilts

Here's what's up on my design wall, in three parts. Unusual for me to be working on more than two things at a time -

The Civil War blocks placed side-by-side, in the order I have done them. This is not how they will go in the finished quilt.

This next picture shows two blocks that are the very beginnings of a quilt I'm making for our house. The little four patches are of silk charmeuse. The layout for this quilt is not decided. The only decision thus far is that this quilt will end up very different from you are seeing here.

Then, I have my ongoing "leaders and enders" project which I'm enjoying so much I'd rather just finish. But no, I'm trying to savor and spread out the fun of playing with these tiny pieces. This project started with a bundle of what would be called charm squares, except some fabric manufacturers have lately usurped the term, so that it unfortunately means something slightly different nowadays. This bundle is like the old meaning - a group of small cuts of fabrics, every one being from a different fabric. There are 40 of the squares, each precisely cut at 2x2 inches. Heather who lives in Australia sent them as a surprise gift! Heather is a new member of the International Round Robin group I've been participating in quilt-making challenges with for coming up on 6 years - (hard to believe it's been that long.)

Sorry the photo is blurry - I promise to make better ones next time. The fabrics are all Australian prints - from native florals to aboriginal designs. Possibly difficult to tell from the layout here, they will be simply framed and set in a 6x8 block quilt that will allow each little square to shine. The top row is starting to give the flavor. The large dark green square was necessary to make the layout even, and I will use it for quilting (big surprise there!) I have been looking at Australian animals to continue the theme. I might use a larger, more stylized version of one depicted in the larger gridded square that came with the 2 inch squares (upper right in the photo).

And finally, I have to write about this latest machine quilting project. Late last summer, Norris came home from a Fire Department mission telling me he might be in trouble. He had been talking with a fellow firefighter whose wife died of breast cancer a couple of years ago. Gary told Norris the story of how, as she was dying, she had it in mind to complete two more quilts for their grown sons. Cancer was already in her brain and she was losing her eyesight. Gary told of how she would sew pieces together then would ask him to tell her if her piecing was good enough. Those blocks are now in the hands of a local quilting bee to piece together into a quilt top. Norris had volunteered my machine quilting to finish the two quilts. Of course Norris was not in trouble: this family needs to see and use and love these quilts as the maker intended them to, so I'll happily do my part.

Last night Norris brought home the first one. This one had already been partially machine quilted on a domestic machine. Gary's wife had done a beautiful job basting the quilt layers together and had quite a bit of the lattice quilted. I'll be finishing up what she started there, and adding some feathers to the outer border and the floral square areas between the lattice. (The picture is showing the quilt sideways.)

Unlike when I was doing this for customers, this time I'll do the binding. I also want to make and attach a quilt label. Gary said he didn't think his wife made labels, but Norris was able to explain their value: his own family found quilts in the attic after his father's death that come from his side of the family, but the complete story of who made each one is possibly lost forever.

Gary is supposed to be getting the second quilt back after Valentine's Day. He accidentally sent another quilt - that one was completely hand-quilted and bound, but he decided to leave it with me so I can add a label to that one also.


Sherrye said...

What an opportunity for service!

Dorry said...

I am looking forward to watching the development of the new project, second photo down,of a "quilt for our house". The first two blocks are quite intriguing to me.