10 Things Tuesday

Today, I’ll take a knitterly break and instead offer up 10 quilts I’ve made. I’ve been quilting a lot longer than I’ve been knitting, but sadly I have a lot more to show for my knitting…  I am trying to re-locate my quilting mojo since I really do enjoy the process, so maybe a retrospective of projects will help.  But here goes, 10 quilts I’ve made in the last 15 years…

This is one of my earliest quilts. If you can get past the horrific look on my face and actually see the quilt, first I’m impressed, second, this was a wedding gift for a very dear friend from St. Norbert College. I know it’s one of my earlier efforts since they will celebrate their 10th anniversary in a couple of days. It is king sized, entirely hand pieced & quilted and finished with days to spare. I got some serious props from the quilting aged ladies who saw it. I think I was 26. Way too young for such an insane undertaking!

This one I made for my mom for christmas a few years back. She was heavy into the Red Hat Society for a few years so I surprised her. This is the only non-blanket quilt I’ve ever made, intentionally at least, my brother insisted on hanging my nephew’s quilt on the wall which still pisses me off royally and completely steams my clams but that’s a story for another photo. This was some kind of fun despite being completely outside the box for me. I hand appliqued, machine pieced, embellished & hand quilted. And finished it in time to send it off to California for her to open on Christmas. I was very proud.

this one was made by request for a good friend’s Grandson. She helped me pick out the fabric & I went to town. It was fun to fussy cut the different critters, toss ’em together with some seriously bring brights & see what came to be. Again, totally outside the box for me in that it’s not colors I play with and I machine pieced and quilted it, but it, too, was finished before the baby was done baking. You’d think I was good at that, wouldn’t you? You’d be wrong.

Amazingly, another finished object. Also machine pieced & quilted. In my colors this time, however. This probably isn’t the best picture I have of it but it has my Tigger in it which makes me happy. We had to put him down back in June and I miss him lots. He is one of the reasons my bed hasn’t been without a hand made quilt in 15 years. He wouldn’t sleep on the bed if there wasn’t a quilt on it. He preferred Rich’s red white & blue quilt if he had his choice, but so long as there was a quilt, it was good enough.

Sorry, turns out the quality on this one completely blows. But it is sort of brilliant, too, since the whole point of a One Block Wonder is to make you not able to see the original pattern of the fabric! Not buying it are you? Sorry, too lazy to dig up a better picture. This one is my Goddaughter, Ella’s quilt. She got it in time for her baptism.

This one is in my infamous collection of PhDs. (Projects Half Done). I went absolutely bonkers for the Moda Chocolat fabric line a few years back. Jeanie, the owner at my favorite quilt shop, Ye Olde School House, laughs at me every time I excitedly scrounge up the dredges of a bolt because to this day I will buy it any time I find it. This quilt is slightly bigger than queen sized, machine pieced on Tess, my great grandmother’s 1910 Singer Treadle and I’ve been slowly hand quilting it for a few years now. As you may have guessed, Tigger loved to “help” me quilt. If only that was all I could claim is at fault for my slow progress. I absolutely LOVE this quilt and really need to get at finishing it. But I have a feeling one Tigger holds nothing on the progress impediment to the three kittens occupying my home now. Yikes.

 Colin’s quilt. Its nothing particularly special. I fell in love with the train fabric during my second pilgrimage to Paducah for the big AQS quilt show, the rest fell into place around it because Colin (my Godson) LOVED trains. And I loved for my “kids” to have quilts. Machine pieced & quilted, not screwed up to heinously, given to him for Christmas when he and his mom came to celebrate with us. They live in AZ now and I still feel like a piece of me went with them. Colin, by the by, is Ella’s big brother. There’s a lot of quilty love in that house!

The Purple People Eater. This one’s for my 3rd Godchild, Natalie. She LOVES purple. Not necessarily my first choice in quilting fabric but I had fun picking out all kinds of purples to put in her quilt. It was her Christmas present 2 years ago when she’d just moved into her big girl bed and needed a big girl blanket to go with it. Machine pieced on the treadle, quilted by a good friend of mine.

This might well be my 2nd favorite quilt ever. Or at least tied for 2nd with another one I appear not to have any pictures of (a Curious George of my own fashioning for granddaughter #2, Onna). This is Audra’s quilt, made for my first “granddaughter”. It was relatively easy to applique because it was mostly large pieces. I had a whole lot of fun embroidering the accents on the leaves. Hand appliqued, machine pieced & quilted, backed with an extra cozy flannel and its been well loved since she was born. Just like a quilt is supposed to be.

And finally, the pinnacle of my quilting success, Bradley’s Quilt:

I drafted this one myself with inspiration snatched from the pages of Maurice Sendak’s Where The Wild Things Are. It is one of my all time favorite books. Not just children’s books but books. Just running through the simple story in my head makes me smile on a bad day. I love reading it to my grandkids, I read it to my Godkids, I read it to kids I babysat for before I’d ever dreamed of quilting it. LOVE it. So when my brother told me I had a nephew on the way (well, at the time, it was just a baby, we’d wait until much later to discover him to be, well, a him) I knew I wanted to make a quilt, but I also knew it had to be pretty spectacular to impress my brother. I believe his exact reaction when told I was making his kid a quilt was “Oh. Great.” Imagine that said with not just a complete lack of enthusiasm but outright disdain and you’ll be close to the right tone.

The idea was born over breakfast. I know my brother likes WTWTA near as much as I do so I might just have the idea that could win him over. So I got myself a kids science project display board, a big fat pencil and an even bigger eraser, broke out my well worn copy of the book & set about drawing up a quilt. This was a challenge. I can’t draw. Stick people are about the extent of my expertise and even that is shaky. But I was a quilter on a mission. So I drew. And I re-drew. First small, then I enlarged. And I spent fortunes and days scouring the LQSs for just the right fabrics, textural but not pictorial. The chickens foot looking one was one of my favorites, actually.  And I started to sew. The appliqued bit is something like 30×40 I think, so it was a challenge to say the least. It’s hard to bunch that much fabric up to get at the bits in the middle for hand stitching! But I would not be discouraged. I even hand quilted this master piece.

It wasn’t done in time for Bradley’s birth, but I did manage it in time for Christmas. This would have put him at about 8 months old. He was visiting from CA so I got to give it to him in person. Laid it on the floor & let him crawl on it. He promptly puked on it and I couldn’t have been more thrilled. As it turns out, this is the only time he got the chance to do so since, as I mentioned earlier, my big fat dork brother turned this one into wall art. This crushes my soul. I make blankets. But I have to take it as a compliment. It means he was impressed enough by my handiwork to A) allow other people to see it and B)hang it on the wall to preserve it rather than allow his son to love it properly and wear it out. I should consider this a good thing. But a proper quilt needs to be used & abused to fulfill it’s quilty destiny….  oh well. I’m still damned proud of this piece. I don’t think I’ll ever top it. Though I will admit, I’ve contemplated making another one for my own bed. But that’d probably be weird, wouldn’t it?

So anyway, there you have it. 10 quilts I’ve made. heck I think even 9 of them are officially finished! I must say, this exercise is actually inspiring. I’ve been on a knitting binge because I feel like I never finish anything. This is proof that I actually do. There are at least 4 more projects that have been completed so really, 14 in 15 years of quilting (2 of which I’ve effectively been on hiatus, knitting instead) is half way reasonable productivity for working full time and using almost exclusively people-powered sewing techniques.  Maybe this really is the sort of inspiration my quilty-self needed right now… Nobody remind me of the substantial collection of PhDs and we might get somewhere!


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